Comstock's magazine 0618 - June 2018 - Page 31

Threat to the ego: Your competence as a person is called into question. For many employees, prestige is measured by space and proximity. Em- ployees seriously compare office sizes to determine who is viewed as the most important executive. They measure the distance to the CEO to interpret who is viewed as more critical to his or her daily operations. This physical manifes- tation of value in the office can lead to significant toxicity during a workplace move. In my experience, when learning of a move, employees first and foremost want to know where they will sit and who will be near them. Sense of control: You have no control over the situation. Employees lose a sense of control during office moves because most deci- sions are made at the leadership level. Employees are often informed of one af- ter the fact. Extensive research has been done on the power a sense of control has on stress levels (check out “Why Ze- bras Don't Get Ulcers” by Robert Sapol- sky). The lack of control during an office move is the final thunderclap in the per- fect storm of stress for employees during this transition. These major stressors result in lower employee engagement and lower productivity. Talent attrition can also spike significantly during office re- locations if leaders don't manage the transition carefully. What can you do about it? 1 GATHER THE VOICE OF THE WORKFORCE Rather than trying to shield employ- ees from the relocation storm, business owners should get their employees in- volved from the start. Employees have boots on the ground. They will be able to tell you what is working for them in their current space, and where they're losing productivity. Employees who feel their input is valued and their experience is consid- ered, will transition faster and be pro- ductive in the new space sooner. Not only will they be getting what they asked for, but their engagement will go up be- cause they are included in the process. Depending on the size of your business, there are many options for soliciting employee input: surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews or engage a firm that specializes in driving employee productivity during your move. 2 DEVELOP A COMMUNICATION PLAN Start conversations at all levels of the business early on — as soon as the workplace change is on your executive radar. You need to start gathering feed- back and including employees in the process before the design takes place in order to ensure alignment with your culture and objectives. Being on the receiving end of a workplace change is not easy, espe- cially when communication is lacking. Key elements of your communication strategy may include manager training, digital notifications, an internal website or message board, or regular town halls and brown bag lunches. THE MAJOR STRESSORS OF A MOVE RESULT IN LOWER EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND LOWER PRODUCTIVITY. TALENT ATTRITION CAN ALSO SPIKE SIGNIFICANTLY DURING OFFICE RELOCATIONS IF LEADERS DON'T MANAGE THE TRANSITION CAREFULLY. 3 DRIVE ENTHUSIASM Finally, drive enthusiasm with your team. Your goal is to cross the finish line with a team of enthusiastic employ- ees who can't wait to move into their new offices. Consider hosting employ- ee sneak peaks of the new office space and furniture samples. Create an office welcome package with comprehensive details employees need to know about their new space. Include a small gift for a nice finishing touch. The key to a successful office move is a strategy that addresses inherent chal- lenges before they even begin. n Dr. Jessica Kriegel is an organizational development consultant and an expert on generational issues. For more, visit www.jessicakriegel.com. WANT TO KNOW MORE? Read Jessica Kriegel's leadership column every other month. June 2018 | comstocksmag.com 31