Integrating Organization Transition with Organization Design

By Tim Rice and Dennis Dawson

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Have you ever presented a concept to someone and their response was “that sounds good in theory” or “that makes sense on paper but I don’t understand exactly how it will work in practice.”  It is for this reason that People & Performance Solution developed an organization transition process.  This process accompanies People & Performance Solution’s organization design process that works with our comprehensive organization design and transition method. 

In order for everything to work together, the organization transition process needs to take the input from the completed organization design.  The users are then walked through the steps required to implement the design.  In this article we will review how the steps are accomplished to achieve a successful organization transition process and the rationale and tools involved in each step or group of steps.

People & Performance Solution’s organization transition process is comprised of a series of ten steps as described below:

Step 1 - Develop Role Definitions and Job Descriptions

The output of this first step, role definitions and job descriptions, provides the ocumentation foundation for the entire organization’s transition process.  If this step is not completed in it entirety, subsequent steps will not be able to be completed thus resulting in the lost of valuable time and resources.  This step also serves as the bridge between the competed organization design and the organization transition process.  In other words, this step requires a comprehensive analysis of the completed organization design in order to identify a list of roles that require a role definition document.  A role definition document consists of documenting the role name, purpose of the role within the organization, responsibilities, performance measures, location of the role (corporate headquarters or field or both) and how those who will fill this role within the organization will be expected to interact/communicate. 


  • The role definition document typically encompasses a number of jobs so once the role definition is completed it is analyzed to determine the number of jobs that will be required to fulfill the purpose of the role within the organization.  Once this is determined a job description for each job needs to be written using the role description information and the approved job description template as inputs.  An example of this would be a role within a redesigned organization could be Customer Service.  In order to fulfill the purpose of the Customer Service function within the redesigned organization, the customer service role needs to be broken down into several customer service jobs such as Director of Customer Service, Dispute Resolution Manager, Claims Processing Manager, Customer Contact Manager and six levels of Customer Contact, Claims Processing and Dispute Resolution representatives.  Each of these jobs would require a job description.


Step 2 – Develop and or update standard organization transition policies

  • While a group of resources is concentrating on Step 1, another group of resources need to be reviewing established organization transition policies to determine if these policies need to be updated or newly developed in order to clearly provide parameters/standards for human resources practitioners as they oversee and execute the organization transition process.  This is a sensitive and crucial step because the goal of the polices are to outline how people within the organization will be treated as the organization transition process is executed.  It is critical that the developed or revised organization transition policies are comprehensive, communicated and executed in a standard manner to avoid the organization from facing legal implications.


Step 3 – Job Evaluation and Market Pricing

  • This step involves sending the completed job descriptions to the compensation group to have the job evaluated.  During the evaluation, the compensation professionals will review the job description and evaluate the marketplace to determine the appropriate compensation ranges for the job.  It is helpful to provide all the jobs that comprise a role to the compensation group to evaluate at once so that the compensation professionals can create a compensation progression that is logical as responsibilities within each role increase.


Step 4:  Develop a phased organization implementation plan

  • This step requires that the designated person or group review the organization structure, roles, jobs and the implementation timeline.  In many cases when a change in technology is a component of organization redesign the organization may need to be implemented in phases.  For example, it may be too much change or not economically feasible to implement all of the new technology at once.  Therefore it is more effective, if certain aspects of the technology are phased in over time.  This information is essential to determine how long an organization must operate in an interim state before transitioning to the final organization design.  How and when the technology component is implemented will impact the number of people required to complete the job requirements.  During an interim state customer service representatives may have to complete some tasks manually while other tasks are automated which could mean that you need ten customer service representatives during an interim state but once you have transitioned to the final state when all tasks are automated you will only need five customer service representatives.  All of these types of details must be outlined thought out and planned before information is communicated to employees.


Step 4.5 – Develop and execute Stakeholder Management, Communication and Risk Mitigation Plans

After you have determined the phased organization implementation plan, it is time to determine the various stakeholder groups that will need to be managed throughout the transition process and how/what will need to be communicated to each of these stakeholder groups.  In addition, it is necessary to determine all of the possible things that could go wrong during the transition and develop a mitigation action plan that could be put into effect on a moments notice.

A key tool that is utilized during this step is called a role definition guide.  This guide contains all of the information that is pertinent to a particular role within the organization.  It contains organization reporting relationship definitions, role definition, job description, performance metric definitions, implementation timelines and most importantly a training plan.  This training plan enables the employee to understand the curriculum they will be required to complete before they will be ready to fulfill their new responsibilities. 


  • The goal of the role definition guide is to communicate all the key aspects of what will be required of an employee who is selected to fulfill a certain role so they are clear about all of this prior to sitting in a training class.  Therefore, the job information should all be a review for the employee during training.  This preparation allows the employee to focus on building the skill and competency that is required.


Step 5 – Determine work site requirements

  • This step involves determining how the new work environment will be configured both physically and technologically.  For example, will all the employees sit together who perform the same function or will the employees who perform different functions but service all the same customer sit in the same work space. 


Step 6 – Execute staffing selection and outplacement plans

  • This step takes the outputs from all of the previous steps to determine which employees will fill which jobs and when.


Step 7 – Provide selected staff with the skills and knowledge required to fulfill their responsibilities (training)

This final step will determine if the organization transition is successful or not.  For instance, if the selected employees do not gain the skills and knowledge during the required training the organization transition process will fail, regardless of how well the organization transition process has been executed to date. 


  • The training curriculum is shaped by the role definitions and job descriptions that were documented in Step 1.  Any changes that are documented post approval must be communicated to those resources that are developing the curriculum.  In addition, it is essential that the resources that are developing the training curriculum are kept informed of stakeholder management issues and opportunities that need to be reemphasized during training.  This step gives a final opportunity to ensure that employees are ready to perform and it is pertinent that the resources implementing the transition plan are in lock step with those resources whom are responsible for training.


Step 8 – Employees transition to the new organization

  • This step should be non eventful as long as all of the previous steps were completed effectively and any issues that arose were resolved before moving to the preceding steps.  During this step it is crucial that support is readily available for employees who are slowly getting used to their new environment and responsibilities. 

In Summary, redesigning and transitioning an organization is often necessary but can be the most sensitive, because people’s identities are shaped by what they do.  Before an organization starts to tinker with people’s livelihood and identity, it is critical that the organization is using a proven comprehensive method that ensures people are treated with dignity, respect and are provided the opportunity to be involved in shaping their future.  People & Performance Solution’s organization design and transition method logically provides the implementer and receiver with what they need to effectively and efficiently implement an organization transition.


Contact Us to learn about how People & Performance Solutions can help you with your change management needs.