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How to prepare talent for change

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The last few months have witnessed a number of projects by organisations in the Middle East that are related to managing change in our VUCA world. How is Imperial Tobacco’s HRD Sherif Elogeiry navigating these issues?

Political instability, oil price issues and the effects of Brexit are inevitably affecting businesses around the world, creating challenging and changing work environments.

This means the role of HR professionals is becoming increasingly important. In times of change, communication becomes key, with building closer relationships and being open and transparent with employees required factors to make change succeed.

While a lot of people talk about change management as a concept, it is very important to make sure that the process is managed in a way to make it work. This requires adequate planning with the involvement of all stakeholders.

Change projects have to be linked to the overall strategy of the organisation and should translate into some tangible outputs. The final objectives must not only be financial, but also operationally effective and should eventually lead to a better business performance.

 

Four stages of preparing talent for change management

The design

It is vital to a have map that clearly shows the business model the company intends to adopt. It needs to be tailored to the specific needs of the business.

Communication

Once designed, it’s vital to communicate the plan to employees to show where you want to go. Involve your employees at every stage of the process to avoid speculation.

The transition process

After sharing the picture of the future, have appropriate discussions about how the new structure will work, including what will be filled internally and what will be announced externally. Review your existing talent to ensure you are being fair with development opportunities.

Announce people changes

Place the pieces of the puzzle together and provide clarity on how the boxes of the new structure will be filled.

Taking responsibility

While this might reflect the logical sequence of the process, it must be taken into consideration that we as HR professionals have a responsibility towards our employees.

Individual conversations need to take place along the way, with a robust coaching plan on an ongoing basis, as well as the introduction of the right training modules that will help employees make the transition smoothly and successfully. This is not only about operating models, but also the people that we have who will give us a competitive advantage and work with us on facing the challenges of the VUCA world.

Change management should be viewed as a journey and not a process. Proper planning and communication is key, but emotional intelligence must play its role. We must provide clarity and support for our people as they are the ones who will make a difference in the future.

 

Sherif Elogeiry

By Sherif Elogeiry

Sherif is HR director at Imperial Tobacco ME, having previously held roles at organisations like Nakheel and Agthia.

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