What are the highest priorities for HR leaders in 2019? Consistent with Gartner* one among them is to support the companies’ digital transformation; and linked to the present, to create internal change management capability.

During the last 20 years, I even have been an independent business change manager performing on technology-driven transformation projects. Most of my clients had no internal change management function, despite being international blue-chip organizations. I'm often asked, “Where does Change Management best sit within the organization?” During a typical project, the change management workstream reports into the business project lead or sponsor. This is often because the IT department could also be delivering the tools to enable transformation, but it's the business that's expected to adopt new ways of working and achieve the transform results.

But today, faced with an ever-changing technological landscape, many companies are looking to develop their in-house change management capability by building a Change Management Office (CMO). But where does the CMO best reside within the general organization structure?

"Wherever you opt to put your CMO, the HR Business Partner has a crucial role to play"

Richard Newton, Partner at Issoria Change, an expert of Change Management Office consultancy states that there are a variety of things influencing the organizational “home” of the CMO. The foremost important factors relate to the extent of active executive support and sponsorship and with this active support, CMOs are often highly successful in almost any organizational location. “Nevertheless, our research shows a robust correlation between the reporting lines of a CMO and its maturity. This relates to sponsorship, also as closeness to the key people shaping the change agenda and to those driving individual change initiatives. For these reasons, we tend to ascertain the foremost successful CMOs are based in teams like Strategy and Transformation, which not only shape the change agenda but also tend to make a drive for more mature change management within the organization.”

Role of HR Business Partners

Wherever you opt to put your CMO, the HR Business Partner has a crucial role to play. This role is above and beyond obvious areas of hiring, firing, outsourcing, and organizational design. There’s a true opportunity for the HR BPs to become custodians of change for his or her area of responsibility. To try to do this, they have a solid understanding of the top to finish processes at the core of their business’ success. Understanding, for instance:

• How an airline launches a replacement route

• How a telecom company builds a replacement base station

• How a drug company brings a replacement drug to plug 

In addition to the present they have to be prepared to require a deep dive into the business processes for the function they support; be it finances, procurement, manufacturing, supply chain, and more. The HR BP is ideally placed to develop this data and may, therefore, add value in major transformation initiatives from the outset.

To become the curator of change, what additional skills are required?


HR BPs acting as change managers must clearly articulate how technology enhances business performance and to try to so during a way that engages business stakeholders. This needs the power to ascertain the planet as others do and speak their language. For example: As an HR BP to the finance organization be prepared to speak in numbers. “The project will reduce month-end close effort from 20 FTE for five days to 10 FTE and three days. This suggests a further 70 days for value-added activities; or a cost-saving of $$.”

For the top of Customer Services, you'll be got to describe how a replacement system can, for example, reduce call handling time, increase opportunities to up sell and improve overall customer satisfaction ratings.

For some functions, it's all about risk mitigation. So Legal, Audit and Internal Controls teams will get to hear how new technology reduces risk and drives compliance.

Project Management

HR BPs acting as change managers must be great project managers. the power to plan activities and resources, identify risks and mitigations, track and report progress is significant to the successful implementation of any transformation project. Those activities that change managers are liable for, like training and communication, are often on the critical path. So, getting before the sport and being prepared to accommodate last-minute changes is crucial.


Organizations with a robust coaching culture are more likely to achieve their change initiatives. HR BPs involved in change management must be ready to coach on multiple levels. They believe key influencers and material experts to support and drive change. These individuals may have coaching in their role of change agents. Business users may receive instructor-led training or eLearning to accumulate new skills. But coaching may be a simpler thanks to driving new behaviors. Even senior management may enjoy coaching on how best to interact with and enthuse the masses.

In the era of cloud-based solutions where new releases are expected every 3-6 months, there has never been a far better time to be a change manager. If constructing in-house change capability is on your agenda this year…. then be a developer! Lead the way confidently and help your business quickly adopt new technology and achieve its transformation goals.