The Best Advice for Women in Facilities Management
Breaking into a male-dominated space like facilities management can be difficult for women. While the number of female facilities managers has been steadily increasing, the role is still primarily held by men.
To excel in the facilities management sphere, women must be bold, innovative and not afraid to break new ground. Here are four tips female facilities managers can use to prove just how valuable they are.
1. Use Predictive Analytics
Data is a facility manager’s secret weapon, arming them with the hard evidence they need to justify their decisions. Thanks to workplace technology like the space management software, having access to real-time data is easier than ever. But if you’re only looking at space utilization metrics, you’ll never be able to see the full picture of your workplace.
Enter predictive analytics.
With predictive analytics, managers have insight into both micro and macro elements of facilities management. This approach leverages historical information about business operations in order to accurately predict possible future issues and create plans to address them. The increased visibility allows facilities management pros to identify potential risks, find opportunities for improvement and make confident, data-driven decisions about how to best manage an organization’s facilities. For instance, they can identify traffic patterns in each area of the workplace to determine which areas are being underutilized and determine whether changing the layout would increase productivity.
2. Have the Ability to Overcome Employee Resistance to Change
One of the biggest challenges facilities management pros face is implementing new changes in the workplace. This could be starting a new process for entering service requests or installing new technology. But forfeiting in the face of resistance simply isn’t an option if a facilities manager wants to make a positive impact.
To increase the likelihood of success, facilities management pros should understand the underlying causes of the opposition. For example:
- Insufficient communication regarding the reason for the change
- Previous experience with failed initiatives in the past
- Apprehension about how the change will affect the employee’s role and the possibility of losing his or her job
Recognizing why employees aren’t enthusiastic about embracing changes in the workplace enables facilities managers to proactively plan ways to address these concerns.
3. Embrace the Evolution of The Facilities Management Role
Because the elements of facilities management are constantly expanding, the role of facilities manager becomes increasingly complex. And facilities management pros who don’t recognize and embrace how the position has changed will inadvertently decrease their value to the organization.
Rather than being simply a service provider, facilities management pros must become strategic partners. To accomplish this goal, they must expand their skillset beyond the traditional duties of a facilities professional. This includes:
- Developing a risk mitigation plan to reduce the impact of expected and unexpected issues in the workplace, from preventive maintenance to security concerns
- Protecting the integrity of the company’s brand by ensuring workspaces are well-organized and employees have what they need to be productive
- Creating standard procedures for proper environmental, health and safety management to create a safe and healthy workplace that is dedicated to sustainability
- Measuring relevant facilities management metrics to demonstrate success to the C-Suite
4. Know How to Speak to the C-Suite
The executive team may recognize the importance of facilities management. But because they are more focused on high-level strategy, they are likely less concerned about the day-to-day requirements for effective workplace management.
To get buy-in from the C-suite, you need to know the best way to approach the conversation. This means:
- Being confident and prepared. Have objective data to support your statements and be ready to field any questions an executive has without hesitation.
- Speaking their language. Don’t use facilities management-specific jargon. Explain issues in terms they understand, such as real estate, equipment and personnel.
- Provide only the most important information. Prove you understand how valuable the executive’s time is by leaving out any unnecessary details.
Using an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) that allows you to quickly compile reports on things like space and asset utilization can help you ensure you’re always prepared for an impromptu conversation.
As you encounter challenges and setbacks on your journey to becoming an extraordinary facilities manager, keep this advice in mind. And most importantly: remember that you’re tough, capable and have the skills to own every aspect of facilities management.