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The Role of Human Resources in Organizational Transformation

The role of Human Resources in organizational transformation efforts is an important one. HR acts as a powerful change agent and advisor to company leaders. According to Gartner research, 66 percent of organizational change factors relate to talent, requiring the full involvement of HR to pull together the people and resources needed to make transformation efforts a success. Though it may be tempting to think of HR as the prime driver of organizational transformation, senior leaders are responsible for establishing the vision and championing organizational change, with HR acting as a critical enabler of change. Here are four key areas in which HR plays an important role in supporting organizational transformation and helping to make it a reality.

Employee Training and Development

The role of HR is to understand the unique learning needs of the workforce. During an organizational transformation, HR ensures that leaders receive the necessary training to be more effective in leading change and that all employees have opportunities to expand their skills in relevant areas, such as teamwork, communication, or customer service, just to name a few. Employees need new skills and knowledge to change their behavior, and HR can identify training partners and solutions that will address learning requirements as the organization evolves. With a culture transformation, for example, HR can evaluate and identify an enterprise-wide solution that incorporates coaching, targeted skill-building, and training reinforcement to ensure lasting behavior change.

Workplace Communication

Effective communication is necessary for any initiative to take hold within an organization, and HR is an important catalyst for ensuring that all individuals involved have the information they need. HR also supports workplace communication by ensuring that the appropriate feedback loops are in place so that individuals have opportunities to express their views and ask questions. HR can enhance two-way communication in support of organizational transformation in the following ways:

  • Helping to craft employee communications from senior leaders
  • Participating in town halls and team meetings
  • Advising leaders, from the CEO to the frontline, and helping them to deliver consistent messages at every level of the organization

Tracking Progress and Sharing Feedback

HR helps to develop, drive, and monitor the agenda for change, keeping leaders informed and helping those who derail get back on track. Different functions and teams will have different experiences as organizational transformation gets underway, and HR is well-positioned to monitor each team’s success, making sure that implementation across departments and functions is consistent. Because HR is often central to transformation activities, HR professionals are able to see each team’s progress with clarity and can deliver feedback that will help managers guide their teams more effectively.

Linking Talent Management Programs

During an organizational transformation, HR needs to ensure that each stage of the HR Cycle—including recruitment, rewards and recognition, and performance management—aligns with the goals of the transformation. When talent management programs are aligned to the new state of the organization, people have greater clarity regarding performance expectations and opportunities for growth. Some examples of how HR can link talent management programs to organizational transformation efforts include:

  • Ensuring that recruitment efforts and job postings incorporate the skills and competencies required for success in the new organizational culture
  • Revising succession plans to ensure individuals who embody the new company culture are positioned for leadership roles
  • Integrating new organizational values into the performance review process

As business partners and advisors, HR is at the heart of any initiative that impacts the mindset and behavior of employees. Therefore, the role of human resources in organizational transformation should be to ensure that individuals have the necessary tools and resources to understand the need for change and take ownership of their role in making organizational change a success. On an ongoing basis, HR helps leaders instill new values across their teams and supports employees along every step of the HR Cycle.


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