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i4cp Flash Call: HR's Role with Departmental Transformations

The Secret Formula for Organizational Agility, an early study from i4cp, found that leaders must do three things right to achieve organizational agility: anticipate change, adapt and respond to change, and take action by exploiting change. In a recent Expert Network thread, i4cp Members asked how HR can support departmental transformations and be agile in their approach.  

PC Bryant, AVP of Human Resources at Norfolk Southern Corporation addressed their current strategy toward department transformation without the aid of a dedicated transformation office, while brainstorming ways that organize collaborative demands to build a “toolkit” transferable across organizational departments.  

Members identified what transformation needs to occur within HR for organizational effectiveness and determined guideposts to redesigning and redefining culture, change management, and leadership development in a member-led discussion.  

Top 4 things we explored:

  • Who leads organizational transformations – Poll results showed that most call participants do not have a specific office, group, or process to lead change at their organizations – while those that do benefit from the capacity and focus of such teams, as well as increased capability outside of the team. Some HR leaders may have toolkits for change built over time based on different transformation experiences that can be adapted across departments to fit specific initiatives. But there’s no one size fits all tool.

  • Creating resources that can be used to their full extent - Although capacity for change is low, HR leaders want to avoid being brought into transformation conversations too late. Training HRBPs to ask the right questions and not necessarily solve the problem can provide frameworks for department leads to demonstrate on their own.

  • Change management starts at the beginning – Members voiced the importance of studying upfront what change is needed,  who it will impact, and communicating the timeline to stakeholders. This scoping process is especially important for HR leaders to be involved in. Kevin Osborne also shared i4cp’s Actions for a Successful Culture Renovation, highlighting its importance for any conversation about change.

  • Building cases for business functions –Members are building headcount cases toward the middle of transformation processes when pain points are relevant. Members voiced a case for getting started with consultants, pairing them early with internal team members, and transitioning the effort to your own people following  that initial design phase. Most broad transformations require culture change as well and that needs to be considered from the beginning – how to change organizational behaviors.  Starting in phases, with units that are most likely to successfully adapt, is one strategy that creates momentum for further change.

This meeting is exclusively for i4cp member organizations. If you'd like to participate, please contact us to see if your company qualifies for membership. If you are an i4cp member, please log in to access the registration/meeting details.
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