OUR CHANGE MANAGEMENT EXPERT GUEST
Director of Cushman & Wakefield’s Total Workplace team, Carly Flapper is deeply experienced in change management, developing the workplace, and employee engagement initiatives that aid clients in producing positive outcomes for the workforce.
Carly has been a key member of C&W since 2014. Before corporate real estate, Carly had a 10-year career in the performing arts. Her expertise in working with performers in physical space has given her a unique perspective to ever-changing workplace.
Listen to Carly and Sabine in the following clips on Change Management:
CHANGE MANAGEMENT IS LIKE THE THEATRE
“The idea is not to say to people: ‘Hey, this is your job, do what I tell you. We [should] say you’re our most valuable resource. You’re going to have your own process by which you adapt your behaviors to be successful in this new environment.” – Carly Flapper
Interestingly, Carly thinks change management it is almost the exact same process as directing actors. Because directing actors in modern times is not about dictating to someone how they should walk and talk. It is about choosing people with great artistry and trusting their point of view.
Carly’s goal is in her new business role is to create an atmosphere where personnel trust their own creativity, their own instincts. She believes in providing safety and inspiration to allow the best self to emerge.
When her process begins, it is the first day of rehearsal. Everyone is trying to get to opening night, which is the implementation of whatever the end goal is. People are going to have their own processes by which they adapt behaviors to be successful in a new environment.
Give your valued employees the resources and positive atmosphere by which to go on a change journey and ultimately find your own place and whatever this new normal is.
COMPANIES SHOULD HAVE A CONCIERGE
“If employees only come in [weekly or monthly] and they’re remote the rest of that time, that process of having caught up on the work environment actually needs to be much more on demand.” – Carly Flapper
Having community managers or a company concierge will give employees a better experience. If they’re unsure of something, there’s someone there to spot that.
Do you remember how to use the mobile printer? Does the coffee machine seem different? There’s a new security procedure?
What if you go to work after working remotely and someone knows you by name? A concierge will help employees refresh their knowledge of the office. This type of expertise at a leadership and strategy building level is crucial.
The organizations that have the resources to incorporate it into the day to day will have really high returns on customer experience and productivity.
CHANGE MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION
“Where do we spend our dollars? How much space should we have? What expertise do we need to build in order to be knowledgeable on the subject to even think about what our strategy should be?” -Carly Flapper
Resources are tight for a lot of organizations, and there’s competition for talent. Companies are losing employees, yet trying to win new ones.
How does that work? The stresses and challenges for people in talent acquisition is possibly higher than it’s been in a few generations. It requires new skills.
Carly says it’s really an interesting but challenging moment. Pre-COVID, many were experts at everything happening within the four walls of their buildings. Then we all went home. It blew that paradigm right open, and then it included what’s happening within those four walls and also within the four walls of employees’ homes.
REDUCING REAL ESTATE OR RESHAPING GEOGRAPHY?
“I think in principle, I wouldn’t advocate that people think about just dumping space. I think it’s about realigning, re-strategizing and rebalancing. A lot of people are finding that the reasons to come in are now different.” -Carly Flapper
Carly says it’s about repurposing. Maybe your office includes the same amount of space, maybe it requires more. For organizations that were more traditional before and didn’t have the mobility and the flexibility, that genie is not going back in the bottle. People want to be able to be mobile.
Before Covid, many organizations were needing to hire in a specific geography, because they were asking people to come in every day. Post Covid, what’s possible for people is wide open. They can really find the best fit, and they can be anywhere in the world.
A Harvard Business Review study says companies only plan to reduce physical office space by about 2%. But based on what Carly sees, companies are giving up more than that.
CHANGE MANAGEMENT IS ADAPTING TO A POST COVID WORLD
“I think there’s seems to be organizations out there that are taking this moment as an opportunity to pivot, to rethink about how they can seize the moment, organize in a new way, invest in their places, and in their people to go forward with some courage.” – Carly Flapper
Carly is seeing a lot of conservative organizations not wanting to invest or spend anything. They are concerned about the amount of space that they’re using and considering ditching real estate without investing in the space that’s going to remain.
They want to, in many ways, return to how it was pre-COVID. That’s the real divergence that Carly is seeing. And for the most part, it’s the leadership level that is succeeding in envisioning the future or failing to adapt.
CHANGE MANAGEMENT IS CHANGE PERSPECTIVE
Cushman and Wakefield has really strong data of post pandemic behavior. Some of the things have been consistent and some have shifted since the early pandemic days.
One of the main findings is that work has continued to happen. People continue to feel that they’ve been productive, both as individuals and in groups actually, since going home. The data is saying that yes, some types of collaboration should happen in person, but they don’t necessarily all need to.
An assumption that is wrong is that older generations have struggled during the time of Covid, perhaps due to a conception that they’re not as tech savvy.
But actually, when it comes to experience in the various experience measures, the data says older generations have had an overall better experience during this time, perhaps due to better home environments.