A Semiconductor Company – New Workplace Project and Go Green Program Management

“I sincerely believe that your gruelingly detailed planning and continued attention to all details, big and small, made this a very successful move; Well Above my expectations. I was surprised at how few issues we had and am very pleased with how quickly they have been addressed. You have demonstrated to the engineers that they matter on an individual basis and are not just some group of “resources.” — Steve, Director of Design and Engineering 

A semiconductor company was faced with major business challenges and the need to sell off real-estate quickly to gain at least $150MM of capital to fund critical operations. In addition, they had to reduce operating expenses by at least $5MM per year. These targets were developed to avoid bankruptcy and/or a hostile buy-out.

The specific challenges of this project included:

  • 12-Months to Implement. Due to the business conditions and need to realize capital, the semiconductor company had less than 12 months to take their 2,200+ workforce out of existing real-estate across three campuses in the Central Texas area as well as several satellite offices and move into two buildings on their Southwest Austin, Texas campus.
  • The Entire Workforce Was Impacted. The entire Central Texas workforce of 2,200+ was impacted by this project and every employee including the executive team had to be moved in less than 12 months.
  • Real Estate Footprint was Reduced by 50% and Space Needed to Consolidate in to was Occupied by Their Own Employees. The entire workforce had to be moved into already occupied spaces, so the challenge was to tear down and rebuild within existing spaces with minimal work disruptions and time out of the office.
  • Employee Commute Times Were 2-4x Higher. Employee commute times to the new location would be 2-4x greater in length so the decision was extremely unpopular as employees would be spending more time in their vehicles getting to work.
  • Retention was at an all-time low. Employee Retention numbers with regards to turn-over were at an all-time high BEFORE the change was instituted. Attracting and retraining employees was already a challenge before the project was proposed.
  • No capital to purchase new equipment or furniture. Due to budget constraints, the existing furniture set had to be reconfigured and reused vs. a new furniture set purchased.
  • Leadership was not ‘all-in’. The leadership of the organization (especially engineering and design divisions) were opposed to the project and resistant to any telework or mobile office designs, open work spaces, or reducing the size of employees and managers offices and cubes.

The scope of the project included:

  • Program/project/contractor managementOverall program management including managing the outcomes of multiple subcontractors who were responsible for architectural and engineering deliverables, the contractor hired to complete the packing and relocations, and every division of the company including HR, IT, Sales, Marketing, Engineering, Accounting, Administration, and Executive Leadership Team.
  • Stakeholder assessment and management of stakeholders before, during, and after the project
  • Communications including development of a communications strategy, plan, and execution of said communications
  • An abbreviated business readiness assessment with Senior Executives to identify issues that could put project success at risk
  • A detailed organizational work plan to be executed over a 12-month period including pre- during- and post-move success analytics based on key performance metrics
  • A training and engagement plan pre/during/post move including both employees and contractors.

Specific Achievements included:

  • The Thrival Company facilitated and managed the sale of more than $20MM of equipment assets and supported a multi-campus facility consolidation of 2K+ employees and contractors that allowed for a real-estate divestiture of $165MM and an operating expense savings of $9MM+ and delivering on our commitment of completing the project in the 12-month window specified.
  • Creating, delivering, training, coaching and supporting the CEO, CFO and Senior Vice-Presidents (SVPs) through each change process. From one-to-one briefings with SVP’s to monthly meetings of leadership, The Thrival Company was at the table and facilitating and coaching to support all conversations on these projects.  The level of interaction with the leadership and visibility to confidential company performance was so extensive that Thrival was prohibited from buying or trading any company stock during this project.
  • Development, design, management and coaching support for the multiple award-winning Go Green Global Initiative and the North American Mobile Workforce Telework Initiative.
  • Creation and execution of a comprehensive communication materials, training courses, internal community page, and engagement meetings. Producing quarterly and annual reports to senior management as well as creating copy, scripts, trainings, and communication materials for the 4,000 plus personnel globally through multiple media modes (Intranet, Internet, Video, PowerPoint, Posters, Memorandums, etc.).
  • Development of pilot facilities to ‘try the new work spaces,’ get feedback, and enable re-design BEFORE any capital spend or build time was realized.
  • Every employee at the semiconductor company today sits in an entirely new office space designed around a neighborhood concept, very different from their former work spaces AND satisfaction with those spaces tested higher AFTER the move than the original work spaces they were moved from despite losing 50% of their office space and moving to an open work environment.
  • Developed department and division level engagement models instead of ‘one-size fits all’ models used by other organizations as models for getting work done can vary widely across departments.  For example, the engineering business units did not want to make decisions independent of each other.  They were highly collaborative and required a structure that provided frequent opportunities for them to review, discuss, and collaborate.  They also did not want any of the decision-making delegated to others.  Other groups, such as facilities division, preferred to have a very small and high-level team meet, plan, and then be told what needed to be done, versus a larger group of stakeholders collaborating to reach a decision.