We all know the potential benefits of a change in workplace, but securing approval from leadership is not always easy. Here are a few tips from our friends at Knoll on how to gain approval for big changes in the work environment.
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Plan and Prepare
Most organizations will only have limited funding for improvement measures and you may be competing with other departments looking for things, like new accounting software or factory equipment upgrades. Your workplace transformation team may only get one shot to state your case, so you need to be ready with a compelling plan to get the senior executives to buy in.
One problem that you may encounter is myths about such a significant change. You may hear some reluctant members of leadership say, “It’s best to wait until other organizational changes have subsided.” This logic is understandable, but it will be very difficult to find a time when your organization ISN’T going through some changes. Be sure to do your due diligence so you can demonstrate how your changes will benefit the overall goals of the company.
Take a Preemptive Stance on the Case Against Your Strategy
You need to be ready for the resistance that will surely come. A proven tactic to strengthen the case for change is to anticipate the arguments from several key groups, including the managers/supervisors, the HR department, the IT department and facilities professionals. For each of these groups, make a list of the reactions you might hear from them. Your team may want to propose a strategy that includes unassigned space so employees can choose the appropriate workspace for themselves.
Partner with other areas, like HR, to help form a plan for the transition to come. Make sure the case you present to leadership includes how the workforce can prepare with proper communication and training. A strong transition plan cannot be stressed enough.
The business case for the new strategy should end with specifics on what you need to make this successful. When plans fail to gain approval, it is often because a specific dollar amount wasn’t included, an explanation of how much support staff would be required or the level of involvement from senior leaders wasn’t articulated.
Sell Your Workplace Strategy
In order to make your proposal stand out, it must be more than a list of benefits and requirements. You must sell the idea. Successful teams will do little things like choosing an appropriate time to present, articulating the ability of your plan to support all the other objectives of the business and speaking the language of senior executives.
When the time comes for a new workplace strategy, remember these tips and you’ll be enjoying your new office design in no time!