What Exactly Does an HR Manager Do?

It remains true that many entry-level Human Resources Management positions require a bachelor’s degree or less to get your foot in the door. A 2014 study by Gartner’s Software Advice analyzed several hundred HR job listings for people wanting a career change to human resources management. It found that one-third of them strongly preferred candidates with an advanced degree.

That truth starts to answer the primary consideration potential students mull over before enrolling in a Master of Human Resources Management program: what can it do for my career?

The most successful HR professionals of the 21st century are more than just payroll and benefits coordinators. They know how to get a job in human resources. Technology is continually changing all industries, and a new generation of workers has ushered in a different set of standards that truly tests the human side of HR.

A master’s degree in Human Resources Management from a well-regarded, accredited university puts graduates in position to stand out from the rest. Best of all, such a program can be completed online, if desired, and will not interfere with your current position.

What does an HR Manager do?

  • Coordinate all administration- based functions of a company
  • Administer benefits of the company to its employees
  • Recruit and retain employees
  • Consult with company executives on strategic  planning
  • Serve as a link between organizational managers and the company

How to Get Into Human Resources Management

HR has come a long way since the National Cash Register Company established the first known human resources department in U.S. history in 1901. A major employee strike had almost doomed the company the year prior.

History tells us that management responded to that strike positively by creating a department to handle grievances, safety and other concerns. This model was adopted by other companies of the time and is still the norm more than a century later.

The global marketplace, automated recruiting, talent management systems and outsourced payroll have encouraged – almost forced – the HR profession to evolve. Most HR professionals in the 21st century have embraced additional duties as asked; yet, each company seems to offer something slightly different from all others.

One way to expand on your skills in this area is to highlight the fun side of HR. That can include coordinating company parties, theme days and charity events, and drives; a nice break from keeping up on legal updates and handling tough personnel issues.

Stepping up as an employee advocate is now one of the more essential roles of HR, partly due to changing demographics. Millennials surpassed Generation X in 2015 to comprise the largest share of the American workforce, according to the Pew Research Center.

Human Resources and the Millennial Challenge

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median tenure of all American workers at one particular job is about 4.6 years. Millennials (those age 18-34) had a median tenure of 2.1 years. Whether it’s a perceived lack of loyalty to a single workplace, an active desire to move around, a “higher expectations” mentality, or another not-quite-accurate label used by analysts, millennials present new challenges for HR.

There are five essential qualities HR leaders must embrace:

  1. Human Resources Knowledge and a commitment to ongoing HR learning
  2. Communication Skills
  3. Critical thinking skills
  4. Ethical Approach to Human Resources
  5. Organizational Skills

The most important quality is to never stop learning. This quality is especially vital when it comes to hiring and retaining millennials. The knowledge you’ll gain from your MS in Human Resources Management studies provides a foundation that not only encourages continued learning, but also teaches methods to stay up-to-date on the latest news.

For instance, studies show that millennials are more entrepreneurial and open to change than Generation X. At the same time, millennials are less likely to be team players. It’s up to HR to provide top talent the tools and accommodations necessary to retain them as employees.

Many students in a MS in Human Resources Management program use the Capstone course to share their experiences with fellow students and learn real-life methods for properly handling issues that arise with a younger workforce. A happy secondary benefit of this type of course is that professional circles also grow, providing career connections who will continue sharing experiences and solutions for years

Human Resource Leaders Plan Company Strategy

The ability to think strategically and act accordingly is an essential characteristic of HR leaders. As touched on earlier, many aspects of human resources have been automated or outsourced, particularly when it comes to talent acquisition and payroll. This enables HR professionals to contribute to their organization’s success in new ways.

Marketing, sales and development managers present CEOs and CFOs with ideas to increase revenues, convert leads, or some other goal. Once approved it’s the responsibility of HR to partner with any involved department in fulfilling the plan — that is, if your company embraces this forward-looking arrangement.

An analysis by Harvard Business School found that only one-third of HR departments craft HR strategic plans in line with the company’s overall strategy. This unusual phenomenon presents an opportunity for HR managers who have obtained the proper training to execute better.

The MS in Human Resources Management program not only has courses covering strategic planning, but also risk management and labor relations. Granted, unions are becoming more of a rarity every year. One-third of American workers were part of unions in the mid-1960s. Today that number is barely 10%, according to researchers.

Having knowledge of collective bargaining and contract negotiations opens doors to new positions at larger companies that employ unionized workers. One way or another, looking after employees remains a central part of the human resources role.

