What You Need from Your Workforce During 'Transformational Times' - Commitment
"In times of organizational change, Loyalty is outdated, High Morale is unrealistic. What you need is Commitment, with a capital C".
I love the way Price Pritchett managed to summarise such essence in a single statement.
Today, we hear so much about companies going through transformation. Diageo embarked on a Priority Based Budgeting, something that they put in place, focusing the business on those things that are delivering against their strategy so that the things at the bottom can be dropped and reinvested behind the brands.
In an effort to increase savings, Kellogg announced a cost-efficiency plan (called “Project K”) that will produce a cash-savings annual run-rate of between $425 million and $475 million by 2018. In the interim, however, Kellogg said it will cut 7% of its global workforce over the next four years. They said that Project K will lead to a consolidation of business services across “multiple regions and functions.”
Fonterra collaborated with McKinsey and instituted what it calls a "performance improvement programme" called "Velocity". Velocity focus on fine-tuning the business on performance, creating value faster and generating more cash for their farmers.
Mondelez embarked on a global collaboration with Accenture and launched Zero Based Budgeting, an approach to planning and decision-making that reverses the working process of traditional budgeting. ZBB is a method of budgeting in which all expenses must be justified for each new period. Savings are re-invested into the brands and innovation, helping the company to stay ahead of the game and competition.
So, where does this all leaves us at? Every employees will experience the Change Curve - from Denial > Fear > Acceptance > Commitment.
The magic word - Commitment.
We know change leaves people shaken and I quote Price Pritchett again, "Some quit and leave. Others quit and stay - their names are still on the payroll but their hearts don't come to work. Re-recruit everyone you've decided to keep".
HR Leaders need to and can help the business generate that dose of Commitment the company needs. Now, you'll ask me how? I could go on and on forever, but in the essence of keeping it simple, I'm sharing the top 3 ways you could begin for a start in 1-2-3:
1. Need your people. Let them know they are valued even more in such times. Organizational change is the time where people can shine, show their learning agility, and prove that they are able to navigate 'choppy waters' and contribute in a fiscally challenging environment. It adds to their learning and honestly, their CV!
2. Be the safety net for your people. Don't expect employees to shoulder blame alone if they do something wrong (and especially if they have aligned with you). Step up and show that you co-own the outcome if you're the line manager. Practice servant leadership (this is a huge ask. Many preach but few become).
3. Empathy. I can't emphasize more of this. HR Professionals must have empathy. Feel what employees are feeling as though their feelings are your own. Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. You do not necessarily feel pity for each person’s predicament—this would be sympathy, not Empathy. You do not necessarily condone the choices each person makes, but you do understand. This instinctive ability to understand is powerful. You help people find the right phrases to express their feelings—to themselves as well as to others.
I hope this article has planted a seed of curiosity in you to want to find out how you can further promote commitment in your workforce. It is a transformational journey and it will take time. A master of patience is a master of everything. Be brave, be kind and help lead the way to generate commitment.