In our new series, we talk to our experts about how to navigate what’s next in their industries or fields.
Doug Riggle is a Manager for our People and Change practice with expertise in change management, engagement and culture, and organizational communications. He has worked in change management for 10 years and lives in central Ohio. In his spare time, Doug oversees an international nonprofit serving orphan, foster, refugee and at-risk kids.
What’s your story?
I began with Centric Consulting in January of 2020. I spent most of my career in the corporate world but decided to give consulting a try in 2018. I quickly began to enjoy the flexibility and the varied projects that I get to work on as a consultant while learning about different organizations and helping them excel.
My years of experience in organizational communications, culture, change management and employee engagement set me up for success at Centric.
What’s the best feedback you’ve ever received?
Everyone loves to give you feedback as an employee, as a consultant, as a person and more.
When your day is filled with executives, corporate buzz words and industry jargon, my best feedback came from an unlikely source, A.A. Milne (author of “Winne the Pooh”). He said, “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like, ‘What about lunch?’”
It’s a great reminder to me to connect with people as fellow humans and not try to sound impressive. Simple words can convey as much meaning as complex words. When trying to connect with others, make sure you use words that are mutually understood. And if you can do it over a meal, all the better!
Why did you decide to become part of your field?
I fell into it. When I graduated from college, I moved back to Ohio (from Texas) and was offered a job two days after moving back. I stayed with that company for 24 years and an unexpected career path. I started as a retirement plans consultant, then moved into corporate training and communication.
From there, I found myself part of the Y2K team in IT and managed communications for part of the company during that period. After that, I did project management work and then made it back into communications for a small IT HR team.
During that time, they asked me to get certified in Organizational Change Management, so I did and used that as a springboard for the rest of my corporate life.
After a three-year hiatus from the corporate world to focus on my own nonprofit, I again entered corporate life as the IT Communications Director for a large Fortune 20 company working for the CIO. A few years later, I transitioned into managing their global engagement and culture work before pivoting to my first contractor role.
All these experiences help me connect better with clients and help them address various issues within People and Change at Centric.
How are you guiding clients right now?
I just completed work with a client concerned about preserving their employee engagement, culture and productivity. Because of COVID-19, they realized they could save a great deal of money by permanently closing 20 of their offices globally.
We spent about 15 weeks with the client’s HR staff, consulting with them and training them on various tools to help employees function better in a virtual environment. We provided employees with a prerecorded webinar on healthy habits for working remotely.
To accompany that webinar, we authored and prerecorded two leadership webinars designed to help leaders understand how to lead teams virtually and build a connected virtual culture.
What, in your opinion, do companies need the most help with right now?
Most still need to do a better job helping employees navigate remote work. For some employees, it’s a dream come true — finally being able to work from home. But for many, they need the connections that come naturally in an office environment. Companies need to help employees learn to find new ways of connecting while working virtually.
What do you think they should be thinking about next?
What does the new normal look like? Many companies have resisted letting employees work remotely for years, and now they’ve discovered they can do that successfully! But not all jobs lend themselves to remote work. How do you operate in a blended office and virtual environment? It’s going to be a battle for the next several years that companies will need to address.
What are you looking forward to in your industry?
From a change management perspective, there are always new techniques that arise to help employees adopt a change. And now, communicating with a remote workforce will bring about new tools and new ways of interacting — it’s going to be a time where dependence on technology will be at an all-time high.
Successful use of that technology, however, depends on the people in charge. Employees are going to demand a more flexible environment as a result. COVID-19 has forever changed the landscape of companies globally.
While the initial change was rather painful, long-term, employees and companies will be broadening their scope as they move into the ability to conduct business anywhere.