Trying to bring people together from disparate organizations within the enterprise is never easy. It’s challenging enough just to keep the members of existing teams pulling in the same direction. So no one’s pretending that it’s easy to align stakeholders from IT, Facilities/Real Estate, and HR as an enterprise is building and then executing on its workplace strategy. But there are approaches that have been seen to work in enterprises.
That was the recent message from Tom Bradbury, CEO of WorkplaceUX, a consultancy focused on helping these different constituencies work together. Tom presented our first-ever WorkSpace Connect webinar last month, on the topic, “HR, IT, & Facilities Management/Real Estate and Workplace Success.”
Tom offered a wealth of detailed information and advice, based on his years working with large enterprises. For me, the biggest takeaway was his advice to enterprises on what he called, “hacking the culture”—his term for proactively building relationships and trust between departments and business leaders even if there’s not a major workplace project currently on the drawing boards.
Leaders from IT, HR, and Facilities/Real Estate should be making appointments with line-of-business leaders and meeting with them to learn about their pain points around technology and the workplace, Tom said. Just asking these questions will build equity with these leaders—even if it uncovers some uncomfortable realities. If a line-of-business leader tells you about, say, 12 pain points related to your area, “you’re going to be almost a little embarrassed” by maybe three to five of them. In other words, you’ll be embarrassed that you’ve allowed such problems to exist in the first place. But if you listen and look for ways to address these pain points, you’ll have built up the credibility to make your voice heard when a major project is under way.
Similarly, IT, HR, and Facilities/Real Estate departments can learn from each other. For example, Tom suggested that HR can be a great resource for helping IT craft a user adoption plan when new technology is being rolled out, since HR’s job is to master effective communications with employees—a skill that some IT departments still need to improve.
You can listen to the replay of the webinar here, and I’m delighted to say that Tom will be expanding on this discussion when he takes the stage March 30 at our first-ever WorkSpace Connect Summit, taking place as part of our Enterprise Connect 2020 event. Tom will kick off a day-long program of in-depth sessions aimed at helping HR, IT, and Facilities/Real Estate professionals learn how to plan workplace strategies that address employee collaboration holistically.
In addition to Tom’s session on bringing HR, IT, and Facilities/Real Estate together, we’ve got some really compelling content for all three enterprise constituencies that drive workplace strategy. A few quick examples:
* IT analyst Irwin Lazar of Nemertes Research will discuss how enterprises can use the data generated by communications systems to help HR and Facilities/Real Estate teams better understand employee needs.
* Adriana Rojas of design firm HOK will tackle the ever-controversial topic of open offices, and how specific design concepts can make the most of current trends in office design.
* Melissa Marsh of workplace consultancy PLASTARC will discuss the transformations in how work gets done, and how organizations can enable “flexible” working.
Though we built our WorkSpace Connect Summit program before Tom’s webinar, our aim turns out to fit perfectly with the vision he outlines: To “hack” your current culture and build a stronger interdisciplinary approach, the first step is to reach out and learn how the other groups relate to yours and to the workplace challenges and opportunities your enterprise will face in the coming years.
I hope you can join us in Orlando on March 30 for a program that I’m confident will be interesting and useful as you build your workplace strategy.