Well I for sure never thought it would take a global pandemic would actually change people's perspective on Facility Management ;-). But I'm very happy that something positive came out of these crazy times. A safe workplace is more important than ever and that has completely shifted the conversation from Facility Management being solely a cost center to Facility Management actually being of added value to the core business. And so this is the perfect moment to have a chat about “The Added Value of Facility Management”.
A discussion as old as time
About a decade ago, I was part of a research track called “The Added Value of Facility Management”. The purpose was to be able to find ways to proof the facility department's added value. To this day, it is crazy to me that research like that needed to happen. All just to dodge questions like “can you cut maintenance costs by 20%?” or “is that investment REALLY necessary?”. Questions that are still being asked today, unfortunately.
The changing role of a Facility Manager
Have we not seen any progress then? Luckily, we did. Over this past decade, the conversation about Facility Management has already greatly shifted. The profession has grown from an operationally focused role towards a strategically driven role. A seat at the “big boys table” also means overlooking the bigger picture, the entire workplace. Not just maintenance or not just security. And that right there, has been a total game changer. To notice that it is not only about fixing the lights or serving the best coffee. Facility Management is more so about the workplace in general. Providing a place to work that makes people feel safe, happy and productive. A place that allows people to connect with others and be part of a community. I hear you thinking: does Facility Management equal Workplace Management then? Let's save that discussion for the next round, shall we? 😉
The silver lining to COVID
Don't get me wrong: what the pandemic does to our society, health care systems and economy is exceptionally awful. But there's always a silver lining when times get rough. Over the past year, the approach to workplace was already changing at the speed of light. We started to have different conversations about the meaning of the workplace, the relevance of the workplace and the effect on (mental) health and our role in all of that, to mention a few topics. However, thanks to COVID, the urgency of this conversation picked up and the workplace ended up on the top of the priority list for pretty much every executive out there. And being on top of the priority list is exactly what needed to happen to change the perspective on the workplace and on Facility Management in general, for good. It allows us to have a more meaningful conversation with our management and peers and have more support for the Facility department in general.
Are we there yet?
Hold on, Superman. We're absolutely not there yet. I realize that for many organizations around the world that are not called Netflix, this discussion isn't over. A global pandemic also means less resources, which will inevitably also harm facility budgets. And so, we still constantly have to stay on top of our game and keep showing the added value we bring to the table. However, the conversation did become slightly easier. And that my friends, is amazing news.
Add a little sparkle value
The point I'm trying to make? Now that you have caught everyone's attention, I suggest you use the momentum. So, how do you proof your Added Value? With actual numbers? We distinguish ten (!) Added Value elements. Extremely useful in daily practice. The elements allow you to show that you add value to the core business in terms of sustainability, image, culture and productivity for example. An example: your involvement in sustainability projects or your efforts to decrease energy use probably decreases the overall footprint of your organization. That's measurable data right there. On both occasions, you add value to the core business by supporting sustainability goals. If you are able to put that into numbers, make sure to shout it from the rooftops. Only then, you will create awareness, visibility and an increased understanding internally. Not only for sustainability, but for all Added Value elements.
To close off…
I will leave that with you now, as I will probably never stop typing if you let me. But if you'd like to pitch in on the discussion, feel free to comment on this article. Also, if you'd like to learn more about these ten elements of Added Value, download our free e-book here.