What is the role of HR in culture change?

red_icon
AUTHOR
Carolyn Taylor

Recently I spoke to a large group of HR people, and the question came up again, "What is the role of HR in culture change?" This is the most common question I get asked by HR people.

What is the role of HR in culture change?

My answer - and I don't remember ever thinking it this clearly before - is that HR can be the organisation's conscience. Holding the line on the values, when behaviour is showing up which is out of line with what everyone agreed to, when the line leader is struggling with a decision loaded with values-dilemmas, when decisions are being made which are very short term in nature. To be the one who takes that stand takes courage, and I do see this mantle most naturally sitting with the HR team.

The best HR people I have seen in operation have developed a role with their line leader where the leader turns to them to provide this voice, because sufficient trust has been built that they know that HR's view will be courageous and aligned with those values aspirations. The advice will not always be taken - that's not the point of asking for advice, right? - but it will be heard and respected.

There are many practical tasks HR can do to contribute to culture, but this is the one which I believe adds the most value. The challenge is to do it in a way that is strong, but not self-righteous.

Have you tried doing this? How did it work? Love to hear your views.

 

Read our Client Case Studies

 

Subscribe for blog updates

Podcast: Performance Acceleration series

Accountability goes up when the right conversations occur. In the first episode of the Walking Your Talk podcast's Performance

Video: Carolyn Taylor & Liz Stanley discuss Accountability

We are delighted to announce that Carolyn Taylor's new book, Accountability@work: How to Make and Keep Promises and Have Others Do the

Podcast: Trust & Accountability

Walking the Talk's Founder Carolyn Taylor was this week's guest on The Recruiting Future Podcast discussing trust and accountability.