Hotels.com will soon be our neighbor; the company is moving its headquarters to Lincoln Centre. Its new 100 percent open floor plan and highly creative space is a drastic change from the closed office environment it currently has in a building along North Central Expressway.
Change is not easy for companies, but Hotels.com is doing everything possible to do it right. A “Change Champions” committee was created to ease the transition by helping create employee buy-in. Having a successful change management strategy made the difference between anxiety about new ideas and embracing them, which benefits everyone.
Hotels.com’s employees’ average age is 35—and trending younger. Engaging these employees with constant communication was a primary goal of the plan. The Change Champions were active participants in the design process and disseminated information to their teams. Blogs were posted on the company’s intranet highlighting design concepts, drawings, and finishes, and sharing project news and construction progress. Employees were also encouraged to examine a furniture mock-up of the proposed new smaller, more efficient workstations.
Being a global company, themed conference rooms and collaboration zones, representing cities around the world (Rio, London, Sydney, etc.), will increase collaborative space by over 400 percent. Employees were asked to vote on which cities would be featured, allowing them to weigh-in and have a stake in the design.
Engaging the employees in a number of design decisions helped guide the transition, creating buy-in at every step of the fast-paced project.
Again, change is hard. But, the more employees are engaged in the process, and the more they feel heard and respected, the less painful the transition will be. The response to change is similar to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s research into stages of grief as illustrated in the chart below.
After all, people generally make up 85 percent of a business’s operating costs. So, finding a way to make a move successful for a company’s bottom line, means creating a positive experience for the employees’ transition.
I am a big advocate of change-management plans. I’ve seen first-hand how it can increase a company’s capacity to succeed in the end.
Judy Pesek is managing director of the Dallas office of Gensler. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.