The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

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In HRIT we spend so much time implementing and rolling out systems that we implicitly know that change management is an important part of any implementation.  Vendors usually provide training, and communications are a well known part of any roll-out process.  The question is whether these are enough.  The answer is an absolute “no.”  We’ve all experienced roll-outs of terrific products that we’ve poured our hearts and souls into implementing, only to have managers and employees complain or simply ignore them.  Training and communications is not enough.  Empowering your employees and managers to act on their own does not actually mean they have anything other than tools.  I’ve talked a lot over the last couple of years around change management: the difference between what most people treat as change and real behavioral change.

Most people think training and some light communications is all that’s needed.  After you put in some really cool portals or analytics, you write a few e-mails, send out some flashy communications, send everyone to training, and think your job is done.  This is empowerment.  Your managers and employees are now empowered to act on their own accord within the parameters you have set out for them.  Real behavioral change is getting them to really want to act on their own accord, having them have some true understanding of the tools and value behind them, and getting them to approach their work differently due to the new tools they have available.  This is enablement.

When it comes down to it, we can train our employees all we want.  There’s a critical factor of adoption however, and all the training and communications only get you so far.  You have to truly understand the value proposition for each employee population you’re targeting to increase the adoption for them.  It’s not about giving employees and managers the tools to do their jobs, it’s about making them feel like these new tools are indispensable.

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2 responses to “Enabling versus Empowering”

  1. Five Wednesday Wonders Danny Sullivan’s Key Ideas in SEO These LinkedIn Questions and Answers feeds are better than LinkedIn’s version Enabling versus Empowering BW on the Future of Work The Carnival of Human Resources: August 22, 2007

  2. Rob Robson Avatar

    Hmmm. I see what you are saying about real behaviour change, but I don’t know that “empowerment” and “enablement” are really different things.

    I do, however, agree that you need to understand your population. When you really understand what the change means to them that empowers/enables you!