As the factors influencing the success of our workspace evolve, the Facilities Manager’s professional realm can be likened to that of the Wild West. With increasingly more individuals putting themselves first, adopting an “every man for himself” attitude, the FM’s role has become much like that of the Cowboy, instilling commitment and values in their colleagues, bringing the company together towards one common cause. Critical to such success, the very foundation of it all, is the workforce’s word. Without it, the entire “house” will crumble.
As Cowboys roamed the open range, their word and commitment to the cause became their most consistent and valuable tool. A handshake and a promise was a signed contract, and those who fell short lost the trust of their customers and colleagues. As the Workspace Cowboys, FMs are entrusted with responsibilities fundamental to meeting organizational goals. Since trust breeds trust, the Facilities leader has a unique opportunity to ensure the foundation - the word of the entire workforce - is a solid one. This process begins with identifying their commitments to their customers.
Listening to Customers and Their Needs
Living up to the “good as gold” standard means following through on the commitments you have made to your clients. One of your primary concerns is ensuring your workforce has the tools they need to fulfill THEIR commitments. Since your workforce is entrenched in the battlegrounds day in and day out, they have the most knowledge regarding what resources would be most effective at helping them complete their jobs. Developing solid relationships spanning every department is crucial, and communication will be your most valuable tool. Listening is an essential element to communicating. This is your time to listen to your colleagues and collaborate with department heads, further strengthening the trust your workforce realizes in you.
It is not enough to simply listen and identify what resources your workforce is lacking; you must now put the knowledge you have gained to use. This means developing solutions and processes that strengthen the entire organization. For some, the solution may be as simple as an office redesign, while for others, it may mean a total overhaul of current procedures. The only guaranteed constant is that needs will change and evolve as the dynamics of your workforce progresses, so it is critical to be forward-thinking in the developmental stage of strategizing.
Providing the Resources and Tools
The last, but certainly not least, aspect to keeping your word as a Facilities Manager lies in the delivery. Your workforce might be dedicated and passionate about their role in the company, but if they do not have the proper tools, it is all for naught. Part of your role as the Workspace Cowboy is to evaluate all the options and identify solutions that have the best interests of both the company and the workforce in mind. This means investing in your people as individuals, offering support through continued education, as well as supporting them in their professional goals. Technological tools such as FM software and mobility options, as well as innovative and inspiring workspaces provide additional support. As you look to integrate new tools and processes, and improve on current ones, it is important to consider long-term organizational goals. Identify trends in how the workspace environment has evolved, so as to ensure sound investments that will benefit your customers well into the future.
There are such a multitude of factors a good FM must consider, to best complete the task(s) at hand. But, there are also a few fundamental principals, which will always find place and relevance in a successful organization. Although tools, technologies, or procedures may come and go, the bankable word of a trusted associate is always significant.