Reward-Based and Technological Solutions

IT departments typically handle a company’s networks and hardware issues. But, there are times when the company is underperforming or simply failing in areas that can be vastly improved by implementing a new software or other tech solution.

This brings us to another important essential characteristic of effective human resource leaders: minding your metrics. The responsibility falls on HR to determine if the cost is worth the potential return.

A 2013 study by the Standish Group found that less than 33% of company projects were completed on-time and within the stated budget. Further, 44% of personnel tasked to lead new projects failed to use any sort of commercially available project management software, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Doing the job right means HR must provide detailed analysis supporting adoption of any project management system for certain departments. Whether its wasted worker-hours or poor communication between collaborators that causes projects to fail, human resources research must convince company executives to get onboard and embrace operational additions such as this.

Of course, there will be some employees who resist change, particularly if the modus operandi was completely different previously. Part of your solution will be a meaningful rewards system that encourages workers to use the new set-up.

Year-end bonus structures and pay raises can be tied directly to completion of projects within a given time and budget. HR’s job is to positively correlate rewards and usage of the new system to motivate employees. These balancing skills are obtained and nurtured through your studies in a Human Resources Management master’s program.

HR Reinforces Company Personality

Shoe retailer Zappos is a well-regarded company, with personality that starts at the top. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is often quoted as a person who enjoys highlighting customer service, along with making his employees feel great about what they do.

As is the goal of many companies in this age of social media, Zappos has many customers who are not shy about telling others of their experience. Such internet evangelism for products is actively encouraged by Zappos, which itself has a robust and active social media presence across many platforms.

The company has a unique new employee training program; at the end of the first week everyone is offered $2,000 to quit. The goal is to keep people who want to be there. Meanwhile, Allstate Insurance’s personality is conveyed to the public through the deep, articulate voice, and professional demeanor of Dennis Haysbert.

These companies have two very distinct personalities and it shows in their advertising – or in the case of Zappos, their lack of it. HR plays a crucial role in determining and reinforcing a company’s personality and values, and finding employees that fit a company culture, whether staid or silly.

Pre-hire personality assessments were used by 57% of U.S. companies in 2013, up from 26% in 2001, according to the Wall Street Journal. These tests have proven effective in hiring the right people for a company’s culture and personality. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Brand Management identified three dimensions of a corporate personality: heart, mind, and body. Each of those are defined by two key attributes: passionate and compassionate; creative and disciplined; and agile and collaborative, respectively.

Nobody has a better pulse on the entire company than HR since they come in contact with every employee and department at some point. They also have a seat at the table along with top-level executives when discussing company direction and initiatives.

Once a company develops a cohesive and positive personality, an HR leader encourages everyone to embrace it. Whether its placing a ping-pong table in the break room or holding food drives for the homeless, (most likely both) these activities reflect who the company is and how it wants to be perceived.

HR Has to Walk the Walk and Welcome Feedback

The value in human resources comes from the willingness to listen to all employees. HR is the neutral conflict manager between employees at all levels. They also play a major role in the day-to-day activities of every employee. An open-door policy is important, as is confidentiality.

Employees should have a means to communicate issues (harassment, discrimination, etc.) without it becoming an office distraction. They should also be able to make suggestions for company operations without repercussions. Of course, there is a fine line HR professionals must walk when dealing with certain issues.

An employee may want to lodge a complaint against a co-worker, but request confidentiality in the conversation. But, you have the responsibility to address potential workplace issues before they morph into something detrimental to the company.

Providing employees several ways to communicate compliments, complaints, and suggestions that encourage and reinforce transparency. Some HR managers use hotlines. Others stick to traditional email and walk-in visits. Regardless of the method, make certain employees feel comfortable coming to HR employees for all work-related matters – and have an easy way of doing so.

Master in Human Resources Management Benefits

The value of any master’s degree is partly determined by where it comes from. U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Scranton in the top 10 for master’s universities in the very competitive North region of the country. The University of Scranton is also regionally accredited and is one of only 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. As an added bonus, the university’s MS in HR Management is fully outlined by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) curriculum guidelines and templates.

The responsibilities and requirements of HR leaders continually evolve. The HR Certification Institute offers five distinct certifications: Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), Human Resource Management Professional (HRMP), the Human Resource Business Professional (HRBP) and the Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR). Two alternative certifications are offered by the Society for Human Resource: SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP. Some certifications do require graduate work, making them great complements to your master’s degree in HR.

