JF Hillebrand Group's change management approach

While change is difficult, it is HR's role to translate the business strategy into employee actions, shares JF Hillebrand Group's Norbert Modla.

Management and HR expert Peter Drucker once famously said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

This golden nugget is also something that logistics company JF Hillebrand Group’s Global Head of HR and Communications Norbert Modla swears by.

“That sentence says it all. Just because we make a decision about what we want to do, taking an organisation there is (however) incredibly complex,” says Modla.

“Our habits, especially if an organisation has been extremely successful before, are incredibly difficult to change.”

As a result, change often creates a lot of pain and discomfort for people, and management often overlooks how difficult it is for an organisation to get out of its existing routines and processes, Modla adds.

It is then up to HR to ease the transformation process, while still guided by the interests of the business.

“HR’s role is to translate the business strategy into employee actions. It is about how we can change employee actions into something new,” says Modla, adding that this requires a lot of interaction and engagement with employees, senior management, data and analytics.

He admits that creating such a change-ready culture has not been easy at his organisation as well, but has had some success with a leadership-focused initiative.

“For us, the role that HR plays is very much focused on business leaders and helping them to transition into a new way of running their business through a programme called ‘I Lead,’” Modla shares.