The foundation of Facilities Management is built on great communication - it is fundamental to the development of good business practice. FM not only needs great communication as a base to build from, but this approach also needs to filter up and down the chain of workers in FM to create solid interpersonal links. Improving communication within the FM industry has a knock on effect to improving job efficiency, knowledge and time management. So what are the key ways to improve communication in this sector?1. Awareness
Firstly, awareness and actively open communication in FM leads to better team management and clearer goals. With the multiple management levels within the FM industry - communication can become strained and difficult from workers to managers. Awareness builds on the idea that people will execute jobs more efficiently if they are aware of the goals teams are aiming for and what is needed to achieve them. Communicating to your staff clearly what expectations are is a great start to making them aware of the work involved and to feel included and valued. This awareness is critical as Craig Chapman from The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors highlights “Cleaners and engineers provide vital services (...) but are unaware of contract or finances. Lack of understanding usually results in disengagement and a blinkered view of what one does.”
It goes without saying that listening is integral to every industry, but in FM it’s role is central to creating good work practice. Communicating with different team members and taking their input means also means valuing them as individuals. Valued team members will evidently be more interested in their work and more active in their role. Listening may often be undervalued - but opening up to what others around you are saying creates trust in a business environment. Giri Prasad Ramamoorthy, Site Operations Lead at Caterpillar reinforces the idea of how integral listening is to the FM industry. He mentions that “Except for the physical work, all other chains are linked by communication. If the customer communicates their requirements correctly, the helpdesk can communicate with brevity to the technician who can execute the work accordingly.”
3. Define your Methods
Deciding your methods of communication and working with them is an important decision. Your business's approach should be seamless - and therefore once you find what works, stick with it. This doesn’t mean not being open to change, but simply to keep communication effective and smart. If weekly meetings help to build morale amongst your team or email communication seems the best way to contact a worker, then go with that. It is important to find the solutions that work best for you and your FM company - so that everyone involved feels on board and prepared to work towards the same goals.
4. Embrace new ideas
Technology is developing digital spaces that are opening up new ways of working. Applications and cloud based market software is revolutionising the way that we communicate. In the FM industry this means communication can be faster, smoother and more efficient. Saving companies time and money. Be open to contributions and ideas from staff of how to use new tech and therefore refashion the way your business works. The best tech will seamlessly integrate your digital and face to face communications - to simplify, not complicate.
5. Plan for the future
In terms of utilising tech, the best way to secure good communication is to plan for the future. As the digital world evolves, we will have to change with it but planning for the short-term and long-term future ensures great communication between teams and businesses. Define what your business focuses on and ensure that you have great technology behind it, be constantly on the outlook for new and developing tech that may help ensure your business is ahead of the game in terms of communication in FM. This not only ensures that your company is unique, but also that your inter-communication is creating a great foundation to work from.
All in all, great communication in the FM industry starts with the ways that you establish communication within your business but extends way beyond that. From face to face meetings, webinars, emails to chat software - find the best way that works for you and embrace it. Make sure to utilise new technology but do not let digital software eclipse the need to improve standard methods of communication.