If years of working with facilities managers has taught us anything, it’s that nearly every organization faces two challenges:
The key to solving these concerns is twofold: First, the organization needs technology that provides accurate data in real time and allows FMs to plan for the future. Second (and most importantly), FMs need constant and unwavering support from the C-suite.
Today, we’re going to take a look at how FMs can forge a greater bond with the leadership team and earn the support they need to drive positive change.
Like you, the C-suite is busy. They’re pulled in a thousand directions, and often have difficulty determining whether a department needs their attention and support unless it’s either explicitly stated. In other words, you can’t expect the leadership team to come to you.
Take time to understand their goals. Where are they focusing the majority of their time and effort? Are they looking to expand? Increase revenue? Decrease turnover? Once you understand what they’re looking to accomplish in both the short and long term, you can position your efforts as a solution. Share your plans and visions for increasing energy efficiency, improving the workspace to make employees happier and removing roadblocks to productivity.
By sharing your well-formed plans, you can achieve buy-in from leadership
Not so long ago, a job in facilities management meant working almost entirely behind the scenes. To everyone else, you were responsible for making sure the floors were clean, walls were painted and all systems were operating correctly.
But there’s been a shift in the last couple of decades. Cubicles disappeared in favor of open, more collaborative spaces. Technology evolved rapidly, and became a crucial element of the workspace. Telecommuting and flexible hours became the norm. Business leaders quickly realized that to attract and retain top talent, they needed to provide a workspace that fulfilled the needs of the workforce.
This shift brought FMs front and center. Seemingly overnight, their job description expanded to include technology and ergonomics.
As a facilities manager, you must communicate to your leadership team that like a competitive salary and benefits, the workplace is a direct reflection of leadership’s respect for its employees. Creating workspaces that are productive, collaborative and fun supports the C-suite’s goal of increasing profitability and driving productivity.
When it comes to the C-suite, numbers speak louder than words. If you want access to better resources, you need to break it down through facts and stats.
For example, share information about space utilization. For example, how much space is being used at any given time? Which spaces are being used the least? Pinpoint the inefficiencies and share how you’ll be able to resolve these concerns with the proper support. Real estate is one of an organization’s most significant expenses, so any way you’re able to optimize space utilization will likely earn your leadership team’s full attention.
Depending on the size and structure of your business, obtaining the support you need from leadership can take time and persistence. In addition to using the above strategies for finding common ground, look to see how other FMs are working successfully with their C-suites.
Join LinkedIn groups, get involved in organizations like IFMA and talk to other department heads within your company to learn how they’ve been able to establish open communication with the C-suite.
More often than not, the more innovative the company, the more in-tune the C-suite is with their facilities leader’s efforts. Taking time to share your plans and your needs can help forge a bond that drives powerful and lasting change in your organization—and makes your job much easier.
Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.