Rachel Houghton, MD at Business Moves Group offers some expert best practice advice on how to achieve a successful workplace change project
Earlier this year, workplace change and relocation specialist, Business Moves Group (BMG), carried out our own major change management programme. The process involved launching a new operating model to centralise pricing, planning and billing activities across the group. The restructure was designed to empower the four BMG regions – Scotland, Northern Belt, Midlands, London & South – to sharpen focus, streamline processes, improve operational excellence and pass on cost-savings to clients.
Along with centralising our administration processes, we also incorporated all subsidiary companies into the core company, to enable the business to unify its services, including project management, technical distribution, and furniture management. The restructure and streamlining of business processes aims to give all BMG employees the chance to spend less time on administrative tasks, and more time on developing their skills, supporting clients and working on projects.
The process marked a complete change of culture for our business but the team is excited and up for the challenge. That’s because there’s more opportunity for them to step into more senior roles and develop their skills and as part of this transformation, we’re providing more training because we believe that while it’s always important to invest in people, now’s the time to make that the number one priority.
As workplace change specialists we were well placed to carry out such a challenging but ultimately rewarding process and we’re happy to share our experiences and best practice advice for those contemplating carrying out a change management programme.
Implementing a strong and effective workplace change strategy is no mean feat. But it is crucial for any organisation that wants to get the most from its assets. The unpredictability of recent years and the rapid evolution of workplace expectations has made keeping abreast with innovation increasingly important.
Change, even for the better, can bring uncertainty and disruption. There are many change management strategies and models designed to smooth the transition. While these can be useful, they can add a further level of difficulty to an already complex process. For organisations willing to invest in smooth and effective workplace transformation, it pays to work with an expert. Regardless of whether your organisation opts for expert guidance or keeps the work in-house, there are some basic steps to follow for an effective change strategy.
IDENTIFY THE LEVEL OF SUPPORT YOUR ORGANISATION NEEDS
For some organisations, it may not be possible to hire an expert for the whole duration of the project. Where this is the case, it is still worth considering which elements would benefit from outside expertise.
Begin by considering the skills you have in-house. Elements of the project will include:
- Identifying core goals and return on interest. What constitutes success and how it will be measured?
- Identifying risks.
- Developing a communications strategy. This is fundamental to streamlining the process for all affected, minimising any confusion or sense of uncertainty. It is useful to compare various models of change management and find the most appropriate.
- Developing a workflow vision.
- Recruiting change champions. These individuals are central to getting people on board and managing concerns.
- Post-project support.
Workplace change requires a holistic approach, so a diverse and highly competent team is important.
SETTING THE PACE
Traditionally, change management has been a lengthy process. However, the recent upheaval has forced organisations to challenge their conception of what is possible. We are undoubtedly going to see continued, rapid workplace evolution over the coming years and fast and effective change is necessary. When developing a plan, consider which elements can be put in place first and how this aligns with changes to employee working patterns and styles. Business refits and moves to agile working can be carried out in just a few weeks, but communicating the change needs to be done over a longer period.
SET CLEAR GOALS, KPIS AND INDICATORS OF ROI
Workplace change for the sake of change can be a very costly vanity project. But an effective and well-managed change can transform your organisation. Begin by analysing your current position and where you want your organisation to be. What targets can you meet to show you’re on track?
The goals and KPIs can vary greatly by client and project. Some businesses are looking to cut costs; others are working to improve workplace culture. These are clearly very different so make sure your KPIs truly reflect your end goal.
There are many elements that feed into workplace success, from design to culture, to hierarchy and organisational strategies. It is important to take a holistic approach and ask for feedback from those at every level of the organisation. Go about planning changes in a strategic manner and work with someone who can keep an eye on the bigger picture while the details are taken care of.