Regardless of what size facility you manage, you have likely seen your organization change dramatically over the last ten years. Between the shifting economy and the influx of new workers, companies are using this time as an opportunity to reinvent themselves, developing a workplace culture that can take them to new heights and greater expansion. Organizations are realizing that building a solid workplace culture is the key to attracting and retaining top talent, maximizing productivity and building winning numbers. Management expert Peter Drucker said it best-“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Those who wish to stay in the game long-term must define and refine their workplace culture, and then develop a strategy around it.
Who Is Your Company & What Does It Stand For?
The first step in building an effective workplace culture is for the facility managers to examine their company. Most companies have a mission statement and a core set of values. It is best to focus on defining the values and the mission of your company, since these may have evolved as your organization has evolved. Determine the overall goals you wish to accomplish and how you want your facility’s brand to be represented. This is the foundation of the company and defines what clients you will attract, as well as the talent you employ.
Who Are Your People?
Once the facility has determined the company brand, they must ensure they have the right people representing them. Your team is only as strong as its weakest link, so be sure you have built a solid foundation. Once you have the right employees working for you, your focus must turn to getting to know them, their demands and what motivates them as individuals. A recent Gallup poll revealed some harsh facts: “Worldwide, only 13% of employees are ‘engaged’ at work…they lack motivation and are less likely to invest in organizational goals or outcomes…they are unhappy, unproductive, and liable to spread negativity.” These numbers are staggering and only further prove that the companies that wish to maintain their competitive edge must turn their focus inward towards those that directly affect their success—the employees.
Those at the top would do best to keep in mind that the overall happiness and well-being of it’s employees starts with those in leadership positions. “When the interaction between the leadership and employees is good, the latter will make a greater contribution to team communication and collaboration, and will also be encouraged to accomplish the mission and objectives assigned by the organization, thereby enhancing job satisfaction.” -Yafang Tsai of BMC Health Services Research
Where Do You Go From Here?
Now that you have defined your company’s mission and have developed the culture based on what your organization stands for, your next role, as the facilities manager, is to ensure the workspace environment is conducive to all. We are becoming an increasingly mobile workforce, so companies are now forced to examine alternatives to the standard high-walled, enclosed environment. Cubicles are being abandoned for more open spaces in which teammates can engage and bounce ideas off each other. Their technical tools, including both hardware and facility management softwares, are conducive to these mobile needs, with options such as laptops and cloud-based software becoming the norm.
Some companies’ mobile needs are more extensive than others, depending on the industry they are a part of, what products they sell or design and the clients they serve. Companies must also examine the individuals that make up their workforce when considering their mobility. If your office is primarily comprised of Baby Boomers who still wish to check in at an office each day and prefer telephone and face-to-face meetings, then mobility is not as much of an issue. If yours is predominately a young office, your mobile needs will be much greater. The key is to be flexible and recognize that the needs of your workforce will continuously evolve.
Workplace culture is a major contributor to the health and happiness of facilities of every size and industry. The facility manager’s first focus is on working closely with executives to clearly define what they desire that culture to be. Once this has been determined, FMs can focus on passing along that vision to is employees and everyone can work together to build an environment that is inspiring and productive. One where each individual can get excited about what they are working towards. As the dynamics of the workspace and the tools available to us continue to evolve, so too will our environment. Creativity, planning and flexibility are what every FM needs to lead their facilities down this ever-changing path to greatness.
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published in June 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.