by Erik Steffensen , Susan Garriety

The Challenge

At a time of intense competition in financial services, a large globally diversified financial institution was struggling to work effectively. Its goal was to become best in class in workplace experience across the entire 250,000-person organization. The question became how do they transform the workplace experience to boost engagement, productivity and retention? Leadership engaged Point B to expand their thinking around modern workplaces, connectedness, and policies—with the goal to evangelize a new human-centered consciousness around workplace experience that will benefit both its people and its profits.

Leading to a breakthrough

Point B led a small executive group in an intense, half-day session to envision a workplace transformation they could present to leadership across the organization.

The Point B team took the customer through a series of exercises that led to an eye-opening realization: Even at best, when people think they know each other incredibly well, there are significant gaps in understanding what matters to someone else when it comes to their ideal workplace and operating mode.

This realization was the breakthrough for building greater-than-expected freedom and flexibility into new workplace plans. It inspired fresh thinking as the team drilled down into concerns around siloed practices, competing priorities, and anticipated resistance to change. By the end of the day, the executives had described a workplace vision that leads beyond a fractious culture to build greater flexibility, teamwork and trust.  This vision supported the organization’s goals of creating customized interactions in various locations and geographies but stayed within the standardized, scalable processes and construct of the broader enterprise.

The combined workshop team of both customer and Point B resources then created a roadmap for an operational plan built on more flexible work policies, new physical spaces, and a move to push decision-making deeper and wider across the organization. A foundational piece of this artifact was Point B’s ‘Grow Without Growing’ framework. The fabric of this structure helps organizations make the most of their existing people and assets. For instance, drawing on Workforce Experience principles, we used human-centric design to eliminate siloes and shorten paths between people.

A transformation that works

The session gave the organization’s executives the tools to align leaders on a workplace transformation plan and move forward. We helped win buy-in by balancing vision work with the functional expertise to meet financial goals and practical concerns such as security and regulatory issues. The operational plan also addresses cultural concerns, including matters of privacy and self-management. Finally, we recommended an iterative roll-out with an organized pilot, a validation and promotional period, and ongoing employee engagement—so that every step forward builds on success