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Becoming Change Agents and Internal Consultants
The role and function of HR as a change agent and as an internal consultant
The human resource professionals as change agents have a crucial role to play in the organization. In this regard, HR has the responsibility of ensuring a seamless transition at times when the organization is implementing huge change (Boldizzoni & Quaratino, 2011). Additionally, as a change agent, they should also recommend changes to the senior management depending on the greatest market activities. The change agent must apply the knowledge of the workforce and key change management skills to reduce the transition costs. The executive may need the human resource experts to provide backing for various changes in the firm. Since they are the project leaders, they must be conversant with employees’ interests so that they can adjust smoothly to the initiatives (Rees & Johari, 2010). HR has a critical role in the firm because they add substantial value via the supervision of the change procedures in the firm. They also develop an effective communication plan and assist workers understand to the intended changes. Therefore, they act as the foundation of strategic change (Voermans & van Veldhoven, 2007).
HR has a special role to play as an internal consultant of the firm. Precisely, they assist in linking up HR strategies to commercial strategies. Therefore, they collaborate with leaders and business partners to classify current HR policies, practices, and programs that support or impede organization’s achievement and identify areas for improvement (Vosburgh, 2007). They also deliver guidance, advice, constant support, and follow-up to business unit and non-HR executives on the execution of HR-linked solutions. They also utilize their problem-solving skills to establish definite business interventions to deal with organizational needs and promote company objectives (Wright, 2008). They also clarify, define, identify customer requirements and needs and react instantly, openly, and courteously to customer’s requests.
HR role complements each other
HR role as change agent and internal consultant complements each other. For instance, internal consultants take the responsibility of change agent by altering the standpoints of the executive on the evolving environment (Boldizzoni & Quaratino, 2011). Internal consultants have the skills to evaluate the firm’s preparedness to change, to appreciate and understand the viewpoint on resistance, and initiate internal resources that will be required to solve similar challenges in the future. They also give the proper open feedback and nonjudgmental. They use their problem-solving skills to guide the organization’s management (Rees & Johari, 2010). For instance, they offer procedures, tools, concepts, and information required to comprehend the challenges at hand. Furthermore, as internal consultants, they deliver the expertise of knowledge essential for a change initiatives. For instance, Philips Electronics has successfully used the HR as internal consultants to facilitate change in the organization. After they played the part of change agent, the lenders and investors of Philips started to recover confidence in the firm (Voermans & van Veldhoven, 2007). An internal consultant acquires the responsibility of an advisor to a team to effect change initiative. The main task of the internal consultant is to achieve change seamlessly and guide the organization away from drawbacks. HR as internal consultants assist to reduce conflict of views by ensuring that the decision-making is explicit and by presenting relevance and objectivity into the administrative decision-making procedure. Therefore, the HR is supposed to compliment the leadership in the firm (Vosburgh, 2007).
HR role supports a global organization’s strategy
In the recent past, the responsibilities of HRM has transformed into global business. The HR has turned out to be a strategic partner in supporting global organization’s strategy (Wright, 2008). The strategic HRM imply that the HR professionals focus more deeply and broadly on how workers will contribute to the firm’s success. The HR participate in finding new global corporate opportunities, adjusting to varying circumstances worldwide, distributing innovation information across the firm, guiding successful cross-border recruitments, and sustaining a committed and performing global workforce (Boldizzoni & Quaratino, 2011).
In most transnational companies, the greatest challenge for HR is to organize different workforce units scattered in different parts of the world. In some instances, differences in culture between the parent organization and its affiliations may prevent sharing innovations, technology, and information in overseas countries (Rees & Johari, 2010).
HR promotes global business strategy by ensuring that the senior management is aware of different cultures within the firm workforce across the world. Furthermore, they deliver advice on the way to coordinate operations, performance management and total rewards across boundaries. More importantly, they nurture exceptional cross-cultural competence in workers via career paths that include substantial overseas exposure (Vosburgh, 2007).
The HR functions in various countries differ because of diverse culture, hence they HR are involved in the development of a strategy that fits in the international human resource management. For instance, choosing the correct IHRM strategy is essential especially in challenging foreign markets. Countries such Russia and China are moving to market-based economy from state-dominated economy (Voermans & van Veldhoven, 2007). Therefore, the HR establish an appropriate strategy to reduce employees challenges in the process of initiating joint ventures, establishing new plants or purchasing local firms. In this regard, the strategic HRM in the global business helps in appropriate job design, selection and placement, diversity management, and compensations and rewards (Wright, 2008).
Cultural, ethical, and legal considerations for each role in supporting strategic HRM
Strategic HRM must pay close attention to legal, ethical, and cultural ethics. Firstly, the HR function is exposed to a wide range of ethical challenges, since they directly handle persons employed by the organization. Some of the ethical pitfalls could have a negative impact on the financial sustainability and reputation of the firm if it is not correctly handled (Boldizzoni & Quaratino, 2011). In addition, strategic HR must concentrate on legal consideration. For instance, violations of ethics in the HR can force the firm into a legal concern in both the criminal and civil areas. In the US, when HR is involved in ethics breaches, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Better Business Bureau handle the issues. Therefore, the firm must adhere to the legal provisions to avoid litigation costs, environment and work issues (Vosburgh, 2007).
Strategic HRM involves encouraging a culture of creativity and innovation in a firm in different ways. For example, they introduce certain innovation projects and activities such as career development, employee creativity, leadership, teamwork, and staffing. Additionally, they inspire new ideas from various departments within the firm and embolden risk-taking and entrepreneurial behaviors. Recognizing and rewarding workers who display high levels of innovation and creativity also enhance the organizational culture (Wright, 2008).
The HR should also provide guidance on ways to enhance ethics. In most cases, ethics-conscious HR departments enact comprehensive ethics mechanism to guarantee a company’s commitment to moral requirements of the human resources (Wright, 2008). Establishing ethics programs on the HR especially those related to sexual harassment, discrimination and workers’ treatment. They should also ensure that supervisors and managers participate in ethics training to guarantee that they are fully aware of their expectations (Rees & Johari, 2010).
Boldizzoni, D., & Quaratino, L. (2011). The role of Human Resource Manager: Change Agent vs. Business Partner? Research into HRM in Italy. EBS Review, (28).
Rees, C. J., & Johari, H. (2010). Senior managers’ perceptions of the HRM function during times of strategic organizational change: Case study evidence from a public sector banking institution in Malaysia. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 23(5), 517-536.
Voermans, M., & van Veldhoven, M. J. P. M. (2007). Attitude towards E-HRM: an empirical study at Philips. Personnel Review, 36(6), 887-902.
Vosburgh, R. M. (2007). The evolution of HR: Developing HR as an internal consulting organization. People and Strategy, 30(3), 11.
Wright, C. (2008). Reinventing human resource management: Business partners, internal consultants and the limits to professionalization. Human Relations, 61(8), 1063-1086.