Influencing Change – Approaches to Making a Difference in HR

Recently our staffing team was asked to help collect employee data that was pertinent for another HR group.  This was important in the new hire process so that pay and benefits were delivered on time.  We were glad to help as it made sense to streamline data collection.  Just immediately after implementing the process we got caught in a wildfire of issues that run deep, as we later found out later, into the organization.

To make a long story short, our staffing team was feeling very frustrated as we were caught off guard and now ended in the front-line working with employees to address the issue.  Our team also felt this was not our job and not data our needed, but had to deal with issues owned by another group.  No one seemed to be taking ownership of the problem.

Have you been in similar situations before where a problems seems have been dropped on your lap?  What do you do?  How do you rally supporters and influence change effectively.

Here are 3 ways to rally others and gain support to solve complex problems involving cross-functional teams.

1. Don’t just complain.  Be a part of the solution.
I am sure there is enough people complaining, especially if the issues have been deep rooted for a long time.  In this case, you may not feel like you are even the owner or the one who created the problem.  But if no one else is taking action, then it is up to you.

It is important to be part of the solution then be part of the problem.  Teammates involved may contribute their ideas and offer suggestions.  In coming up with the solution the process itself may exposed all involved to critical learning.

Taking ownership can be very powerful in building alliances for win-win solution.

2.  Gather data and quantify the issues.
One of first steps in solving any problem is to do a root-cause analysis.  This involves digging deep to understand what is creating the situation.  You may have to collect data on an excel spreadsheet and catalog the issues.  Knowing various individuals or groups involvement is needed to know current roles and responsibilities. Draft out a process workflow will help those people involve to better understand the the process end-to-end.  Identify key areas that are prone to errors.

It is important to not point fingers as to who is the cause of the problem.  At this point, you are simply documenting the current situation.

Remember that you won’t get very far if  your intent is to lay blame.

3.  Gain buy-in and support from senior management.
Don’t be a know-it-all.  What is important is gaining support from those involved to see your perspective and how your ideas will help improve the outcome.  Not all your ideas will be accepted either.  Just as ideas from others will be accepted based on merit.  But, gaining upper management support is crucial to making change.

You must educated upward, synthesize the problem and recommended solutions.  Upper management may have other ideas.  So, be ready to recognize and accept their input.  They will be in a position to help you maneuver through rocky situations as you navigate the organization to implement the necessary changes.

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