concurrent workshops (fringe)
F4 What Role Should HR Take in Change?
Suzie Sauer, Change Management Consultant, Johnston
The purpose of this session is to help people understand
the various roles HR can take during change and the impact
these have on the success of the change.
In Suzie’s experience many people, including HR practitioners,
perceive HR as the owners of change, forcing the organisation
to comply. This creates resistance and resentment and you
often hear comments like “I don’t like HR telling
us what to do” or “HR doesn’t have a clue
what we need” from the organisation.
This session is designed to challenge HR practitioners
to think about the possible effects of the roles they take
change and how their role will impact on the effectiveness
of the change long term and also how HR is perceived later
down the track.
The facilitator role is the most beneficial role for HR
to take in order to achieve organisational buy-in and to
resistance to change. As facilitators of change HR practitioners
guide the organisation through the change process ensuring
the ownership of the change firmly resides with the organisation.
HR facilitates the change process and the organisation specifies
and owns the outcomes. This is based on the premise that
it is far easier to help someone to work towards something
they want to achieve rather than forcing them to do something
they don’t. HR should guide the organisation towards
the goal they want to achieve rather than specifying what
the organisation needs to achieve and forcing them to get
This session is presented so as to model the change
management principles necessary to get an organisation to
own the necessary
outcomes.Suzie presents three roles that HR can and does
take during change (facilitator role, leader & specialist
role).She works through each role and the impact it has
on people within the organisation and the success of the
change. She also providse participants with the opportunity
to work through the pros and cons of each role always encouraging
them to challenge their own ideas.
Presentation 40%; Q&A 10%;
group work 40%; reporting 10%
Volunteers will be asked to take part in a role-play
where each person is allocated a role. The participants will
then be asked...
Q. Why is the role you were given important?
Learning Point 1: The role you take shapes your attitude
and the way you behave.
Learning Point 2: The role
you take influences the role others adopt and how they
behave towards you.
Learning Point 3: If you take the wrong
role you may force others into a role, attitude or behaviour
that is unhelpful.
Q. What is the most helpful role for HR to take?
To answer this question we first need to think of the
role we need others in our organisation to take in order
change to be successful (e.g., CEO, Managers, Staff).
The group will be asked for their ideas.
The roles people need to take for
change to be successful are:
- CEO – leading and driving change (e.g., this is
where we are going and this is why we are changing).
- Managers – advocating
(being positive about and describing the need for change),
help and removing
barriers) and encouraging (motivating) change.
- Staff – buying
in, helping and doing what is necessary to make the change
What is your role?
The group will be asked what their role has been in any
change that has occurred in their organisations through
- Idea generation
- Plan development
A few volunteers will be asked to describe what their
role was and the success and ease of taking that role
Three roles HR can take
Three options will be described, an example
of change to show the differences will be provided, we
will look at the impact each has on the roles others take
and we will look at the impact each has on the key barrier
to successful change – resistance. The three options
for roles are:
- Leader - Goal Owner
· Provide the idea direction
· Develop the plan and tell people what they need to do
· No implementation, people already know what to do.
· Provide options
Tell them how it should be done – planning and
- Facilitator – Process Owner
· Draw ideas direction from others/business
· You help them to identify their needs, constraints etc and
develop a plan in consultation with them gaining
their input and agreement
Implement through the use of change agents – people
who advocate, support and encourage the change.
The group will then work through a case study using
one of the three roles.
Suzie Sauer is
a Change Management consultant for Johnston Penno a Human
Resource and Employment Law Specialist firm.
Many of Suzie’s current clients are small to medium
sized businesses who are changing the way they operate
in order to meet their emerging business needs. Suzie helps
them deal with issues of communication, buy-in, training,
redundancy and the associated employment law considerations.
Suzie also works closely with a number of larger organisations
advising their CEO, General Managers and HR people.
Suzie worked for three years with Accenture (formerly known
as Andersen Consulting) as a Change Management Consultant.
Here she was responsible for large scale organisational change,
for example Suzie was responsible for assisting New Zealand
Inland Revenue to manage the change from being an enforcement-based
organisation into a customer-focused organisation, she helped
the Australian Taxation Office to prepare for the introduction
of GST and worked with the Department for Courts to manage
the implementation of a number of different IT packages and
their associated people and process changes. During this
time Suzie also specialised in project management which provides
a practical context for all of the change management efforts
she leads or advises on.
Suzie completed a MSc in Applied Psychology at the University
of Canterbury where her thesis focussed on developing a tool
to measure the factors most likely to predict successful
integration into a new culture. She found that a person’s
expectations were the strongest predictor and frequently
uses this knowledge to guide organisations through successful
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