A Dear Planning to Change:
Conducting a periodic organization assessment is a great idea, even if youhaven’t observed any significant problems within your organization. It’salways helpful to understand if changes within your business environment arehaving an impact -- or could have an impact in the future -- on how youstructure the organization, define roles, manage people, design HR programs,measure performance, and communicate information. The most critical factor tokeep in mind when you conduct an organization assessment is that businessrequirements should be the key driver of what you ultimately design.
To use a very simple example, let’s consider a high-tech manufacturingorganization. The company knows that to be successful, the sales force needs tocontinually bring customer feedback on product design and reliability to theengineering department, so products can evolve to meet customer requirements.However, if the head of sales and the head of engineering historically have nothad to work with each other, or don’t like to work with each other, then thecommunication of this critical information could be adversely affected. And, ifthe company allows historical practices and relationships to have this type ofimpact, organizational effectiveness will suffer.
So what is the right approach? Here’s what we typically recommend tocompanies that want to go though this process.
Define or validate the organization’s three-to five-year businessstrategy. This typically comes from the executive group and should becommunicated broadly to the organization.
Determine the organization structure required to support the businessstrategy. For example, if the company is planning to grow by acquisition, theorganization needs to be structured in such a way as to facilitate theintegration of new divisions or business units.
Define job roles. Using the new organization structure, create specificjob roles. The most important thing to remember in this step is to considerpositions, not people. If you design positions around the capabilities of thecurrent incumbents, not the business requirements, you’ll be setting yourselfup for disappointment.
Define skills and competencies for each role. This step helps you toobjectively determine the behaviors and knowledge required for successfulperformance in each role.
Place individuals into positions based on the skill and competencyrequirements. This also is a difficult step, because it forces you to take ahard look at individuals who may have been part of the organization for a longtime. However, if the business requirements have changed, and have resulted innew skill and competency requirements, then the workforce you need will havechanged concurrently.
Review compensation and other HR programs. Once the structure and roleshave changed, it’s important to ensure that HR programs are aligned with themarket. For example, if a position’s responsibilities change as a result ofthe organization assessment, then you should benchmark the new position’scompensation against the external market.
Communicate the changes. The effectiveness of your organization changescan be lost without the support of a strong communication and implementationprogram. People will want to know what is changing, why it’s changing, when it’schanging, etc., and it’s critical to never assume that people have the sameperspective of the organization that management does. So over-communicate. Helppeople feel like they were part of the change process, not just affected by it.Get folks from the organization involved in some of the design decisions, andask for their input along the way. It’s really the only way that a change likethis will be sustainable.
Be flexible enough to change again soon. Change is never over, and newbusiness challenges may force you to go through the same process again soon. Aslong as the organization understands why the changes are required, and theytrust that management is steering the company in the right direction, you shouldbe able to have a positive impact.
SOURCE: Mitch Stern, Specific, human capital group, Deloitte &Touche,Los Angeles, California, March 4, 2002.
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The information contained in this article is intended to provide usefulinformation on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice ora legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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