Why HR should hate change just a little bit more

I often hear HR professionals express how comfortable they are with change, how much they like it. I find this both peculiar and a little bit terrifying. The curse of many a modern business is the almost incessant approach to instigating  change. Initiative after initiative, programme after programme, with never enough time between them to properly evaluate or measure impact.

Normally these initiatives are driven by the leadership team and eagerly pounced on by HR leaders to show how committed they are to delivering the corporate agenda. I figure that’s why so many of them profess to like change; it provides the organisational hard-on of temporary, central importance.

Most of the time, we completely overlook the emotional and psychological impact of change. Success is measured in operational plans, in business cases, on gant charts and in milestones. Success is a tick box exercise.

And of course, as we all know, if the change really was that successful, it would only need to be done once.

Many organisations, many if not most employees, are change fatigued. They’re walking zombie-like waiting for the next initiative to come and fail. In the meantime, trying to do their jobs despite the machinations of their leaders to seemingly make things harder. Don’t believe me? Spend a day in any FTSE100 company or any part of the public sector and speak to the people actually doing the work.

Where is HR in all this? Well certainly not where it needs to be, understanding the impact of the changes on employees, diagnosing real organisational performance issues and challenging the business to fine tune and not continually volt-face like a goldfish in the throws of a drug induced epileptic fit.

I don’t want HR people to like change, I don’t want them to be comfortable with it. I actually want them to hate it a little bit more, to be wary of it. That way, they might take it a bit more seriously and think about the implications on the wider organisations. Not just where they’re going to get the next pat on the head.