The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

5 Ways to Drive Organizational Change

Time for ChangeAre the policies and practices at your organization in dire need of updates to make them more relevant, applicable and inclusive for your current workforce? If you answered “yes,” it may be time to start a revolution in your workplace.

In the CUPA-HR Annual Conference session entitled, “What Kind of Revolution Shall We Start Today? Lessons From Political Scientists Who Do HR,” attendees sat at attention listening to and discussing with colleagues exactly what is needed to enact radical, positive and necessary change in our institutions. The consensus was that “business as usual” just isn’t good enough anymore. From ensuring that we are following our own policies to becoming the more inclusive organizations we claim to be, this session was full of practical tips on how to hold our leaders and our HR departments accountable for moving our institutions in the right direction.

While it was acknowledged that most revolutions end badly, the desire for something better fuels the need to try something – anything – to ensure that there is equality, fairness and a restoration of “order” to institutions that may have lost their way. According to the presenters, Helena Rodrigues and Allison Vaillancourt from the University of Arizona, any successful revolution – like any strategic action – requires a checklist. This list includes:

  1. Building a coalition
  2. Creating dissatisfaction or a sense of outrage for broken processes
  3. Spreading the word
  4. Rallying the tribe – making it cool to be involved
  5. Making it impossible not to act

Just like the diverse workforce we are striving to create, the assembled coalition to help carry out a positive revolution must include activists, intellectuals, insiders, artists, supportive elites and the masses. By assembling and working with the right mix of personalities, passions for change and talented individuals, those that are willing to put in the work to manage organizational change will constructively and effectively make the workplace better for current and potential faculty and staff and our communities.