Project Management and Change Management are no longer separate entities. In today’s article we explore how transforming your workplace is actually about putting your workers first. Transition success means combining a people-centric approach with an interrogated project and change management plan. When your organization undertakes projects or initiatives to improve performance, seize opportunities or address key issues, they often require changes; changes to processes, job roles, organizational structures, workplace infrastructure and types and uses of technology. As a consultancy and project management fit out firm, db interiors are regularly approached by companies who are about to or currently undergoing a process of change. When this happens, we try and pass on some valuable lessons learnt from 50 years in business. Lesson 1: Change management may not be new, but today’s office dynamics are. To drive innovation and attract and retain top talent, companies need to get creative. They need to seek fresh and modern workplace solutions that offer a variety of amenities and the latest technology. Rent prices across the country are on the rise, not just Auckland. As a result open offices with collaborative spaces continue to be a popular choice for decision makers. The future office is upon us, but we must remember that many employees are anxious about change, and some aren’t so quick to give up their privacy. Our project delivery team at db has experienced first-hand how changes forced upon us, damage company morale and end hindering performance….not ideal when change is necessary to improve the bottom line. Fortunately, a robust and customized change management plan can address these issues and will be vital to the success of your workplace transformation. As experts is both of these areas, our db team will help formulate and implement change management strategies on behalf of our clients. But before we launch into all that here is another db lesson. Lesson 2: Change Management starts with the kind of workplace that takes into account HOW space can best accommodate function. As workplace design becomes less hierarchy-driven, it is important to assure people that their role and tasks related to their role will still be recognized. For all the negative feedback, many workers don’t realize that open offices are often a hybrid of shared and private space that meets a wide range of needs. Pushback from your workers is both inevitable and necessary. Be prepared to meet backlash head on with effective education, communication and patience. Lesson 3: Communication is in key – engage with your employees. Successful change is based on the communication of information and the proffering of incentives. Change management is about involving your employees. Communication throughout the process will build trust and give employees time to digest and provide constructive feedback. This workplace retreats, team building exercises, work shouts. This will also help ensure that the end result reflects their input, needs, and desires, which is critical as the line between work and home becomes more blurred. We encourage our clients to present proposed changes to employees through digital models, blueprints, or PowerPoint presentation. We find that digital explanation will help employees see how new office designs can be more efficient and productive. There is nothing like a 3D render to get the excitement juices flowing.
It was the 1960’s that thrusted change management into the spotlight where early change models captured the full range of human emotions as employees mourned job-related transitions. In today’s content, countries such as Australia now recognise change management as a formal vocation with the Australian government in establishing national competency standards and academic programmes. It is the age old cliché– “if you can’t beat em, join em” – our point being, that to ignore all the research and suggested change management models would not only be foolish but irresponsible. Speaking of models, take the time to research the many change management models available to us and identify which one will work best for your and work workplace. Choose a model that addresses the human side of change and factors in human tendencies. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all change management plan. We advise our clients to employ a mix of strategies and models instead of relying on one. Lesson 4: When considering a change management plan ask yourself the following: What is the company culture? What are the demographics of your employee base? How tech-savvy are your employee? What is your budget? Considering these points will help ensure your change management plan is customized for your company’s culture and budget. The fact of the matter is that we are no longer tethered to our desks by a wire. We are increasingly becoming more of a more mobile workforce where employees are wanting and enjoying a “Live-Work-Play” lifestyle. In short, project management and change management are no longer separate entities. They must work in sync from start-to-finish to ensure successful projection execution. Lesson 5: Transforming your workplace starts with planning ahead and bringing on fit out companies that also offer reliable and credible project management services as part of their full service solution. Because no matter your industry or location, with patience, due diligence, and a customized change management program, you can make the workplace of the future work for you today. But you don’t have to do it alone.