China Gorman - HRevolution

HRevolution Preview: China Gorman

We’re gearing up for HRevolution 2013, and we’re sharing sneak peeks of the content you can expect in Vegas. Big thanks to the team at Reputation Capital Media for helping us create these HRevolution previews. This week, the Reputation Capital team caught up with China Gorman.

China Gorman - HRevolutionIn today’s business environment, change is the only thing that seems to remain constant. For business leaders and human resource professionals, that change can be daunting, with continuous work to introduce and integrate new technologies, programs and policies. So, it’s helpful to learn from innovators who are able to embrace change and use it to keep their companies and employees competitive, engaged, productive and profitable.

Enter China Gorman, business leader and human capital management expert. China is the new CEO of Great Place to Work, a global organization located in 42 countries around the world, and the survey power and analysis behind Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work list. Great Place to Work provides solutions like assessment tools, trainings, advisory services, conferences and workshops to help companies of all sizes become great places to work.

We talked to China about her upcoming session at HRevolution and her perspective on change management. Here are the highlights of our discussion.

As a business leader, what advice can you give companies and HR leaders that are trying to step into new ways of operating?

From the leadership perspective, new ways of operating aren’t the goal. The goal is more effective operating, processes and behaviors. Greater success in the marketplace, greater success on any business KPI (sales impact, profitability, all of the normal sales KPIs) — that’s the point. The world is changing rapidly, and so to be more effective, to be more efficient, to be more successful, on any KPI, we have to look at doing things in new ways and using the new and emerging tools to helps us to do that. As a business leader, I look to HR like I look to finance, marketing, product development and IT: to constantly know what tools are available in their functional area that are going to help us be more successful in the marketplace which is changing rapidly.

What are some tell-tale signs that it’s time for a company to overhaul its HR processes?

If people aren’t getting paid correctly and on-time. If turnover is increasing. If there are no development activities whatsoever going on. If people don’t accept your job offers.

Many HR departments fear change. How have you tackled this fear and used change to your advantage?

Whether you’re changing a process or introducing a new technology, training has to be ubiquitous. It has to be in every language your organization speaks, it has to be in every shift that your organization works, and it has to be available on multiple platforms.

When you’re introducing change, you’re taking productive, intelligent adults and moving them from some level of competence to a level of incompetence and there’s nothing more de-motivating or stressful for a productive working adult than to be made to feel incompetent. So, moving them out of incompetence to competence as fast as possible has to be the focus.

When you’re introducing a new system, most organizations build in training because, of course you want people to be able to use it. Then, when the execution plan and project go long and over budget, which they all do, the first thing that gets cut is training. I would maintain that training is the last thing that should get cut. In fact, if it’s going long and over budget, you need to put more money and more resources into training.

Your session is titled “Is Early Adoption in HR’s DNA?” Can you discuss what attendees can look forward to learning in your session?

This session will be highly interactive — more of a discussion. I will introduce models for us to think about. One is the Rogers diffusion of innovation model, which is the innovator, early adopter, late adopter, laggard model. Most HR people are familiar with the language, but not with the model.

I’ll also talk a little bit about a model which the Gartner researchers and analysis team uses, which is called a hype cycle. We’ll look at the overlay of how people respond to and adopt change and how technology solutions get adopted in the business world. We’ll overlay those and have a discussion about HR’s role as change agent and change support in the adoption of new technology.

As a speaker at HR Revolution, what are you hoping your audience walks away with after your session?

Greater confidence in their ability to lead change.

What motivates you to do the work that you do?

My team motivates me. The work that we do motivates me. The mission of our work motivates me. It is quite literally my dream job. I’ve joined an incredible organization with a truly inspirational mission: to change society by transforming workplaces into great places to work. Who couldn’t love and support a team that is all about that?

Since 2009, HRevolution has been creating unique opportunities for HR professionals, recruiters, consultants, and vendors to come together to discuss and debate the future of HR. HRevolution 2013 is on October 6 in Las Vegas. All past events have sold out, so be sure to register today!

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