Staff habits are the single biggest risk to workplace change programs

Staff habits are the single biggest risk to workplace change programs
Staff habits are the single biggest risk to workplace change programs

Existing staff habits could derail the implementation of new workplace strategies according to commercial real estate firm JLL.

JLL’s associate director of workplace strategy, Nathan Sri, said many staff have long-ingrained habits relating to their work space, and the power of habit is the single biggest risk to workplace change programs

Mr Sri said facilitating a change in people’s habits relied on two critical success factors; how they relate to space and technology.

“It’s about the ability of staff to adopt the new space according to their work tasks and business drivers, and their ability to utilise the technology to drive congruent values and behaviours,” he said.

"As surprising as it may be, brain scans show that elite athletes use significantly less of their brain than their non-elite counterparts. In fact, extensive research has found that the cognitive side of the brain is used less and less as the athlete begins mastering his actions and movements.

“Practice makes permanent, not perfect. This idea can also be applied to the knowledge worker when they are transitioning to a new work space. The longer individuals are in a certain workplace arrangement, the more entrenched their habits relating to that space become.

"it was important for companies to realise that the organisational change process can start a number of months before a company moves into a new space, and that this was a key factor in mitigating risk.

“The fallacy is for companies to think that they need to wait for their brand new office before they can affect behavioural change among staff. Staging behavioural changes helps break down the change into chunks that allow staff to adapt changes and adjust their habits in a more gradual process – preparing them for the change when it officially arrives.”

JLL’s Director of Workplace Strategy, Dinesh Acharya said the success of a workplace program depends largely on a well-conceived change program that considers the needs and experiences of employees and in particular, managers, in order to inspire new conversations and behaviours over time.

“Too often, change management programs focus on communicating to employees, assuming that if we inform people of the change, they will ultimately embrace it. While strategic communications are effective in many situations, the more complex initiatives that aim to drive new collaborative ways of working require a more subtle and continuous approach to managing change," he said.

 

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Change Management Staff

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