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How to Use Culture for Successful Change Management

Sunita Khatri
Director, Product Marketing

In this two-part post, we look at the different ways organizations undertake business transformation. This first installment explores HR’s leadership role in facilitating change by tapping into company culture. The second entry will lay out a roadmap for successfully navigating large-scale change initiatives. 

“Don’t ever change” is a common expression, but it’s the exact opposite of what today’s organizations need to do to remain relevant. Change is a fact of life. KMPG tells us that 93% of US-based multinationals are in some stage of transformation. If you’re evolving your business now—or will be soon—here are some critical points to keep in mind.

1. Think Culture First

What makes an organizational transformation succeed? It takes more than restructuring and launching new vision statements. Change is all about people and culture. Major organizational shifts are most effective when employees fully embrace change. Conversely, they often fail when employees resist doing things differently. But human resources can counteract this resistance by being agents of transformation and proactively influencing organizational culture.

2. HR Is at the Heart of Your Organization’s Culture

Senior executives often turn to HR to help facilitate change. They trust that HR will recruit, train, and retain a talent pool capable of turning new strategic visions into realities. As businesses transform, HR’s job is to listen to employees and foster a two-way dialogue to move big changes forward. HR also can champion change by tapping into pride points—things that make people proud to work at an organization—to ensure a change-oriented state of mind. 

3. Change Is a Continuous Process

Successful organizations have created a culture that willingly embraces change. KPMG finds that more than 50% of organizations employ an ongoing, iterative process for strategic alignment—a wise choice since change is rarely a one-time event. With continuous change the new norm, it’s never been more imperative for HR leaders to ensure that organizational culture adapts in parallel. Indeed, as Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author of The Change Masters, notes, “The most successful organizations develop a culture that just keeps moving all of the time.”

Culture can have a profound impact on how well an organization handles a change initiative. HR leaders play a pivotal a role in making culture a positive force for change. Learn more about Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud and how it can benefit HR in our Executive Brief, The Vital Role of HR in Organizational Transformation.


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Comments ( 1 )
  • Gautam Grover Sunday, April 24, 2016
    Culture change can be derived through transforming behaviors as well. Organization's are demanding cultures to be aligned to their vision in shortest period of time before competitors overtake them e.g. acceptance of digital tools by salesforce, leveraging more collaboration and social tools, driving analytics in operations. In such scenarios culture needs to be looked at from different behavioral dimensions and driven in parts but with pace and certainty.
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