Businesses Must Overhaul Legacy Approaches to Change Management According to Recent Bersin Big Reset Research

Research Based on Ongoing Big Reset Executive Working Groups; Success Is Directly Tied to Overall Business Resiliency

The Josh Bersin Company, a research and advisory company focused on HR and workforce trends and issues, revealed the ten specific practices business leaders must put in place in order to respond to current change and quickly adapt to future change – predicted and unpredicted.

The new report, The Big Reset Playbook: Change Agility, is based on the most recent Big Reset working group sprint. The Josh Bersin Company has been conducting these executive working groups since the pandemic’s onset and uses the collaborations and best practices discussed to guide its research. This report details why a traditional approach to change management, typically based on project management approaches, is no longer sufficient for the rapid change businesses in all sectors are seeing and why a new approach is essential for overall business resiliency.

“Most change management initiatives are designed for once-and-done, big bang initiatives,” said Josh Bersin, global industry analyst and CEO. However, such approaches require changing many things – and the associated employee behaviors – all simultaneously. This just isn’t in the realm of human nature, nor does today’s pace of change allow for lengthy and complex planning. By taking a human-centered design approach and taking incremental steps, we can accomplish microchanges that ultimately result in macrotransformations.”

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The report sets out ten new best practices to successfully accomplish any type of change, all of which are supported by real-world examples from companies such as Eventbrite, Dow, LEGO Group, McKesson, and PepsiCo. These practices encompass employee listening, human-centered leadership, transparent communications, reward and recognition for changed behaviors, and a continual focus on mission and purpose. The report also highlights the importance of HR capabilities to accomplishing successful change. While all business leaders have responsibility for successful change, HR teams navigate the process, often identfy the best path forward, and ensure that employees are onboard.

Additionally, the report includes the company’s four-stage business resiliency model and identifies six steps to operationalize change of any type. The steps focus on practices such as the empowerment of employees, ongoing iteration and communications, and a realistic assessment of change readinesss and resources.

Readers will also find four detailed case studies that show how the change agility practices described in the report have been put into practical use: LEGO Group’s moderinazion of leadership development, starting with employee feedback; McDonald’s high-volume hiring solution designed to create personalized candidate experiences; Rabobank’s approach to developing a one-size-fits-one hybrid working solution; and XP’s revamping of corporate learning to facilitate product innovation and growth.

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The report is generally available for a limited time; to access, click here.

Commenting on the findings, Josh Bersin, global HR trends analyst and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company, says:

“A new era of change management has arrived—one that puts people, not processes, at the center; prioritizes purpose over procedures; and unleashes employee creativity. In this new paradigm, change management is no longer about spreadsheets, tools, templates, methodologies, timelines, rigor, and consistency. Instead, a focus on people, iterative and agile practices, flexibility, new approaches, and individuality must take priority.

“This is a mandatory evolution all companies must make in order to optimize their business resiliency and navigate and adapt to whatever is ahead.”

Kathi Enderes, senior vice president of research, says:

“While old change models can give some comfort of providing a structured approach, these models also lead to a false sense of security. Even if you follow any of these change management methodologies ‘to a T,’ there will be something coming at you—your employees, your leaders, or your customers—that you didn’t expect and that will disrupt the best-laid plans. We need to change the paradigm. Rather than managing change projects, we need to facilitate change and transformation for our people, supporting them on the journey to a new and always-changing future.

“Our new research study highlights that a shift from change management to change agility demands new behaviors. HR capabilities, leadership behaviors, and employee ownership are key components of successful change as well as overall business resilience.”

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