Supporting Change in Organisations

How do we support change in organizations?

Human Resources supporting change imageHow do HR support change and change management in organisations? This is a HUGE subject. As this question is being asked of HR people more and more in the current climate, this is the first of a series of articles looking at not just change management, but the supporting role that HR, OD and training professionals can make.

Lets start out by understanding what the phrase “Support organisations going through change”. Now by this I am assuming that we are not driving the change – that is happening elsewhere, nor are we managing it, our role is to provide support to the organisation as the change process is unravelled.

Supporting change could include the:

  • Project management of change
  • People psychology aspects of change
  • Communications in change
  • The importance of clarity in change
  • HR issues attached to change
    • Redeployment
    • Attitudes
    • Policy changes
    • Individual development needs
    • Development – Skills change
    • Behaviours/ attitudes
    • Staffing levels required (up or down)
    • Relocation
    • Mergers

And much of this will depend on the context and nature of the proposed change compared to the status quo:

  • Organic change
  • Transformational change
  • Developmental change
  • Transitional change

and the purpose of change:

  • Structural change
  • Cost cutting
  • Process change
  • Cultural change

How can we support change & change management in organizations?

So what can we as HR do to support change…. lots – but only what the project lead needs us to do.

If we go off all maverick, solving problems that actually do not exist yet, we can add to the pain and difficulty of the change for the organisation. We need to be in a position to deliver the objectives of the change programme at the time the change programme requires them. this means us having a clear relationship with both the change leader and the key stakeholder.

READ  5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis

For me one of the most important things we can do is once we know the goals and strategy of the change, we need to carry out a diagnostic process to find out “where we are”. now depending on the nature and scope of change, this could result in different actions even though we are starting in the same place. appropriate diagnosis in the context of the goals and culture are critical for cost effective and timely success.


What are our goals in supporting organisations in change?

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) require practitioners in this area to be capable of:

  • Understanding why organisations need to change and how change affects organisations
  • Understanding  the key factors involved in the change process and different approaches to managing change
  • Understanding the impact of change on employees and the role of human resources (HR)

So this is a good a place to start as any other. Success criteria in supporting change in organizations requires practitioners to be able to:

1.1 Explain why organisations need to change with reference to internal and external factors

1.2 Explain how change can impact an organisation’s business

2 Understand the key factors involved in the change process and different approaches to managing change

2.1 Explain the main factors involved in the change process

2.2 Compare and contrast different approaches to managing change

3 Understand the impact of change on employees and the role of human resources (HR)

3.1 Compare and contrast the different behavioural responses people may demonstrate when an organisation is experiencing change

3.2 Explain the role of HR in supporting individuals during organisational change

READ  Change management models, processes and images


In this introductory article we will start with the top level questions:

Why do organisations need to change?

Because their customers, the technology and environment are changing – and lets be honest the market for arga black or coal buckets is much less than it was 100 years ago – it is all about business survival at some stage. This is one of the reasons why conducting a PESTLE analysis is critical. And for HR, HRD & OD professionals understanding the results from a PESTLE analysis and its impact on the people, skills and attitudes elements are critical for both business sustainability and success.

What key factors are involved in the change process?

Until we know the nature and scope of the change being considered this is a difficult one. Consider using the PRIMO-F framework to identify some areas and potential factors to consider. In addition think about, people, their sense of security, any feelings or sense of loss, relationships with peers, productivity etc.

What are the different approaches to managing and supporting change?

There are many approaches, one of the most common series is based on project management principles. While this is OK in theory, it carries the risk of being too process based and not people orientated. Often if the project is managed rather then led (i.e. management rather than leadership) it can fail to spot the unseen issues which can have a significant impact on people engagement and productivity for some considerable time into the future.

What is the impact of change on employees and the role of human resources (HR)

This may be as little as re-skills some of the workforce, right through to relocation, redundancy, job change, merger and a raft of other significant HR based impacts. Relationships between the workforce and management may breakdown due to loss of trust. each change program will have widely different impacts, and each ones cannot be managed against any template or check-list. we need to be “on the ground” being proactive and aligning any subtle changes back to the project leader and designing appropriate interventions to minimise any impacts.

READ  5 common mistakes in doing a PESTLE analysis

How does change impact on an organisations business?

How long is a piece of string – it depends if the change is wanted in the org, by who and how this is communicated and managed. many changes are not noticed – generally only the badly managed ones are remembered!

What sort of behaviours do people demonstrate when going through change?

Again – I could list all of the human emotions here as they may all be applicable depending on the change, the impact on the individuals, what they thought of the “old way” – not all change is negative! see our Change management models page for some of the behaviours we may expect in a change situation.

Change is not all bad. Often we approach change and change management as dangerous – disliked. this is not true, and in many situations the employees are the first to cry – thank you.. at last – we have been saying this for a long time but no one was listening! Often change is welcomed – it is how it is communicated cam make all the difference.

HR, HRD and other allied functions have a key role in supporting the people, the business and the change management processes.





About Mike Morrison

Mike Morrison is a consultant and change agent specialising in developing skills in senior people to increase organizational performance.
Mike provides training & development in senior management, leadership, change management & other strategic programs to an international client base.
Mike is also founder & director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy.


  1. New Blog post: Supporting Change in Organisations

  2. Blog entry- Supporting Change in Organisations

  3. Gerry McAteer says:

    RT @RapidBI: Blog entry- Supporting Change in Organisations

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