HR Responsibilities During Change

Employee retention and engagement is critical for companies in the biotechnology sector undergoing change. The key challenges for employers include:

  • how to engage the talent at hand;
  • how to retain the talent; and
  • how to effectively acculturate new employees

Commitment to the organization is reflected in the positive way employees speak about an organization to others, their level of loyalty to the organization and their commitment to the success of the organization. During a period of change, employee commitment to the organization may change. All employees need to be engaged in their job in order to feel satisfied. If they do not feel appreciated or if there is no job satisfaction, then they will not take on the company’s culture and will likely begin to look elsewhere for employment.

Acculturation is the process of absorbing the culture you live in. The concept of acculturation can be applied to organizations when employees take on the business culture of their new employers. HR needs to be involved with acculturation efforts, communication, and succession-growth strategies. This is often best done through a coordinated training program.


In any organization and wherever there are relationships between people, communication is important. Careful communication can be used to promote positive opportunities, but neglecting to communicate can allow destructive negative forces to gain control. Communication from all levels within a company fosters greater employee satisfaction and helps to retain employees. Communication management by company executives and HR departments is especially important during times of change.

Starting with the most formal methods of communication:

  • Ensure that policy statements are written using simple terminology and are available for everyone to access
  • Use regular forms of company or group-wide communication called media (email, newsletters, posters, memos, and web sites, etc.) crafted for a general understanding at Grade 10 or 12 levels. Today’s best practices for writing include simplicity and accessibility
  • Ensure that all written, verbal and other forms of communication are carefully worded to convey exactly what is intended, and that it doesn’t send a different message by mistake
  • Ensure regular communication from management. Employees do not want to feel that they are being kept in the dark
  • Foster an environment of open communication where all employees know that they will be heard


Engagement and retention of employees requires providing incentives, especially in competitive employment climates and in change environments. Include incentives in work flow and review processes. Offer incentives for engagement in work and after-work activities. Include fair participation in incentive and bonus programs and be certain to communicate the parameters. Offer fair competition. Advertise and communicate opportunities in a way that all employees can understand and participate if they choose.

Be certain to market and communicate the organization’s benefits program to all employees in a way that they will understand. Benefits vary considerably between companies, especially smaller organizations. Offering good benefits to employees, and opportunities for professional development, provides incentives to join and to stay with an organization.

Succession and Growth Strategies

Change of staff is inevitable. Before times of transition, HR needs to plan for succession and strategize for organizational growth. So as not to change organizational culture too quickly and upset the balance of your business, plan the number of new staff you may need, including IEPs. Set goals and strategies for organizational growth. Use incentives or bonuses for employees to recommend other professionals, and thereby expand your marketplace globally.

Be certain to list past mistakes in succession and growth planning. Evaluate your experiences so that you can learn from your mistakes.

Newsletter Issue:
HR Microscope February 2015