Professor Patrick Wright of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, told Workforce in 2011 that a master’s degree always wins out over an SPHR particularly with large companies when all else is equal between two candidates.

Katie Bardaro, vice president of Data Analytics at Payscale, told Forbes in 2012 that a master’s degree provides increased knowledge in ever-evolving fields like HR and sets candidates apart from other applicants.

What’s Best for Getting Hired?

The curriculum for The University of Scranton’s MHR program covers all the basics (OSHA regulations, labor relations, etc.) and all of the policy-making and accountability aspects that come with an SPHR.

Your master’s studies take things a step further to address 21st century workplace issues as laws and regulations change. For example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in the 2012 case of Macy v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Right Act prohibits workplace discrimination against transgendered persons.

Another tough issue is handling the intricacies of concealed carry laws. About 40 states have such laws but they are not all the same. “Can I come to work armed?” is a question you could encounter.

The answer is initially yes, though in some states businesses have different allowed restrictions to ban them. But human resources, with the help of the legal department, needs to know how to write the correct policies.

Each state’s law and restrictions are different in the area of concealed carry. If a company does business in several states, this policy has to be carefully researched across the board.

These subjects, and others will arise during your Human Resources Management studies and employment; something you cannot expect from a certification.

A bachelor’s degree might get your foot in the door for smaller companies. But, large corporations that pay higher salaries expect you to bring both experience and credentials to the table. The decision ultimately lies with you as to career and earnings goals.

The national average salary for human resources personnel is $66,032, according to Glassdoor. Earnings positively correlate with educational level, with MS recipients earning the most. HR professionals at Ford Motor Company and The Clorox Company reported annual salaries $125,000 and up.

Click here for more information on Human Resources programs offered at The University of Scranton.



  1. http://www.fastcompany.com/3045829/the-new-rules-of-work/welcome-to-the-new-era-of-human-resources
  2. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/11/millennials-surpass-gen-xers-as-the-largest-generation-in-u-s-labor-force/
  3. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/tenure.nr0.htm
  4. http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-employers-wrangle-restless-millennials-1430818203
  5. http://www.elance-odesk.com/millennial-majority-workforce


Scranton Comes Alive for Two Online Graduate Students

It was commencement weekend and Mitch Clark G’17 and Kelsey Morgan G’17 were set to graduate with degrees from The University of Scranton, but they hadn’t spent years walking up the Commons as so many do. In fact, they had just met. The online graduate students had both just arrived on campus for the very first time.

Morgan had just an hour-and-a-half trip from New Jersey, but it might as well have been a journey to an alternate universe.

“When we pulled off the highway, it was like, ‘Whoa!’” she said. “This place is really captivating. This is an experience away from busy city life, kind of an escape.”

A Catholic with a distinct interest in Jesuit stewardship, Clark said Scranton had “just felt right” for him as a student, but getting to walk around now and “read all the St. Ignatius quotes” really brought his online experience home.

Just about five years ago, Clark, 29, of Lincoln Nebraska, and Morgan, 28, of Fredon, New Jersey, walked the traditional grounds of their undergraduate universities, enjoying a traditional experience, sitting in classrooms and interacting in person with peers and faculty.

Morgan, who attended Lafayette College in Easton, lived first in a residence hall, then a sorority house, then an apartment, and enjoyed every perk of presence. Clark, who attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), also started out in a dormitory before moving into an apartment and taking advantage of college life.


Photo caption: Kelsey Morgan with her family on graduation day.

Count on a Great Accounting Resume!

Professional Accounting Resume Tips

Your resume has to stand out in a pile of papers. Once it is noticed, it also has to demonstrate you know the accounting industry.

An effective resume delivers the information employers need up front and then provides something memorable or different.

A professional accounting resume is no different, with your skills presented front and center. Using accounting lingo naturally throughout also shows you’re familiar and comfortable with the everyday language you will need. 

The basic role of a resume is to demonstrate to an employer that you can handle required tasks using acquired skills supported by proper educational qualifications. What people often forget to do is shape their resume to the job description presented to them.

Career Objective Related to the Accounting Position

As an accounting job candidate, you should talk about the company in your objective, making it as specific as possible and linking back to your skills. Use short-term goals first, rather than long-term, generic goals. “To be employed at a company I respect at a job I love” doesn’t cut it anymore, if it ever did.

Keep this objective short, just one or two sentences.

What Accounting Companies Look for in a Hire

Those who hire for accountancy positions do not want generic resumes that could be sent to any employer out there. Start with that idea as you build your resume.

