How to Empower Your Facilities Team to Be Workplace Superstars

by Rebecca Symmank on March 13, 2019

Under Armour makes apparel that helps athletes stay comfortable and perform their best. And just like a good moisture-wicking tee or a pair of compression socks, the company’s facilities management team equips its 16,000 employees to do their best work.

Unfortunately, in the course of managing 40 facilities, the team was starting to feel more like an accessory than an integral part of the organization, said Brendan Robinson, director of facilities and operations.

“Our facilities team was putting toilet paper in the bathrooms, putting out a fire, raising the heat when someone was cold,” Robinson said in a talk he gave at an IFMA conference. “They didn’t really understand the impact they gave to the organization and how they could affect the bottom line.”

Sound familiar?

Here are three ways Robinson empowered his team to feel more like star athletes invested in the organization’s success. (To hear it from him, check out the video below.)

Show Them Where They Fit Into the Mission

As the facility management industry evolves, FMs are contributing more to strategic business objectives.

It’s important to communicate this to your team so they don’t just feel like they’re being asked to do more and more tasks, but are actually adding more value. To help his team stay focused on their contributions, Robinson wrote a list on a whiteboard of all the ways in which the facilities management team helps Under Armour meet its goals:

  1. Optimizing Facilities Costs
  2. Regulating Compliance
  3. Ensuring the Built Environment Supports Business Operations
  4. Reducing Enterprise Risk
  5. Maximizing Asset Value
  6. Delivering Amazing Experiences to Current and Potential Accounts
  7. Facilitating Internal Meetings and Product Displays
  8. Delivering World-Class Amenities To Our Teammates

You can do the same exercise with your FM team. This shouldn’t be a one-time talk, but an ongoing theme of your team meetings. During those meetings, you can share specific examples of how team members have gone above and beyond to contribute in a certain area.

You can also apply these strategic objectives to employee performance reviews or bonuses.

Show Them The Metrics

It’s one thing to remind your FM team members that their contributions matter, but actually showing them is even more powerful.

Take the time to discuss facilities management metrics that align with your company’s objectives and keep everyone updated on the progress you’re making.

This is easy to do if you’re using an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) that includes dashboard reporting.

Dashboards should be visible to everyone on your team and set up in a way that’s easy to read—and addictive to check.

You can set up custom dashboards with the information that’s most relevant to you and your team. For instance, your facilities management dashboard might include:

  • The number of work orders by request type
  • Number of work orders for reactive maintenance vs. scheduled maintenance
  • Maintenance costs by building
  • Which assets and buildings have required a higher than average number of service requests

Dashboards are a powerful way to keep score of how your team is performing and identify areas for improvement. And they can be eye-opening.

For instance, Under Armour’s FM team strives to change every light bulb within 24 hours of receiving a service request. But when Robinson looked at the data, he noticed some requests were taking several weeks to fulfill because they required special lighting fixtures that are too expensive to keep in stock. Knowing that information, the FM team can now give employees a more realistic idea of what to expect when they make a request.

Give Them The Tools to Be Proactive

Few things are more frustrating than knowing something needs to be fixed but not having the right tools to fix it.

This was how Under Armour’s facilities management team felt before implementing iOFFICE. Without access to real-time space utilization data and facilities information, it was difficult for the team to make the adjustments they needed to identify available space, plan moves to accommodate new employees and address service requests.

The previous process for service tickets was inefficient and cumbersome. First, the team would receive a ticket in the service management software. Then a team member would have to open a new ticket in a separate property management software; finally, the team member would have to call the correct operator to let them know there was an open ticket. Now that the company is using iOFFICE’s facility maintenance software, the ticket automatically routes to the right team member’s mobile device so they can address it right away.

Using mailroom management software also reduced manual processes and gave the team the ability to track undelivered packages.

These are just a few examples of how technology has empowered the facilities management team at Under Armour.

Robinson said it has made a huge difference in both the productivity and morale of his team. They’re able to be more responsive to the needs of the organization, which has improved collaboration and the overall employee experience at Under Armour.

“Our team is happy,” he said. “They’re motivated. They understand what’s important to them. They know how to prioritize, and they’re engaged. We’ve seen a lot less time between when employees start with the organization and when they are fully effective.”


Rebecca Symmank

As a member of the Business Development team for iOFFICE, Rebecca is spirited and is quick to take initiative. Previously a customer and daily user of the IWMS provider, she has extensive experience on both the front and back end structure of the product. Rebecca's enthusiasm for facilities management and her tangible experience in the field give her an unprecedented understanding and perception of iOFFICE customers. Rebecca is able to relate to organizations implementing on IWMS, and has a unique perspective on what makes the experience a success.

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