10 Questions Facilities Managers Should Ask Their Customers

by Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers on June 12, 2014

One of your primary jobs as a facilities manager is ensuring that you have a strong, successful team, filled with individuals who are always striving to be the best. But, with so many facets to your organization and its team, this can be a challenging task. Details, such as who is working on what projects, as well as the levels of performance on certain tasks and progress towards meeting goals is what sets your entire company apart from the competition.

Still, the question remains; How do you ensure every team member is measuring up to company standards? Since self reflection is often a key to evaluating company performance, the answer starts with you. With this thought in mind, we have comprised a list of ten critical questions to ask each member of your team to make sure your employees are being provided the necessary tools to perform at the level you expect of them.

1. Are we paying enough attention to you?

One of the leading causes of employee turnover stems from lack of attention to employees and their needs. “It’s common knowledge that when people feel respected, organizations reap the benefits of better retention and job performance—not to mention profits.” Ask any employee and they will tell you their leaders should “talk less; listen more.” We have always been told to leave our personal life at the door when we enter our workplace. While this is true on many levels, it is very difficult for many to do. Being a top leader means viewing your employees as people, not just a number. Express your human side by showing empathy and working to build relationships. The results will come back to you ten-fold. You will build a level of trust that will become the foundation of your working relationship. Your workforce will know you care and that they can come to you with anything. The results will shine through in their drive to work hard and produce for you.

2. What prevents you from becoming a more effective leader or team player?

This question ties directly into question #1. Talk to your workforce and, most importantly, listen to them. Find out what needs are not being met and what is preventing your employees from being the best that they can be. This could range anywhere from a workspace in need of a renovation or tools that are difficult to use, all the way down to you being an uninspiring leader. Keep in mind we all have areas of improvement and must be willing to change and grow with employees. Lead by example and the rest will follow.

3. Are we changing as fast as the world around us?

With companies seeing up to 60% of their workforce comprised of Millennials, it is no surprise that organizations must stay current with the latest trends. The younger generation does not know a world without technology and information, which is readily available with the click of a button. Rather than simply looking at them as newbies with nothing to bring to the table, you stand to gain much valuable information from them by just listening to thoughts, grievances or suggestions. After all, it is not just our employees who expect us to stay current with the latest trends in resources and technology—our clients do as well. The key to attracting and maintaining top talent is to work closely with department heads and team members to ensure everyone’s needs are being met through the tools they are provided. Ours is a fast-paced, ever-changing world and it is critical we stay current to remain relevant.

4. How likely is it that our employees would recommend our company to a friend or colleague for employment?

This is a very important question for facilities managers to ask and the answer you receive provides valuable insight into how happy your employees are. Employees have realized that, in many aspects, they have the upper hand. If they are unhappy, there is always another company seeking out their skills, waiting to jump on the opportunity to scoop them up. If they are likely to recommend your company to their friends and colleagues, you are doing something right. If they are not, make it your mission to uncover what it is your facility is doing wrong and find solutions to those problems. The solutions may require initial out-of-pocket expenses, but the investment will yield big returns in the long-run.

5. Do we have the right people/positions on the bus?  If not, what types of people would you look for?

This is not about a popularity contest, but rather a great tool to ensure you have the right people in the right positions, all working together as a well-oiled machine. Each of us have strengths and weaknesses that vary from the next person. The key is aligning those traits with the position that best suits the individual and what they bring to the table, while still encouraging growth. It is critical that every employee know their role in the company, as well as the goals of the company, as a whole. Collaboration is a valuable tool in today’s competitive marketplace. Build teams that spark such collaboration and encourage it daily. By diversifying your team, you gain a fresh perspective and help your team create bold new ideas.

6. “How can we become more high-tech but still be high touch?”  -James Champy 

There is such an emphasis on technology in today’s workspace, that we often lose touch of the human side. While employees demand access to the latest technological tools, they still need that human caring and interaction. The customers they serve need this personal touch as well and your team is much more likely to pass it along if they are receiving it from their co-workers and superiors. In the words of Dr. Theodore Rubin “Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.”

7. Whom among your colleagues do you trust, and for what?

The foundation of any relationship is honesty and trust. The last thing any employee wants to feel is as if their efforts are not being given the credit they deserve or are being overshadowed by an overly demonstrative colleague. Your teammates also want to know they can contribute ideas and feedback on work related issues without fear of retribution. And while you want your team to be hard working and driven, you do not want your team to be comprised of individuals who are willing to do whatever it takes to gain a position right out from under someone. Find out who is trusted, who is not and why. Not only does this keep the line of communication open, you may also find that it clears up any misconceptions amongst employees, further strengthening the team bond.

8. Are you satisfied with your current role? What incentives could improve productivity?

There is a lot to be gained from the answers to this valuable question. On the one hand, you can determine who might be unhappy in their current role and head off any issues before they start to get out of hand. As previously mentioned, if someone is not feeling fulfilled in their position, they may seek employment elsewhere. It would be unfortunate to lose a valuable team member over issues that could have been addressed with a simple question.

Aside from employee retention, your question may spark a conversation that sheds further light into who each employee is as a person. Talents may be uncovered that were previously unknown and you may find that a reorganization of the team is in order. At the very least, you are strengthening your rapport with your workforce and gain more insight into where each employee is struggling the most.

9. How do you like to be motivated?

The 21st century workforce is comprised of four generations of employees. Each generation was raised in a different environment and have their own set of values and expectations. Because of the differences, companies are having to reinvent their workspace to accommodate each worker, ensuring productivity is at a maximum. Find out what makes your workforce “tick” and ensure they are each provided with what they need to be inspired and motivated. Some changes may be in order, but your facility will reap the rewards for years to come.

10. Do you have the opportunity to maximize your potential every day?

This question can garner some valuable information regarding every aspect of your company. While one team member may feel fully supported in their position, another may make a suggestion for you to send a follow-up email after each weekly meeting to summarize any changes in process or goals. On a broader level, you may find that everyone in a particular department feels they are lacking the proper training and support to do their job properly. Whatever the answers may be, we often find that the suggestions are an opportunity to strengthen you as a leader, your teammates as individuals and your company as a whole.

As the facilities manager, you find yourself interacting with each member of your organization regularly. If you do not understand who your team members are, you likely need to start with understanding yourself in order to improve overall company morale and productivity. You are considered a leader within the company and your teammates look to you for guidance and help. This means taking a genuine interest in how the facility is run and how performance could be improved. Hopefully, the answers to these questions will help in evaluating where you stand and what areas need improvement. It is critical you collect feedback from every level of your team, as they are involved in the day-to-day duties and interactions, often in many different ways than you could have initially imagined. Use all your tools, including the most important part; the human element.


Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers

Tiffany covers leadership and marketing topics and enjoys learning about how technology shapes our industry. Before iOFFICE, she worked in local news but don't hold that against her.

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