Employers want to know your skills, clear examples of work ethic and effort and, finally, some hint of your personality. A professional resume for an accountant provides this in clear sections with bulleted lists, not a narrative. Your story comes in your cover letter, which should be equally focused without rambling.

List Accounting Skills, Competencies, and Credentials

A resume needs to persuade with facts, not speculation. If you don’t have the skills the company is requesting, you probably shouldn’t be applying. To make your resume stand out, add a quick narrative sentence at the top of this section, saying, “As well as possessing the skills you have noted as requirements, other skills make me a more compelling prospect.”

Then list your applicable degrees, certifications, and other education. People often separate these, into education and skills, but there’s really no need – they all speak directly to your ability to do the job.

A master’s degree gets noticed quickly in a professional accountant resume, especially if you’ve been able to complete it in a shorter amount of time than is usual. Being a CPA or noting you’re currently pursuing a CPA or other similar, major qualification is important, too. It shows you know what is expected and that you are developing professionally even while seeking employment.

A truly well-crafted resume will cite examples of how a degree or qualification helped solve a real-life problem at work.

A familiarity with laws and legalities can be hard to get across on a resume but it’s a skill employers do look for and notice. If you’ve taken special courses or classes in these areas, note them. If you haven’t, look to learn this critical information, as well.

Any awards or special distinctions come at the end of the resume. There, those related to accounting come first. Then follow those only with those relevant to the position to which you are applying.

Essential Accounting Software Skills

Finding out ahead of time the software a company uses is a good step. That way, if you’re familiar with you can put it at the top. If you’re not, you can research it and learn it.

Finding out can be as simple as calling up and saying you’re applying for a job and wanted to know the main software the company uses.

If you have special skills in software programs used in accounting that go beyond the usual QuickBooks or Microsoft Excel, mention that, too. Many accountancy programs apply to specific industries, such as banking, warehouse management, or healthcare. Broadening your technical expertise to include some of these industry-specific packages is extremely useful.

Familiarity with Quickbooks, Sage50, Xero, Turbo Tax, or even something basic such as the Wave Accounting app for small business, goes a long way to increasing your attractiveness to a broad range of employers, as well.

Accountancy Employment History

Be as detailed as possible by bullet pointing responsibilities and accomplishments achieved in various job positions. When information is specific such as “managed databases for multiple company offices” or “reduced credit repayment to under 90 days for 80% of clients”, it demonstrates the changes you are likely to bring to the new job.

The most common way to present this past information is chronological, but it’s not necessary. Add only those positions where you did work relevant to the current position. Write a sentence at the top, telling your prospective employer that you’re doing this, so they don’t have to speculate why they see strange gaps in your employment.

This way of presenting your employment history is something different and therefore memorable, without being in any way confusing.

Final Impression

In your closing paragraph, explain why this role is important to you and what you do to keep your interest level high and your knowledge growing. Character traits you want to get across are that you’re organized, manage your time well, welcome change, and communicate effectively.

Broadcast Your Accounting Career Resume

Finally, with this great resume in hand, it needs to be seen.

The big firms are a great place to start, but don’t forget to post your resume on city or regional job boards. Finance and accounting organizations also post job listings, such as this one at the American Institute of CPAs. They also allow you to build career profiles, asking the questions they know employers want to know. Because accounting recruiters know the jobs and can organize them well, these type of sites are great places to have your resume seen.

Interviewing can be an intimidating task. Having a strong resume behind you will not only impress your prospective employer but, will give you confidence throughout your interview. If you have never built a resume before, use the above as an outline or give your existing one a refresh.

To learn more about the Master of Accountancy program at The University of Scranton, click here.

Want to Make a Difference with your Career?

Start a Career as a Hospital Administrator

The future is bright for those who want careers in hospital administration. Due to increasing demand for hospitals, clinics and treatment centers to provide quality care for a larger number of people, hospital administration jobs are growing in quantity. The industry is currently competitive, with hospitals working to earn and keep the qualified candidates they hire. Salaries are booming, with plenty of promotion potential through a career as a medical administrator. Health care management requires a great deal of skill and education from applicants; qualifications typically acquired during an Master’s of Health Administration program. Graduates can expect a challenging career that makes a genuine enhancement in the quality of people’s lives.

High Demand

The field of hospital administration is due to expand fairly significantly in the next several years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) gives two reasons for this increase. First, people of the Baby Boomer generation are now in their 50s and 60s. As they get older, their health care needs will grow. Second, the BLS observes that hospitals need trained health care administrators to streamline processes and manage daily functions so that medical staff can meet the higher demand for preventive care and treatment. Since many aging people expect to live longer, healthier lives at home, their need for facilities that provide care outside of a nursing home will also increase.

