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Whether the objective is a combination of:
The practice of measuring the effectiveness of the changes that were integral to the project appears to get overlooked. Organisations continue to undertake utilisation studies or use their space optimisation software to review efficiency of their space but this doesn’t tell your business how well your people have adopted the change and the ROI factors that the project, through the change programme was asked to deliver on.
So, who looks at whether staff adoption and uplift in practices has sufficiently occurred to get the best out of the new workplace?
The Important Questions
Workplaces that are challenged daily with the same issues that just never seem to resolve could find the answers if they started by asking the right people – which is the team that manages the facility. Call them Facilities, Workplace Services, Operations or Corporate Services, these are the people that hear the problems regularly and must respond.
Ask these teams the 4 questions deemed most important to their leaders:
There may be a question or two that you could add here for your workplace, or perhaps it isn’t necessary to ask these questions, as there is so much noise around the same issues day in and day out that the issues are clear.
Whatever the answer is, if there is noise, then there is fraying around the seams, and your organisation should run a Change Sustainability Programme and get to the root cause.
Where do you start – approvals and heads up to leadership
Running Workshops that will eventuate with a Programme to correct and sustain the changes your organisation has invested heavily in is not an expensive exercise, in fact, it is probably something you can’t afford ‘not to do’.
Once you have decided you will run this Programme, enlist a Change Manager that is experienced to pull such a programme together. Of course, the fundamental working principles that changed in the workplace, is the place to start to strawman your programme.
After the Programme has been approved by the relevant stream lead, (perhaps the head of Property), ensure that the leadership team is aware of this delivery over the next six months and develop a comms plan to deliver updates. This eliminates noise and objection to what is agreed
Work through the Change Sustainability Programme strawman with your key stakeholders and develop a Comms Plan. Outline the Themes of each Workshop and the possible programmes that may eventuate, identifying key stakeholder groups that may be involved in remedy, whether it be having conversations or participating in education.
Enlist support from People & Culture and Internal Comms in delivering the message through the correct channels and you should invite them to participant in the ensuing workshops. Why? These key stakeholders have been working hard to align the changes to the organisation’s values, brand, tone and culture so their attendance is critical to understand if this is being undermined and why.
Another good reason for P&C to be involved is that often they run Pulse Surveys and staff satisfaction ratings and sitting in on one workshop can explain why ratings are low.
The Change Sustainability Programme will be made up of a number of Workshops and will eventuate with Programmes talking to the key issues identified.
You don’t want to lead the Workshops with loaded questions as you need to foster genuine conversation about Neighbourhood engagement, so leading with themes that are easy to digest is key to starting. Start working on your Workshop material and perhaps lead with Workshop 1 focusing on themes that everyone can talk to.
Themes may include:
“Location, Collaboration, Technology, Connection, Privacy, Flexibility, Content Sharing”
Who to invite?
Invite your EAs, Migration Managers, Office Administrator Network, your retired Change Leads, and your Neighbourhood Managers. At the very least, get the Neighbourhood Managers there! Don’t forget the stream leads that worked to develop and rollout new processes and practices, such as P&C, Internal Comms, IT, Records Management, Group Security, HSE and Technology.
What to tell the participants about the Workshops
Tell the staff you invite, that the workshops are ‘free expression exercises’ that provide the Neighbourhood Managers and others with a forum to identify any number of issues about the workplace.
Have themes identified that everyone can understand and will encourage some excitement in getting the conversation going. Create a good ice breaker, perhaps start with a theme that enables you to ask about something everyone has an opinion on, perhaps ask about the End of Trip first. This should get the conversation going.
At the beginning of each Workshop, be consistent by framing that this is an exercise to help improve everyone’s work life and that they are critical in helping to do this.
Ensure that participants feel safe and understand there are no recriminations for being honest in the Workshops. Ask them to lobby their teams before they come to find out what their teams think is good about the workspace and of course they will tell you the ‘not so good’ too.
Use appreciative inquiry techniques and welcome them to express their thoughts on each subject. Encourage them to talk amongst themselves and question if they want to add any further themes to each session. If there is a better way to get the result the business desires, of course let the participants suggest it. This way, the next Workshops can be developed with some certainty of enthusiasm for participation and views.
