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4 min read

6 Steps For Planning a Successful Headquarters Project

6 Steps For Planning a Successful Headquarters Project

You don’t have to read news headlines to realize the future of banking headquarters is changing fast. Between digital transformation initiatives and remote work trends accelerated by the pandemic—there’s a new flow in the office—one that’s pushing to accommodate hybrid employees, meet multi-generational workforce needs, attract talent, and offer a better company culture.

In the midst of this evolution, financial executives are questioning how to best utilize corporate space because depending on growth projections, their headquarters may need to change in square footage, relocate, or undergo a complete remodel. Improper planning at this stage, unfortunately, could result in wasted capital investments along with a lot of unnecessary employee tension. HQ-Zen-Instagram

What do you want to see your headquarters look like in the next decade?

That’s a question we like to ask at DBSI, because after 25 years of partnerships with banks and credit unions on construction and redesign projects, we know the transformation game. 

If a headquarters transformation is in the future for your financial institution (FI), we have a useful guide you can download called “The Journey to Zen” to help you begin. Additionally, here are six steps you can take to make sure you’ll be set up for productivity, growth, and maximum ROI as you navigate your transformation project:

#1. Assess Your Current Situation.

Before devising any corporate goals and objectives, you need to first take a look at your financial institution’s historical data and make accurate growth projections. Consider your recruitment and retention initiatives, what kind of job candidates you’re attracting, and how a headquarters transformation could change the quality of your talent pool.

Next, assess the space requirements of your headquarters. How have things changed with the advent of hybrid and remote work and the presence of a multi-generational employee base? The interior may need a new layout and include features such as multi-functional desk spaces, breakout rooms, quiet zones, and digital signage. On the other hand, maybe you’re outgrowing the headquarters office and you need an entirely new space built.

Aside of space, take a look at company culture. Does your headquarters reflect your FI’s mission and core beliefs? Is it time for a rebranding? These are important questions to ask as you plan a headquarters transformation.


 More than 66% of banks offer staff fully remote or hybrid working arrangements. (Q1 2023 Flex Report, Scoop)


#2. Make the Case. What Are the Risks of Not Transforming?

When it comes to employee recruitment and retention today, competition is fierce, as the U.S. has been seeing one of the tightest labor pools in years. Since the Great Resignation, employees have been reshaping their value propositions and what they want the future of work to look like. Besides expecting more innovative environments, they want flexible work-life arrangements and better workplace culture—not to mention—better compensation.

All things considered, the risks of not transforming your headquarters office means that you may not attract enough high-quality talent into your FI to grow your network. And if you don’t grow your network, you lose profits. 


82% of office professionals believe companies can’t encourage innovation without an innovative workplace design and environment. (Capital One)


#3. Eliminate the Unknown and Get Answers to Pressing Questions.

Moving forward with a headquarters transformation cannot start until you’re able to answer some key questions about your FI and its growth goals and objectives. Here are the biggest questions to ask: 

  • What are the anticipated improvements to our organization?
  • What department adjacencies should be considered and designed into spaces?
  • What efficiencies and growth objectives should be designed into spaces?
  • What is the right investment amount, scope, size, and timeline of this transformation, and why?
  • How long is the building capacity expected to last?

To help you answer these questions in more detail, DBSI has a helpful analysis tool called FAQtor7, which provides data-driven answers for your most pressing transformation-oriented questions. This proprietary tool uses algorithms based on financial markets, design-build experience, knowledge of industry trends, and a

thoroughly tested QA process.

Find out here how DBSI piloted Together CU through an extensive feasibility study that led them to purchasing and remodeling a 128,000-square-foot building for their new headquarters in St. Louis


#4. Get Your Board on Board

After you’ve looked at historical data and completed research, you need to get stakeholders involved in your transformation planning. Be prepared to show project timelines, budget, design concepts, and branding objectives. It will also be helpful to discuss the transformation’s longevity; most headquarters modifications last about ten years before they become outdated.

Besides working with stakeholders, getting your FI’s staff on board with transformation planning is a critical process element. Find out what they need in the workplace to accomplish tasks effectively and to feel welcome and valued. What do they need to complete individual and group work? How do the spaces accommodate hybrid and remote work? What could be added to invigorate work culture? Overall, having open, honest conversations with all staff members about your transformation planning is one of the best ways to assure long-term success.


Companies with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable and 17% more productive than those with low employee engagement. (Gallup)


#5. Execute Your Plan Flawlessly

Once you have a transformation plan in place and you’ve gotten board approval, you’re ready for the next step. Keep in mind, however, that this is actually a stage of transformation in which many projects tend to hit roadblocks due to communication errors, budget constraints, and designer-contractor disputes. But don’t let the observations scare you…

If you’ve chosen a design-build firm like DBSI as a project partner, this stage should be fairly hands-off for you, as the responsibility of advising contractors, handling permits, and managing project oversight rests with the design-build firm.DSC03614GECU Headquarters


GECU in El Paso hired DBSI to build a new 40,000-square-foot headquarters plus an enhanced parking lot … and DBSI exceeded their expectations. Learn more in the case study here.



We understand the stresses that come with moving in and out of a space, and we want to ensure the effects of the transformation are realized and communicated effectively to your staff.

That's why we created a Strategic Relocation Services program to handle all the communication and details of the move so everyone understands the timelines, the why behind the move, and how it is going to be executed. With detailed preparation and cohesive communication, we can make the final stage of your transformation a seamless experience.

This program is highly recommended by our DBSI team, and has been received with rave reviews from our clients.






Move Your Headquarters Project Ahead with DBSI


Making design changes to a headquarters location isn’t for the faint of heart, and that’s why partnering with a design-build firm like DBSI can help you align your goals, design spaces with data-backed objectives, and onboard your team in a positive, informed manner. To get started on your headquarters transformation journey, please contact us here to schedule a complimentary 30-minute strategy session. 


54% of employees see their company’s mission and values as the key aspects that shape their experience as employees. (Quantum Workplace) 


Together, let's bring the vision for your future to life!

Through DBSI’s carefully curated professional service programs, we can help shift your staff’s culture, processes, job descriptions, and so much more.