Salary Expectations

As demand for health care administrators increases, so does the competition for qualified managers.  The BLS maintains data on average salaries in the field. As medical and health services management changes to meet upcoming needs for quality improvement in processes, salary grows. In 2012, the median hospital administrator salary was $88,580 per year. By 2014, that number had increased to a median hospital administration salary of $92,810 per year. While these numbers represent a median of all health care managers in various clinics, treatment centers and hospitals, the pay between facility types can be quite disparate.

Someone working as a medical administrator in a nursing home brings home a mean salary of $85,730 per year, while someone in management at a specialty hospital can expect an average $116,640 per year for a hospital administrator salary. In short, this is a field with a great deal of salary potential and growth opportunities.

Assessing the Field

People are sometimes surprised by the sheer size of the hospital economy in the United States. In its annual survey, the American Hospital Association records a total of 5,686 hospitals in the U.S, of which about half are not-for-profit community hospitals. While these numbers might not be particularly impressive, data on the accessibility and use of these hospitals shows the increasing need for hospital administrator jobs. In all these hospitals, there are 914,513 staffed beds. Each year, people are admitted to U.S. hospitals over 35 million times. The expenses for all U.S. hospitals total about $859 billion, which explains the pressure on hospital administration to make processes more efficient and eliminate unnecessary waste.

Educational Requirements and Skills

To land a job in health services as a medical administrator, applicants are encouraged to pursue a Master’s of Health Administration degree. In their studies, prospective health care administrators are expected to cover a variety of subjects, including accounting, human resources, ethics, law, and health administration. This broad spectrum helps to describe the kind of skills and knowledge that hospital administrator jobs require.

In particular, applicants must be current on all topics and trends in health care administration, adept in their use of technology, detail-oriented, engaged in problem solving, and comfortable in a leadership role. Some hospitals give preference to prospective administrators who also hold a nursing degree or medical degree, but this additional education is not typically compulsory. With a combination of training and experience, people who work in hospital administration can enhance the way hospitals are run.


Based on the skills described, the hospital administrator job description can be quite broad, depending on the size and needs of the particular institution. However, most people who take a job as a health care administrator need not worry that they will be expected to do everything related to hospital administration on a daily basis. Rather, it means that those who want hospital administrator jobs have a wide assortment of potential departments and positions to choose from, including:

  • accounting
  • finance
  • insurance
  • medical records administrator
  • health information technology

Depending on the demands of the job and the 24-hour nature of hospital work, people may be expected to work nights, weekends, or irregular shifts. Employees in the industry with a great deal of talent and experience along with a good work ethic may eventually be promoted as a health administration executive.

Certifications Available

While professional certifications are not necessarily required in a hospital administrator job description, there are a few certifications available in the hospital administration industry. Anyone who wishes to become a medical administrator in a nursing care facility must maintain a license in accordance with their state.

In addition, the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management offers two certifications, the Certified Medical Manager and the Health Information Technology Certified Manager. The first certifies a person to act as a health care administrator in a sole provider clinic, while the second notes that the certification holder has demonstrated expertise in a variety of health care technology systems, a vital skill for the industry.

The American College of Health Care Administrators provides two certifications for management of nursing care facilities, including Certified Nursing Home Administrator and Certified Assisted Living Administrator. These certifications can be used toward state licensing requirements.

Optional Fields

Many professionals in health administration careers ultimately choose to work in a hospital, but not all. Since there are several different types of facilities and industries who make products or provide health care services and treatment to individuals, all kinds of businesses and institutions need qualified health care administrators. There are also medical administrator jobs in the following fields:

  • pharmaceutical manufacturing
  • nursing home management
  • private clinic management
  • home health care management
  • consulting

The appeal for varied institutions that can provide care to all different kinds of patients with a range of needs means that specialized facilities will continue to grow. At the rate the industry is booming, people can search for the job that really speaks to them, in an area that more accurately suits their career goals and expectations.

Improving Quality of Care

The major increase in demand for hospital administration jobs comes largely from reforms to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This government institution created a new set of standards in 2005 as a means to ensure that hospitals were maintaining high standards for patient care and case management. The federal government cannot dictate how privately-owned hospitals are run, but CMS can deny reimbursement for treatment for Medicare and Medicaid patients for hospitals and clinics that do not meet CMS quality standards. CMS requires that relevant health care facilities provide evidence that they meet specific benchmarks for medical records management, patient data acquisition, and long-term health care outcomes.

