We have been there too many times before, lost together in the heady success of a project and forgetting ourselves entirely. Yet it always leads to one party slipping away into a misty dawn, followed by an uncomfortable silence, averted glances, taking the long way round, and a reversion to estrangement. Until the next time.
Do we never learn, or are we just in perpetual denial? For HR and Property, it’s no longer a one night stand. For better or for worse, and whether we like it or not – it’s marriage. We deserve each other.
But why, after all the talk and acting up? Here are some reasons. HR and Property both:
- Have people at their core. Buildings are nothing without the occupants that give them life and energy, and employees need great space in which to work, and the flexibility to choose the most appropriate way to use it. Disciplines such as psychology and anthropology – often cited as vital for HR to study and understand – are just as important to Property.
- Manage change. Relocating people from one workplace to another – often involving a radical shift in approach and facilities due to the inherent time lag inherent in property commitments and expenditure – affects all aspects of an employee’s working life.
- Focus on attracting and retaining the best people. The workplace can and should be a source of pride to the organisation, and a demonstrable benefit of belonging.
- Drive productivity and performance. The most talented people can only function to their full potential in the best environment and with the best kit to meet every possible need. The investment in both people and workplace is highly significant, and to show a return neither can be neglected.
- Value and create engagement. The workplace can embody a symbol of trust, stating that the organisation respects its employees and offers them a choice of how and when (“flexible working”) and where (“the flexible workplace”) they work. Flexible working overlaid on a tired and traditional workplace will be unlikely to succeed, as will a flexible workplace without the programmes to permit and foster a flexible approach to working time and method.
- Foster, promote and encourage innovation. A flexible workplace – allied with a corporate and organisational culture that promotes and accepts experimentation as a key component of learning and development – can facilitate the genuine collaboration that leads to innovation.
- Develop organisational culture through facilitating and promoting the sharing of meaningful stories and experience that – when shared and publicised – enable the organisation to grow and better understand itself and its underlying core values.
- Gather, process, analyse and utilise organisational data. This includes – amongst others – business growth and headcount planning, demographics, workplace usage, and levels of engagement. Far better that it is gathered in a co-ordinated manner, useful to both disciplines.
So let’s be adult about this once and for all……