Innovation Management Wisdom

Bank Leaders Address Change Management Challenges of Innovation

October 7th, 2008

The human resources division of a large regional bank was experiencing classic change management fallout: low morale and high turnover among HR relationship managers.  The job descriptions of these managers had recently changed.HR relationship managers coordinated other HR functions such as, recruiting, compensation, benefits and training.  

An employee engagement survey showed that HR relationship managers rated their job satisfaction far lower than other managers.  Relationship managers rated their bosses’ leadership and communication lowest. HR leaders wanted to know what they could do to improve the situation.

Whyze Group conducted a series of focus groups with HR relationship managers.  We learned that HR leaders recently announced changes in the role of HR relationship managers.  These managers would become the sole points of client contact for other HR functions including compensation, recruiting, benefits and training. 

In reality, each HR leader wanted to own internal client relationships. They were undermining the changes. Relationship managers were caught in turf wars between HR leaders. Moreover, relationship managers were working harder with less to show for their efforts.

Facing longer workdays and greater frustration, more HR relationship managers resigned and others began looking for jobs elsewhere. Had HR leaders addressed these change management issues and aligned on who would own client relationships, these problems could have been minimized. 

Changing to a single point of contact within the HR function probably sounded like a good idea to some people. But, as we’ve written before, there isn’t a shortage of good ideas at most companies.  There is more often a lack of alignment about which ideas to implement. Innovating successfully requires getting coworkers energized and aligned on implementing the best ideas.

Whyze Group’s recommendations focused on getting HR leaders to resolve who would own client relationships and how all HR functions would work together.  An aligned HR leadership team would engage their staff and internal clients far more productively.

Entry Filed under: Qualitative Research Case Studies


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