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One-Third of Business Professionals View Change as Bad. Do You?

How well an organization performs depends partly on how change is perceived.

Given the rate of change of not only technology but business as a whole, it’s surprising that change is widely viewed as something to be feared.

Be honest: is change perceived as a threat or an opportunity across your organization?

i4cp’s research, highlighted in the report, The Three A’s of Organizational Agility: Reinvention Through Disruption , found that over 30% of those surveyed view change as bad for business. If that’s the sentiment in your organization, it’s likely a low-performing organization.

We found that those in low-performance organizations were 3.5x more likely to view change in a negative light vs. those in high-performance organizations. A full 55% say they perceive change as overwhelming, wearing them down, or a threat.

Contrast that to how those in high-performance organizations view change—they are 2.7x more likely to perceive it as an opportunity to shake things up or disrupt.

High-performance organizations are much more able to not only adapt to sudden changes (because they work hard to anticipate them coming), but to be better prepared when it happens. No surprise, right? These top performers are rethinking their approaches to their business and talent practices to be more agile. They are reconfiguring the workforce and processes to be quicker to respond to the future-focused needs of customers and their market overall.

Ultimately, they’re rigorously and consistently looking for ways to reinvent and disrupt both internally and externally.

What does disruptive behavior look like?

The research report provides 12 recommendations on how to make the workforce more agile, and features case studies and insights from several cutting-edge organizations that are disruptive, both internally and in their respective markets.

  • At T-Mobile, which in six years has turned the telecommunications industry on its head, has taken its “Un-carrier” marketing and sales theme to heart to also disrupt its internal functions. The company’s HR function has tossed out old-school anachronistic practices and processes that were unpopular or ineffective, from annual performance reviews to aging HR applications. They reorganized HR support teams into decentralized crews of HRBPs, recruiters, and career development agents, and aligned them to business leaders. They also launched several initiatives to give the workforce new opportunities and better transparency into career opportunities.
  • Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media has created a “Gigs” program that enables employees to pursue their personal passions—fitness, photography, video, music, writing, and much more—on various Disney-related projects and tasks.
  • Workday launched a two-day people leadership summit to encourage a growth mindset. And  the company went a step further by using data science to create an algorithm to determine who would benefit from sitting at the same table based on their development needs, geography, or their function.

These organizations, along with others highlighted in the report to include General Motors, IBM, Adobe, Microsoft, ANZ, and Unilever, have embraced change—and disruption—as the new normal.

But what about everyone else? Some fear change because they have neither the culture nor the processes to be able to anticipate, adapt, and act (the Three A’s of Agility) in ways that don’t create chaos, confusion, or at the very least a ton of extra work.

As an HR leader, you’re in an enviable spot to enable greater organizational agility—if you view and embrace change as the opportunity it truly is. Do you?

Erik Samdahl
Erik is the head of marketing at i4cp, and has nearly 20 years in the market research and human capital research industry.