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What is a change agent? How can HR managers act as change agents. Provide examples

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Mehar Kohli

on 1 June 2015

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Transcript of What is a change agent? How can HR managers act as change agents. Provide examples

By Mehar Kohli
Organizations today work in a more dynamic, fast changing environments than they ever have before.

Changing pressures represent the driving force that places employees out of their comfort zone.

What is change agent ? How can HR managers act as change agents. Provide examples.
Human Resource Management : Change
Conner (1992) study emphaisesed on the loss of control as a primary factor for resistance.
According to Coch and French(1948), organisational study have concluded that employee involvement and partcipation in organisational decision making is imperative in avoiding resistance.

Oreg (2003) study suggests that research portrays dogmatic individuals as having rigidity and closed mindedness and therefore might be less willingness


(ie. increase in competative pressure) (Nike, coca cola)

demographic change
(i.e work place diversity,increase women partcipation, old age demograph in aus)

Changing consumer
behaviour (Coca cola life).

change in goverment regulations
(Late night stores open for longer hours as goverment regulation increases opening hours)
Cheaper labour
( Quantas 2011, industrial dispute where over 1000 jobs were lost because of new emphasis in Asia. Or E.g Toyota.
Forces for change
[internal changes]
Crises (i.e Raw material shortages, shortage of chocolate, death of Apple Ceo steve jobs)

Lack of talent (i.e Common Wealth bank encourage open meetings with start ups and new graduates to increase innovation and identify talented gradutes)

New organisational structure (flatter, more decentralised, organic instead of mechanistic structures. Ernst and young, decentralised bottom up project management)
Forces for change [External]
Change managment is preperation for major changes in the present and the future, as a means of strengthening the agility, internal resistance, and the peripheral vision of the organisation
Previous literature on resistence
What is a change agent?
Change is constant at Google.

The internal strategy adopted by Google

One of the main attributes that HR recruiters look for when hiring employees is an ability to be innovative, flexible and adaptable.

Google does not have an internal change management team or formal change management methodology that is used throughout the organisation.


it has a set of guiding principals that are followed whether launching new products or making internal changes. For eg. 'principles include 'being focused on the user' and launch and iterate'. This means collecting feedback from users or employees will help the direction that is taken next.

The HRBP's(
HR business partners
) have change management expertise and provide support to their business units on managing change.

'Leading through change' training is part of the learning plan for all managers.

Google uses technology for
emails, calendaring, video conferencing, presentations, spreadsheets, etc.
like any other organisation, but it is all cloud based. No updates and enhancements to the tools are required on an ongoing bases .

Employees are given the chance to try the latest products out first and provide feedback. Many of Google products and features are first internally tested before they get released to consumers or customers.

Google has developed a change management methodology and toolkit specifically to help organisations make the transition to Google technology.
The aspects that have made the biggest impact are :

having a strong executive sponsor-someone from the business rather than IT, someone that is focused on using the technology as a platform to inspire business and cultural transformation because that is where google tools are really being able to add value to the organisation.

Finding ways that employees can be involved in the change. Google HR managers find that establishing a Champions program is a great way of engaging with all levels of the organisation and also ensuring that there is a peer-to-peer support available when people have questions about how to use the new technology.

Innovation labs help business units and teams identify business processes or workflows which can be improved by the technology, demonstrating tangible benefits to employees.

Training and communications are essential to make sure that employees know why the change has been made, what the benefits are to them and to the organisation, and that they are given the skills to be successful with the tools. Making communications and training interesting and fun are key to engaging employees.
Change management perspective?
From a change management perspective, the key is showing people real examples of how technology can make their lives easier and then giving them the skills so that they can work in these new or different ways.

Encourage people to work differently is to make sure that leaders within the organisation are leading by example, and that people are rewarded and recognized for demonstrating the desired behaviours.
HR is only one of the groups that should be involved in a change project.

With Technology roll outs the IT teamplays a big part in the project, but the HR team is invaluable with helping to identify all the different user groups within an organisation and can also help with the organisational analysis activities.

When dealing with change that will impact all employees, it is important to make sure there are many different groups involved in the project. When people are involved in a project they feel more of a sense of ownership and are therefore inspired to make it successful and less likely to resist.

The middle managers must also be empowered with the skills to lead their teams through change successfully.
Google HR change management Tips :
It is critical for organisations to build change readiness into the fabrics of their organisational culture in order to survive.
HR recruiters must recruit individuals who embody flexibility and agility. HR must also reward and recognize employees who exemplify these traits.

People coming into the workforce now and those joining in the future are 'digital natives'. They have grown up with technology being a part of their everyday lives.; They will want to be able to work the way they live, where technology is an enabler not a blocker to them being able to do their job.
A change agent is a person tasked with creating needed employee behaviour change.

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