During our webinar with Annemarie Fleming, she revealed to us that "70% of all change initiatives fail". Which is an astonishing number, and a disappointing one at that. If change is usually a proposed option to make things better, what's causing such a large percentage of these efforts to fail? During two recent podcasts, we discussed the importance of focusing on your people and how workplace leaders can strive to ensure a smooth workplace change transition for them no matter what.
The Ongoing Journey of Change in the Workplace
Annemarie Fleming | Business Development Manager at MovePlan, Workplace Evolutionaries leader
"You know, traditionally facility managers are so engaged with all the details of the process to build the space, that there is a gap. And that gap is attending to the people, piece of it, the planning for the people in the change."
Annemarie has spent much of her career helping people tackle the change management process and other important strategic initiatives at their organizations. She also leads the WeHub group in New York which is a smaller branch of the Workplace Evolutionaries community.
During the webinar we discuss how the workplace manager often gets caught up in attending to the physical space, and the workforce can go unintentionally neglected. "We spend a lot of time and money preparing workspaces for people, but very little preparing the people to work in those places." Working to close the gap and thinking about the people first is really where workplace leaders should aim to shift their focus. Especially considering no matter how wonderful the space is, if people don't use that space, it is essentially useless.
Considering most change processes fail because of organizational issues. Annemarie believes workplace managers need to ensure any processes that are put in place are accessible even after the project is completed. Your change management strategy must not only serve the people affected today, but those who come into the change tomorrow as well, or six months down the line.
Powering the Changing Workplace With Flexibility
Michelle Fritsche | Director of Workplace Strategy & Planning at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Daniel Castner | Principal at BAM Architecture Studio
"There's a lot about culture, and how do you keep the elements of culture that mean something to the company, and that helped us get to where we are, and yet bring some new elements in to help the company be successful."
Michelle and Dan make are quite the duo. When Regeneron was experiencing rapid growth, and found themselves new owners of their own building, the facilities team brought Dan on board to help shape the direction of their expansion.
The Regeneron wanted to be sure they created inter-changeability within their space. So that a room or area could change purpose depending on who was using it. For example, the "Pantry" as they call it is what many companies would refer to as their kitchen or break room. What they found was it became a place of collaboration and gathering for their workforce. They made sure the space exuded flexibility because they found it served so many purposes, from informal meetings to casual interactions. Michelle & Dan increased chairs, incorporated workplace technology and wifi in the space to increase its effectiveness.
During this expansion, they also focused on establishing regularity within their spaces. They "regenerized' the office renovations by branding with company colors and incorporating their organization's connection to science where they could. As a company, Michelle talks about how Regeneron culturally encourages employees to question everything and ask multiple people for input, so they had lots of decision making by consensus. This continued to strengthen their culture by making people feel part of the decision making process even when so much change was going on around them. They found comfort in knowing their voice was being heard.
As workplace's continue to evolve, change is inevitable. What workplace managers should remember is to focus on embracing flexibility, and to make room for the "people piece" during their change management journey.