How to craft an effective change strategy

HRD chats with the HR director at Kimberly-Clark on ways to ensure that employees fully embrace change

How to craft an effective change strategy
Change will inevitably come to any company, be it small policy changes or bigger ones like having new CEOs. But regardless of the change, one HR expert said that what’s important is the authenticity of the message.

“At the end of the day, it’s honest, not positive, messaging that drives trust,” said Eugene Lam, regional HR director at Kimberly-Clark.

In order to fully communicate that message, he listed down three major steps that companies need to go through in order to create an effective change strategy within the company:

•    Strategy creation
•    Implementation planning
•    Communication

He said that the message has to reach “the right people, at the right time, in the right way” and in order to achieve that balance, it means going through your leaders first. 

“In my experience, you need to get the frontline managers because they can be your ‘mouthpiece’, your influencers,” he said, adding that you don’t have to include all employees at this stage.

Discuss the necessity of the change with your leaders by creating an open decision framework wherein you manage expectations, engage those who are rejecting the situation, and invite diverse perspectives and ideas, he said.

Make a case for the change by “[painting] a picture of the future of state of the change, and [creating] a few ‘change stories’ depending on your audience and the amount of time you have to convey that message,” he said.

“Be really clear on what your message is and be prepared to answer the hot questions,” he advised.

He cited his time at HP where the company needed to merge the PC and printer businesses in order to cut costs.

“We were very clear about why we needed to do the integration. We were very open about how the process was going to happen and the criteria for selection,” he said.

“I don’t think there was anybody up in arms and another thing we learned is to never assume that when two people are competing for the same position, doesn’t mean they both want it. One of them might actually prefer taking the package.” 

Eugene Lam is set to speak at the HR Leaders Asia forum tomorrow (12 October) on the art and science of change.

Click here for more information or to secure tickets to the event. 

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