Power to Change Lives

Changing standards for hospital efficiency and patient outcomes means that hospital administrators have more power than ever to change lives.

The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) notes that the industry is likely to change and grow over the years. Despite mergers and acquisition of institutions and facilities within the field of health care, the need for effective hospital management remains strong. In a recent study by ACHE, health care executives observed that management needs and opportunities at freestanding hospitals are steadily increasing in number and importance. This change demonstrates the awesome power medical administrators have to influence people’s lives, because the day-to-day business of the clinic, treatment center, or hospital improves people’s health and their ability to function in their normal lives.

Job Satisfaction

Ultimately, satisfaction in hospital administration jobs is dependent on the person who holds the position. However, the evidence shows that a medical administrator can select from all different kinds of jobs at a growing variety of institutions. They command a salary and industry growth rate much higher than the national average. As a result, people in these positions retain more power over their career paths for the duration, whether they wish to be promoted into a position as a health care executive or have ambitions to make more lateral moves into other relevant industries.

Those who wish to hold a job in business management can choose almost any industry they like. However, as the health care field of hospital administration continues to advance, the number of hospital administration jobs also grows. Hospitals need college graduates with the skills to change processes and improve efficacy and quality of care. To do this, students need a Master’s of Health Administration, experience in the industry, and the desire to make an impact on health care. This education and experience prepares graduates for one of the many jobs available in health care administration. Whether applicants choose to become a medical records administrator or they have their sights set on a health care executive position, they know that they are helping people to live better lives.


To learn more about the Master’s of Health Administration program at The University of Scranton, click here.

How to Improve Your Organization

If there is one thing that has characterized the business landscape in the new millennium, it’s change. Disruptive new technologies such as 3-D printing, big data analytics and production line robotics are creating successful new businesses almost overnight, while some traditional business models have become obsolete. Many American companies are struggling to adapt.1

“Organizational change” is the new boardroom buzzword. Retailers are using online sales platforms. Factory owners are bringing in robotics. Suppliers are employing new software-driven inventory techniques. Companies must either adopt the new technologies or succumb to the competition.

Business executives are asking themselves how to make changes in the back office or production floor without alienating their staff.

Change by decree?

Many businesses seeking to adapt get off to an unsteady start because they initiate a change-by-decree strategy. There is a right and wrong way to reset a company’s culture, and authoritarian decrees such as, “Do it because I said so,” are rarely effective.

When leaders announce plans for new initiatives with little or no prior groundwork the effort fail before it begins.

“Forgetting that others in the organization haven’t been a part of the discussions and are not as familiar with all of the reasons for the change, leaders are surprised by the amount of resistance the new change generates,” say management consultants Ken and Scott Blanchard.2

The best way to proceed is from the top down, with company leaders showing themselves as prime exemplars of a new approach. From the start, senior leaders should embody the organization’s new approach, showing employees that real change is underway because it’s already happening at the top.

An appropriate way to motivate change in employees is to provide them with authentic communication about how the organization is proceeding and how it will benefit them. “In the absence of clear, factual communication, people tend to create their own information about the change, and rumors become facts,” the Blanchards say. Decision makers who simultaneously embody and demonstrate the benefits of change within the organization are less likely to face opposition and create a readiness for change before it is implemented.

The Importance of Involving Employees

Executives should plan their change initiatives like generals who prepare for a battle. Anticipate the obvious contingencies ─ the many questions about operations that staff members will have, for example ─ and be prepared to coach people through the process.

But don’t confuse endless PowerPoint presentations with actual communication, as one expert puts it. While meetings and processes can be helpful, they can’t replace meaningful face-to-face communication.

And don’t expect it to be easy. “Change is uncomfortable, and adapting to change is messy,” Fenson notes.


Click here for more information on Human Resources programs offered at The University of Scranton.



1 http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/digital-america-a-tale-of-the-haves-and-have-mores
2 http://www.fastcompany.com/3015083/leadership-now/6-steps-for-successfully-bringing-change-to-your-company
3 http://www.strategy-business.com/article/00255?gko=9d35b
4 http://www.inc.com/articles/2000/06/19312.html
5 https://www.boundless.com/management/textbooks/boundless-management-textbook/organizational-culture-and-innovation-4/managing-change-for-employees-40/strategies-for-successful-organizational-change-215-7289/