Facilitating the Workshops
How long should the Workshops be?
It is important to get through as much as you can in each Workshop. Keep the sessions to 2 hours, yes you will need 2 hours. This amount of time allows for good room participation, time for a quick cuppa, and since you are looking to improve and protect the organisations ROI as well as improving the work life of your employees, a 2 hour time outlay will sound like a good ROI to your leadership team.
What should the focus of each workshop be?
What was introduced in your new workplace? This is what you would start with to baseline the focus of the Workshops. Tell the story of how we all got to this topic, for example, if your Workshop is on Etiquettes of the Workplace, you would start with telling the participants the backstory of how the etiquettes were formed and if there is a Workplace Charter and a Neighbourhood Charter for these, explain the difference. Don’t be surprised that a good number of people in the room may be new to the organisation since moving to the new workplace and they don’t have the history that the retired Change Leads would.
When you present your theme, set the housekeeping rules for how you would like the questions answered. It is key to drill down on: how it is working? why is it working? what could make it work? and when does it work best?
Keep in mind that you are not there to agree that things are not working, so use the opportunity to ask why it’s not working if the answers are negative.
Capture everything the room says. The gold you will get from the participants will help to determine what the roadblocks and opportunities are and this is the content that will inform the Programmes for remedy.
Liaise regularly with your key stakeholders that engaged you to do this work. Show them the results of each Workshop in a spreadsheet. They should have a good number of team members present at each of the Workshops and perhaps one of these people will help you scribe.
After you have conducted your Workshops, possibly running the same Workshop across several locations, you will review how far the organisation is now from the planned design and intent.
The information you have captured should be considered very positive indeed, as the organisation now has the knowledge to help turn some things around.
“You will start to see the main themes come through very early, possibly by the end of Workshop 2.”
The programmes to remedy the roadblocks or issues should be delivered by the right stakeholder groups, so consider the IT Staff Engagement Manager may get involved, your Leadership team will have a role, your people managing your Facilities will need to be apprised of new techniques and strategies, and perhaps P&C and HSE will take an active role.
Your organisation should do this Change Sustainability health check every 12 months now.
“There is now a blue print and baseline for the next project, your organisation is proactively protecting ROI, there will be cost control, and there will be better business performance through staff satisfaction”
Your organisation will end up with a blue print that will be the baseline for the next project with many learnings making their way into the campaigns and training/inductions of the next workplace.
Finally, don’t forget to encourage the participants to share the experience with their teams and to keep the Programmes and the results visible. Celebrate the successes that this Change Sustainability Programme provides for all staff and the organisation as a whole.
Return on Investment (ROI) Factors
People-side ROI factors - faster speed of adoption, higher ultimate utilisation and higher proficiency.
Regular cost-benefit analyses will be undertaken through the change programme by way of campaigns, surveys on the user experience and adoption and proficiency metrics of the change. An example of this could be the early rollout/adoption of Skype for Business prior to the relocation which has all staff moved across to mobile technology driving proficiency, enabling mobility -A ROI achieved before the relocation event.
Cost avoidance – Avoiding the costs that can occur with poorly managed change
Providing adequate support and training to achieve high user adoption levels is a cost avoidance exercise as well as the right thing to do. If you do nothing in helping staff understand the benefits of their work settings, they may make assessment that the work settings in neighbourhoods don’t work for them and this can translate in rectifications within the first months of moving in.
Risk mitigation for individuals, the project and the organisation
The Project Team and other key streams will be charged with the mandate to ensure staff adopt the new workplace skills and continue to do their work effectively. This in turn will help the organisation meet its business objectives: ie, minimise impact on operations, employee disruption and transition risks.
Realization insurance through the uplift of technology and people doing their jobs differently but effectively.
The IT enterprise will identify and put in place any programs that delivers new skills required by staff as a result of technology uplift. They will also support the Facilities and Operations teams in helping them to master the technology for the spaces they will manage.
Meeting the objectives of the project are probably not as important to review in a Change Sustainability Programme as these objectives of staying on schedule and staying on budget doesn’t have any bearing on how the work place is now operating. It is worth mentioning though that this is the fifth cost benefit that would be analysed in the Change Programme.
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