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The Move: A Means of Promoting Cultural Change



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The Move: Promoting Cultural Change Photo: Mindforest

Changing the culture of an organisation is not simple. The culture of a company consists of a combination of its values, the work environment, its ways of doing things, the mission, its management and employee expectations, which is why it often takes a significant event for people and/or a company to provoke a cultural change.

The move – an opportunity to reshape the culture

Beyond a regular real estate and logistics project, a move often also triggers change. It provides an ideal opportunity to rethink the way of working, to set up new workspaces and methods to become more mobile and flexible. This inevitably has an influence on the employees and the culture of the organisation, as the work environment is a powerful tool for promoting or setting up a new culture. In this article, we offer four ways to make your move a true opportunity to transform your corporate culture.

Arranging the offices differently

As a result of a move, the office layout can help to implement and support a corporate culture that could for example focus on exchange and collaboration. Logically, here, one should rethink the space to promote networking over hierarchy. No offices for managers; the idea is to configure the workspace to promote “collisions” allowing employees, who do not necessarily work together, to meet. This redesign would also make it possible to desecrate the myth of the office bringing the manager closer, making him/her more visible and more accessible to the team.

Setting up collaborative spaces

Pixar, Google plus start-ups in Silicon Valley have understood that collaborative spaces are a must to support a collaborative culture and innovation. Given the fact that innovation is nurtured through informal, social and creative interactions, companies have everything to gain from setting up such spaces to support creativity, exchange and quick decision-making. When introducing collaboration spaces, it is essential to reflect on the objectives and modularity behind this change. Similarly, it is important to involve all main stakeholders in the definition of the different needs. It is important to offer several types of space for adaptable use, such as relaxation areas for informal meetings, meeting rooms equipped with tables, flipcharts and projectors to suit formal exchanges, brainstorming sessions or Visual Management.1

Offer flexibility

An organisation must also rethink general work approaches to create a new dynamic, to support the company’s activity and to adapt to a changing work environment. For example, offering teleworking to employees has become key to attracting and retaining “talent”. Today, working from home is still perceived as a threat to the corporate culture for fear of inhibiting good teamwork. However, if organised correctly, teleworking increases productivity. Admittedly, it needs to be accompanied by technical (telecommunication tools, exchange and storage of documents) and pedagogical support (to assist employees in the use of the tools, to animate the community and to set up rules for working outside an office environment). This will all contribute to the success of this new way of collaborating and support the emergence of a virtual company culture.

Propose new tools to support new ways of working

Building on the new ways of working (hyperflexibility), a move provides the ideal opportunity to reassess work tools to foster collaboration and communication and to support the corporate culture, e.g. communication platforms like Slack, Yammer, Emplify, etc., may be useful. Whether employees are nomadic or in the office – whether at their workstation or in collaborative spaces –, the setting up of a unified communication system or environment will support workflows by making it possible to tap into several aspects whilst encouraging collaboration: this includes messaging, videoconferencing, group discussions as well as storage and document sharing, time management, presence at work and agendas.

Conclusion:

Beyond the simple logistics of a move; several elements should be considered to ensure that the move becomes an opportunity for positive change. To achieve this, it is essential to set up realistic change management procedures to support all employees during the transformation period. Communication is highly important and goes beyond informing and explaining the reasons behind the changes. Make sure you listen to your employees’ concerns, provide answers and help them to settle into the new environment, for example by organising visits to the new premises before the move. It is also vital to involve both managers and employees in defining the needs for the digitisation of work – which tools to choose and when and how to use them. Further, it is essential to support the managers in the understanding of their new roles, as they will become an even more important vector for the transmission of culture in the company.

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1Visual Management aims to facilitate management by visualising tasks, objectives, information, etc.