4 ways to foster alignment on your global workplace strategy
Once you’ve created your workplace strategy, it’s time to deploy it. This is often the point where a company’s strategy breaks down. No matter how good it is, it takes cross-functional alignment to be successful.
Without alignment, your strategy is just a document full of ideas that will never come to fruition. Despite your best efforts, your team will struggle to get its programs running, work efficiently, and meet its goals. To get your organization on board, and to move your workplace strategy forward, you need a flexible and detailed change management plan.
1 – Build a skilled team
Managing global offices takes a multi-faceted team of people. Not only will the people doing the work need the right skills and cultural knowledge to make your strategy work, but you’ll need buy-in from stakeholders and the wider organization to move work forward.
After doing an audit of your team’s strengths, consider what skills your workplace team will need for your strategy to work. Here are some questions to consider:
- Will you need to prepare for growth, stable operations, or contraction?
- Will you outsource talent or insource?
- Will you centralize your decision-making, or decentralize it to each location?
- Will your team need to develop or hire people with different skill sets in the future?
It’s important to establish expertise in different areas, including building engineering and maintenance, project management, vendor management, IT, HR, and sourcing. You don’t have to fill these functions over night, but you should think about how you want your team to look further into the future.
If needed, you can outsource work to a third-party to make up for any skills gaps. Finally, look for people who have experience working for global companies. Being able to navigate different cultures and manage projects across time zones is an acquired skill in itself.
2 – Outsource strategically to partners
Speed and efficiency are key to executing a global workplace strategy. Consider what work you can outsource to expand into new regions quickly and keep operations costs lean. This could include functions such as janitorial work, parking attendants, and security staff. You should also find ways to supplement your team’s knowledge by hiring contractors, agencies, or translation services to fill these roles.
Partners can also help you open a new office faster or more successfully. New cities bring new cultures, regulations, and know-how for how to get things done. For complex projects like constructing or building out a new office, you may want to consider partnering with an agency or local firm. At the very least, find a good translation provider to help you communicate clearly with internal teams and office visitors.
3 – Involve cross-department stakeholders
Another critical part of ensuring your workplace programs are successful is keeping internal stakeholders in the loop with frequent communication. Supporting your employees and creating workplaces where they can thrive is a multi-team effort. Your HR, physical security, and IT teams, among others, have skin in the game. HR wants to hire and retain employees, physical security wants to keep them safe, and IT wants to enable them with the tech they need to be productive.
Plan to include these teams early on in your planning process. You can schedule regular one-on-ones with team leads to align on their top priorities for the coming months. Once you agree on the objective and strategy for meeting it, schedule a recurring meeting so each team can relay their process and get input where needed.
4 – Get input from employees
Employees will also contribute to the success of your workplace programs. Although your team will lay out the plans, your employees are the ones who will need to change their behavior. Get people excited and gain buy-in by seeking employees’ input on changes. Taking their feedback into account creates a sense of ownership and builds trust with the workplace team.
Surveys are a great way to get a collective understanding of how people use your space and how they would like to see it evolve. Ahead of creating your strategy, send a survey to the entire company. Your objectives should shape your questions. For instance, if you are looking to make better use of your space, ask how often people plan to come in, what amenities they need when they do, and their openness to hot desking.
For deeper, more frequent input, create a group of workplace champions. These are employees who want to be involved in workplace strategy and help you roll out new programs. They can participate by taking part in a workplace test or “beta” of a new program, provide project management support, and help you promote new programs.
The success of your global workplace strategy hinges on strong alignment. This is true for every stage in your strategy process, from building to execution. Explore our recent ebook for guidance on how to align your people, processes, and technologies to your strategy.