Learning the Process – Engaging Stakeholders
When the delivery of a new facility project falls flat, failing to meet an organization’s goals or to engage employees and customers, it can often be attributed to a lack of representation of a key point of view in the decision-making process. This is why engaging stakeholders and integrating them into the process is a critical step in any project.
Think about all of the stakeholders in your organization, from the executive team and department heads to your front-line staff and members or customers. They each have a unique interest in a facilities project and can weigh in with insights and expertise, representing your organization’s goals and providing different perspectives. By recognizing them and inviting them to contribute, you not only improve the project outcome but also gain their buy-in. This helps you view the project through a people-focused lens, better understanding how employees and customers will use and interact with your planned spaces.
In workplace projects, for example, we work with workplace data leader Leesman to survey employees and develop an understanding of what type of work they are doing, how they are currently supported by their workplace, and what opportunities are available to better support them going forward. Their feedback enables our clients and ourselves to zoom in and identify what is really important and what isn’t and to understand the relationship that people have with their workplace. The result is buildings that foster positive employee experiences and best support the work that they are doing. It also contributes to a sense of ownership for employees in their office space design.
A high-level project view can often overlook important details: the pain points in an office, barriers to providing the best service in a branch interaction, or simply an understanding about how your customers or members want to bank. These stakeholders in your organization can offer a wealth of information with their perspectives, shining light on problems and opportunities that your next project has the ability to address.
When major projects are undertaken without addressing stakeholder concerns, the lack of representation does not go unnoticed and can contribute to a perceived gap between the leadership and the interests of employees and customers. Stakeholders run the risk of becoming disengaged. But the opposite is true as well. When you recognize stakeholder voices and demonstrate that their concerns are being represented in your strategy, the stakeholders in your project are much more likely to buy-in and engage to help drive the project forward. This not only results in better projects, but also sets the stage for more effective change management. People tend to resist top-down change, but when they have a hand in shaping those changes they are likely to embrace new ways of doing things.
Recognizing stakeholders and bringing every voice to the table is a powerful way to deliver buildings that truly support the people who use them and demonstrate your commitment to the people who drive your organization forward.