How Do Human Resources Managers Handle Significant Changes in Upper Management?

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    CHRO Daily

    How Do Human Resources Managers Handle Significant Changes in Upper Management?

    In the wake of significant upper management changes, we turned to seasoned CHROs and HR leaders for their strategies on navigating these turbulent times. From sharing the 'why' behind leadership changes to boosting morale with emotional intelligence training, discover the seven valuable insights provided by top HR professionals on maintaining and improving employee morale.

    • Share the 'Why' of Leadership Changes
    • Empathize and Communicate During Transitions
    • Facilitate Smooth Transitions with HR Strategy
    • Maintain Morale with Open Communication
    • Mitigate Morale Impact with Transparency
    • Explain Vision and Strategy to Ease Fears
    • Reassure Team with Open, Transparent Communication
    • Boost Morale with Emotional Intelligence Training

    Share the 'Why' of Leadership Changes

    Change is hard. Some can be overcomers, and others struggle to merely adjust. We have to keenly remember that people have a true need and a thirst for a sense of belonging. Even as adults, it's vital. As leaders, we have to be prepared to share the 'why?' Many people in leadership need to get better at sharing about the change. Allowing team members to ask questions turns the pressure valve down a notch. Not allowing it creates a culture of silence and closed mouths. Many are afraid to challenge and to stand up to learn more. Change impacts others deeply because, as it is happening, there are other hidden matters that take place simultaneously that remain unbeknownst to others. I have been through a plethora of changes, some for the good and some for the not-so-good. However, through it all, what I appreciated the most was a leader who had the empathy and the unwavering compassion to not just plow ahead but to invite me along for the journey. It changes things. While there are matters that should remain confidential, leaders should still remember that they owe it to their staff to be transparent. Invite team members in for the journey. If you extend this grace and ability to invite others in, your organization's morale will be on solid ground. I value a leader who sees, hears, and cares. These leaders are rare gems who have led well and know you only go as far as your team. When change occurs in upper leadership, you must be prepared to share the 'who, what, when, and why?' Sometimes that can be done in a town hall or a very transparent email. Either way, communication is key so employees can have their questions answered.

    Tanya Turner, Mba, Shrm-Cp, Phr
    Tanya Turner, Mba, Shrm-Cp, PhrHR Director, SALTO Systems, Inc

    Empathize and Communicate During Transitions

    The best way to approach this is with empathy, lots of communication, and good listening skills. The impact does hit the morale of the employee base, and we just have to be prepared to support them in getting through the transition and understand the reasoning behind it. They may not understand it at first, but as the change evolves, there should be greater clarity. This is something that happens often in organizations, and we should always be prepared as to how to approach it beforehand and deal with it afterward.

    Diana Minelli
    Diana MinelliSr. HR Manager, Wellinks

    Facilitate Smooth Transitions with HR Strategy

    When faced with significant changes in upper management, HR plays a crucial role in facilitating smooth transitions. This involves communicating effectively with employees to address any concerns or uncertainties, ensuring clarity regarding new leadership roles and responsibilities. HR also focuses on maintaining employee morale and engagement during periods of change, offering support, and providing resources for adaptation. Additionally, HR collaborates closely with new leadership to align organizational goals, foster a positive work culture, and promote continuity in operations. By managing these changes with transparency, sensitivity, and strategic planning, HR helps to minimize disruptions and ensures the organization's continued success.

    Kratika RaghuvanshiHR Manager, App Wizards

    Maintain Morale with Open Communication

    Because I work in a university setting, change in upper management is on a constant rotation. When I know of a change in advance, I communicate it to employees at all levels and ask for their feedback on candidates. I ensure that potential candidates are aligned with the culture and values of my area. Once new leadership is chosen, I provide them with training and ongoing support. I also gather feedback from employees during the transition process and work to maintain stability in the organization through one-on-one meetings with department heads and key employees. When I follow these steps, the impact on employee morale has typically been quite positive. Communication is the key throughout the entire process, from start to finish.

    Michelle Forstrom
    Michelle ForstromHR Manager, BYU Library

    Mitigate Morale Impact with Transparency

    When the most senior leader at one of our practice locations separated from the company, communication and transparency—without violating confidentiality—were key.

    We communicated the separation to the entire company via email quickly, to attempt to avoid the spread of rumors and misinformation and to alleviate any fears of a larger agenda. We also offered to have more private meetings with team members who were more significantly impacted.

    We quickly appointed an interim leader to take over the immediate day-to-day projects and leadership responsibilities so that we maintained a sense of stability within the practice and department.

    Short-term impact on morale is inevitable, but immediate, thoughtful, and transparent communication, in addition to listening to fears and feelings, helped to mitigate any lasting negative impacts.

    Amy CordovaHR Director

    Explain Vision and Strategy to Ease Fears

    Employees need to understand the vision and strategy of the company so that they can appreciate the 'why' when there are organizational changes. People become fearful when there is silence. Worse, they may come to their own conclusions and talk. Sometimes changes are welcomed, but most often, people fear building a relationship with a new leader who may not be a good chemistry fit. Being transparent and giving employees the tools to navigate different people and situations can certainly help.

    Stacey Gallagher EscofferyChief Human Resources Officer, Alba International

    Reassure Team with Open, Transparent Communication

    When we faced significant changes in upper management, our approach focused on open and transparent communication. We made it a priority to reassure our team about their job security and the company's direction.

    I personally ensured that new leaders were introduced to the team, sharing their vision and plans. We also held meetings and open forums, inviting everyone to voice their concerns and ask questions. This strategy helped maintain trust and morale, creating a smoother transition and reinforcing our commitment to the team's well-being and the company's future.

    Ana Alipat
    Ana AlipatRecruitment Team Lead, Dayjob Recruitment

    Boost Morale with Emotional Intelligence Training

    When confronted with a significant reorganization in upper management, I adopted an unorthodox approach by placing emphasis on emotional intelligence training for both our staff and leadership. Workshops centered around the concepts of empathy, resilience, and effective communication were organized with the intention of providing all participants with the necessary abilities to collectively navigate the process of change.

    Furthermore, we implemented a sequence of interdepartmental initiatives that were in line with the strategic objectives of the new leadership, allowing staff members to actively participate in shaping the course of action.

    We observed increased collaboration, decreased resistance to change, and a more cohesive corporate culture as a result of this extraordinary development. This experience served to strengthen my conviction regarding the efficacy of prioritizing emotional intelligence and active engagement amidst periods of transition.

    Volen Vulkov
    Volen VulkovCo-founder, Enhancv