The client is the largest and most diversified Australasian marketer, wholesaler and distributor of healthcare, medical and pharmaceutical products. It is also a leading Australasian animal care products marketer and distributor.” Their Melbourne Head Office is relocating to a more central city location, and redesigning the work space from individual offices to an open plan space. The move is seen as part of a business initiative to update and upgrade its working environment, to make it more accessible to a greater number of the staff, geographically, with easier access to public transport and other amenities.
The client was keen to create a positive employee experience and recognised the risks associated with culture change resulting from a new workplace environment.
Blue Seed was engaged during the diagnostic phase of this assignment primarily gathered staff views and conducted a high-level analysis of the relocation change, to recommend the best way for business leaders to enable the change and deliver a return on investment through people.
A range of interviews, surveys and investigation of best practices world-wide resulted in a realisation that this is not just a relocation from A to B. It’s a fundamental change in the way the business teams work together through its work practices and culture by transitioning from a very traditional hierarchical office layout to an open plan office.
It was discovered that although staff voiced that they are willing to cooperate and support the relocation activities, there was nonetheless some status loss resentment from managers who will lose a car space and office, and concerns that an open office layout will result in issues with privacy and distraction/productivity. These concerns are real and need to be actively listened to, as complacency is possibly the greatest risk impacting a smooth and productive relocation.
Recommendations were listed in the areas of:
- Logistics – management of the physical move should be seamless;
- Culture – reinforcing the companies vision through aligning to new work practices and behaviours, and listing the likely cultural challenges
- Personal impact – managing all personal impacts associated with the relocation, including talent retention and other relevant concerns;
- Maintaining Business Performance – against critical service delivery and performance measures.
The client is currently in the planning stages of the relocation. Initial feedback on the Diagnostic Report is that it was comprehensive, accurate and provided practical guidance to the transition project.