GSA – Bureau of Reclamation

GSA sought expertise in facilities and workplace solutions to ensure customer, Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), obtained relevant and state-of-the art expert advice and assistance in the development and implementation of facility and space changes and improvements.

We lead the project which included four (4) phases:

Engagement Planning

Diagnostic Research

Workplace Development Program

Communication Planning and Change Management


Our facilitation, engagement planning and strategy development focuses on clarity of the “as is” by distilling data and diagnostic research into insights and impact about the current state. Often, stakeholders have different perspectives and assessments of various problem sets, and it is important to gather and study this data through research, one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and even large facilitated sessions. We then guided the customer toward a compelling vision of the future state. For an outcome to be reached successfully, the customer must be thoroughly aligned to a vision and plan and understood by all stakeholders involved. Coordinated actions can only occur after there is alignment on the shared perspective and intent. We focused on enabling GSA and its customer to progress smoothly through change and feel enrolled in the process.

We understand that clients have different working styles, preferences, needs, and capabilities and know that PBS is a customer-focused, value driven service provider and draws its credibility from satisfying its federal agency customers. The Building People Team partnered with GSA to create and support implementation of the solutions required for workplace engagement strategies and achieving results.

Phase 1: Engagement Planning

In the Engagement Planning phase, we enrolled agency leadership and key stakeholders from a variety of perspectives (facilities, finance, human capital, and technology) to align their real estate goals, space and design guidelines, and overall structure with mission requirements. During this phase our team will review the customer agency’s standards, guidelines and potential constraints and created a customer profile identifying, inventory square footage, staff counts, utilization rates and any other pertinent information. We solicited stakeholder involvement throughout the project.

As depicted in the Change Commitment Curve (Figure 1), we began our project with an assessment of critical stakeholders, including their level of awareness or commitment to the organization and/or initiatives, and how they will affect each group differently.

Phase 2: Diagnostic Research

Successful workplace strategy efforts are grounded not just in a strong vision and stakeholder buy-in, but also on research, best practices, and lessons learned from those who have gone through similar efforts. The Building People Team researched the customer agency’s current and desired future work patterns – referenced current trends, mandates, facts, and synthesized Congressional and Executive directives relevant to the customer agency to provide date and information to make informed decisions about workplace design, engaging with staff and maintaining or increasing operational effectiveness during the workplace transition. gain additional context for program success. On-Site Research efforts, included site visits, focus groups, walk-throughs, and employee interviews to paint a clearer picture of the current state of the agency’s workplace and inform the most appropriate opportunities for future space standards, design guidelines, and transformation. We utilized a comprehensive Employee Workplace Survey to effectively identify current work patters and workforce dynamics. Over a 2-week period, we lead 30 focus groups, 8 Visioning Sessions, and 8 leadership sessions collecting and analyzing information from approximately 300 BOR personnel. Conducted a site survey of the facility and completed a workplace scorecard on the space.

Our Employee Workplace Survey Analytical Report provided analytical insights that identified key themes, assessed scale and intensity of issues and major pain points, distinguished issues of perception from issues of fact, and established root causes of any concerns.

Using a balanced scorecard approach to capture and analyze financial, business process, customer, and human capital information, we designed and facilitated a Visioning Session with leadership and to discuss their vision for future workplace and associated workplace sustainability. We reviewed multi-year goals, objectives and measures; identified risks and challenges; and cost savings analysis including estimated square footage reductions/savings and specifically an effort to maximize utilization while reducing the footprint. Our team of experts recognized that the complexity surrounding the application of utilization measurements (see Figure 4) and leveraged our team’s expertise in defining the variables that enabled us to gain greater accuracy on space.

Using a Work Pattern Methodology, we gained an understanding of the customer’s current and future work patterns of their employees and augmented that with data gathered in the Expert Walk -Through used to observe and document attributes of the workplace.

Phase 3: Workplace Development Program

Using the data collected and incorporating best practices and lessons learned, we identified scalable recommendations and alternatives for the customer’s workplace strategy. The strategy considered organizational readiness, current and future mobility policies, availability of IT systems and tools, and agency needs, goals, and financial constraints. Conceptual drawings and illustrative photographs of various types of space and neighborhood layouts were provided reflective of the work patterns identified as well as a mix of workstation types, optional workstation layouts, space utilization options and enhancements, furniture options, meeting/conference rooms and collaborative areas, etc.

Using this information conducted a National Workplace Strategic Brief with recommendations for conventional and alternative workplace strategies tailored specifically to the customer’s needs and requirements. Conceptual drawings and sample photographs capturing the essence of future space configurations and workplace setups that align with the customer agency’s work patterns and workplace characteristics were developed.

Phase 4: Communication Planning and Change Management Assistance

The overriding goal of a good Change Management strategy is to align leadership, build commitment, and facilitate effective communication to key stakeholders. It should effectively influence decision making, levels of acceptance versus resistance, and perceptions and expectations. Gaining buy-in for large scale change initiatives requires consistent and clear messaging, managing managers who are charged with supporting the desired change, and driving results.

We understand that a critical part of the Change Management Strategy is the Communication Plan. We created a Workplace Change communication and the refinement project Communication Plan to ensure a coordinated, consistent, and cascading change message over time. This included development of the “who, why, what, when, and how” of the project. Our change management and communication experts employees a change management and strategic communication methodology that identifies target audiences, desired outcomes, key messages, synchronized timing, and delivery mechanisms.

Our plan focused beyond cost savings and framed the change as a people initiative that benefits them, such as: reduction in commute time and expense, ability to meet new people through hot-desking / hoteling, more meeting or collaboration space, etc.

The Building People Team together with GSA will presented the customer with the communication plan and identified why change management is important to leadership to gain buy-in, drive adoption, and promote modeling of behaviors from the top.

Risk When Change is Not Managed

  • Productivity declines
  • Passive resistance escalates
  • Active resistance emerges and sabotages change
  • Valued employees leave the organization
  • Morale deteriorates
  • Projects go over budget and past their deadline
  • Employees find workarounds to avoid new way
  • Divides are created in the organization between ‘us’ and ‘them’