A Five-Step Roadmap to Changing Your Workplace Culture

With a clear road map in place, selecting and implementing the right OpenWork practices for your firm becomes a clear and logical process that yields results.


By OpenWork

At OpenWork.org we showcase companies and teams that are rethinking work in a way that helps employees, managers and ownership address business priorities in an evolving world. Technology, workforce demographics and shifting global economic forces have converged in a way that encourages workplace innovation and surfaces new opportunities to improve productivity while boosting employee satisfaction and loyalty. But for many companies, getting started is the most difficult step. While there’s no easy-as-A-B-C formula for how to OpenWork, there are some basic principles to keep in mind.

When we talk about OpenWork we’re talking about…

Open Ideas: New thinking to redesign how we get work done.

Open Trust: An environment that emphasizes mutual goals and engagement.

Open Schedules: Time innovations solve evolving business needs and work-life challenges.

Open Workplaces: Remote work, alternative workspaces and other new concepts become paths to increased productivity and creativity.

Open Metrics: Transparent results and accountability encourage employee participation and manager buy-in.

OpenWork is not one-size-fits-all — it is tailored to each situation and provides benefits to both employees and companies. In fact, the key to implementing successful OpenWork practices is to follow a clear road map that guides managers and team members on the path to developing, implementing and promoting successful policies for your unique company.

 How to OpenWork

How to OpenWork: A Five-Step Process

Step 1. Identify Opportunities

Recognizing opportunities to improve business outcomes and boost employee satisfaction is the first step toward OpenWork. This requires employees at all levels look to the future, think outside the box and see challenges as possibilities. It also requires that managers and owners become open to creative solutions and straying from the status quo. Clinging to a “this is how we’ve always done it” mentality is in opposition to OpenWork.

Step 2. Engage and Empower Employees at Every Level

Once opportunities are identified, it’s crucial to engage team members up and down the chain with the spirit of OpenWork. Team members must trust managers to hear ideas and concerns, and managers must trust employees to be productive and results-oriented. Across the board, the focus must be on improving the company’s bottom line through measurable results and improved employee experiences.

Step 3. Test OpenWork Practices and Policies

Once opportunities are identified and employees are engaged, it’s time to test OpenWork practices. During this testing phase, it is important that specific, measurable goals or benchmarks be considered so that the effectiveness of the policies can be assessed and tweaked as necessary. Do work-from-home policies affect productivity? Do flexible hours policies reduce absenteeism? Does a focus on work-life balance and wellness lead to a decrease in turnover? These are the types of questions to keep in mind as you test OpenWork.

Step 4. Assess OpenWork Effectiveness

If you’ve implemented proper metrics during your testing phase, assessment should be relatively easy, and hopefully, you’ll see measurable, positive changes. If outcomes have not improved as expected, however, it’s crucial that stakeholders consider ways to tweak programs rather than abandoning OpenWork altogether. Simple changes may improve results significantly. For example, if work-from-home policies resulted in a dip in productivity, the reason may be shifting company technology needs (e.g. more Internet bandwidth or server power) and not out-of-sight-out-of-mind employees. If flexible hours negatively impact response times, perhaps a simple change in team assignments would get things back on track.

Step 5. Promote OpenWork Across the Organization

Communication and promotion of OpenWork policies is important, especially as new employees are on-boarded and existing employees change teams or roles. It’s not enough to have OpenWork policies on the books in name only, employees and managers must be champions of the practices and encouraged to take advantage of them. They should be a point of pride among the entire organization and a necessary component in achieving company goals.

The process of OpenWork is constantly evolving. If company priorities shift or policies become less effective, the process continues as you identify new opportunities and solutions. With this road map in place, selecting and implementing the right OpenWork practices for your firm becomes a clear and logical process that ensures you choose the right ideas and processes for your business — policies that will yield positive results for companies and employees alike. For inspiration about how companies in all different industries are planning out their own paths, visit OpenWork.org.