“What does a facilities manager do?” Ask most people in any organization this question and you’d likely receive responses ranging from custodial duties and turning wrenches to overseeing building upgrades. While facilities management leaders may do these things, they also do so much more. And while these FM misconceptions can be problematic, it’s especially dangerous when the C-suite also holds these misconceptions.
Facilities managers are often the unheralded jack-of-all-trades of an organization. They’re often involved in everything from curating and maintaining an optimal working environment to maximizing value and minimizing costs that directly affect the bottom line. Sometimes these professionals are even tasked with navigating and mitigating the environmental and legislative risks associated with operating a facility, and taking strides to attract and retain talent.
To help debunk the FM myths and help foster a closer connection between workplace leaders and the C-suite, we’re attacking four common misconceptions.
1. Facilities Management is Synonymous with Building Maintenance
It’s true: Sometimes facilities manager duties include building maintenance. But the role of a facilities manager is multifaceted. They are the stewards coordinating the big operational picture of a facility. FMs help maximize the efficiency, comfort and sustainability of your business while integrating people, place, process and technology.
The bottom line? It’s a much more complex job that goes far beyond basic building maintenance. The FM is the eyes and ears of the workforce, and can offer valuable insight to the C-suite when it comes time to make major changes or investments to the workplace.
2. Great FMs Can Be Effective Without an IWMS
If you expect your business to grow in profitability, your facilities manager absolutely needs an integrated workplace management system. FMs without an IWMS are like fish without fins — they’ll go belly up in the water without a way to navigate the ever-changing currents of your facility. An IWMS can be tailored to the needs of your company, and it gives facilities managers the ability to quickly assess efficient space usage, stay proactive on maintenance needs and management, track and identify energy waste, project facility needs, ensure building and data security, and so much more. In other words, an IWMS helps workplace leaders stay in-tune with all facets of the workplace and know when and where to optimize — which directly impacts your bottom line.
Want to learn more about choosing an IWMS? Check out The Ultimate IWMS Buyer’s Guide
3. FMs Don’t Need Professional Training
Top executives know it takes professional training to broaden a manager’s instinct and develop them into a top-notch leader. They also know running a department often requires specific certifications and education in the manager’s area of expertise. And this isn’t any different for workplace leaders.
Facilities management is a recognized profession with associations like IFMA in the United States and others around the world. Increasingly, colleges and universities are offering degrees in facilities management. Having an administrative resource or line manager in charge means your workplace and workforce won't get the attention they deserve, which could put the company at risk.
Make sure your facilities manager has all the required training, background and experience necessary for safe, effective stewardship — and provide ongoing educational opportunities to help them sharpen their skill set.
4. FMs Don’t Have a Place in the Boardroom
For too long, facilities managers were left out of the most important strategic decisions in a company. Fortunately, this has been changing as the C-suite recognizes the breadth of responsibility given to their workplace leaders.
FMs have access to unprecedented amounts of sensitive information and building data and can make a powerful ally to top executives. To leave them out of the boardroom is a mistake that will cost the C-suite money, time, security and employee engagement.
Don’t limit the potential resource and ally you have in your facilities manager by downplaying their role or shutting them out of strategic decisions. Your FM is a wealth of information about your company who you can’t afford to ignore.
Do your business a favor by ditching these obsolete ideas, and support your facilities manager as they strive to create the most productive and effective workplace for your team.