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Updating Your Facility Management Strategy

Take five steps to ensure your update is successful

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The current economic climate has forced executives and managers to review and streamline their facility management strategies. However, doing so presents a difficult task: overhauling a work environment that rarely experiences significant process changes.

Knowing when to update facility management strategies is critical for successful implementation. Research has shown that 50% of organizational change initiatives fail, only 34% succeed, and 16% have mixed outcomes.

Choose the right time for change

There are 5.9 million commercial buildings across the United States. A newly modified business landscape and budgetary constraints are two leading factors that demand careful planning and long-term execution in updating a facility management strategy. Other circumstances that urge workplace changes include:

  • Corporate restructuring
  • Recruitment and retainment problems
  • Digitalization
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Unpredictable market conditions.

Organizational change often occurs through adaptive, incremental stages or a sudden, dramatic shift. However, moderate adaptations can produce longer-lasting results in facility management, where procedures are slow to undergo remarkable evolution.

Creating strategic change takes time, discipline, and patience. After all, reaping rewards of maximum effect is never immediate; instead, positive outcomes take a few years to become noticeable.

Facility executives must also understand how these outcomes hinge on employees’ perceived attitudes toward organizational change. Longevity leads to familiarity and complacency—and the risk associated with reformed operations tends to foster resistance and heightened insecurity among staff.

Leadership, communication, and transparency are the fundamental tools to help overcome fear and negative opinions surrounding enhanced facility management strategies. Likewise, it’s necessary to have clearly defined goals and intent before executing a new plan.

Leaders seeking to launch an upgraded facility management strategy must do so in an organized manner. The following five actions can help create greater efficiency through staff support.

1. Plan a comprehensive strategy

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) lists four steps to planning and executing a comprehensive strategy:

  • Understanding: Define organizational goals and understand the overall mission, vision, and purpose of creating changes in the first place.
  • Analysis: Consider current and future facility needs through scenario planning—measuring the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential opportunities or threats, collaborative brainstorming, and creativity strategizing.
  • Planning: Lay out the plan’s steps and the prospective timeline for reaching organizational goals.
  • Action: Facilitate the plan while documenting improvements and shortcomings over time.

Developing a comprehensive plan enables facility executives and managers to track their organizations’ progress and make necessary adjustments. Each department or team can also better understand what’s expected from them to achieve the company’s objectives.

2. Include facility managers in meetings

Facility executives initiating discussions about updating their management strategies should consider taking a holistic approach and include managers in the planning process.

Facility managers are often regarded as necessary nonrevenue-generating roles instead of fundamental, active contributors to the organization. However, as firsthand witnesses to obstacles within their respective departments, they can provide some of the most critical feedback on current and future needs for performance improvements and solutions. 

Considering how facility managers oversee the daily operations of teams, their roles are also essential for the sound implementation of new policies. Managers must fully understand the reasoning behind facility management strategy updates and how the plan ensures goals are met.

3. Invest in equipment and technology

An economic crisis is a logical reason for facility executives to regard strategic updates as dire. However, customer dissatisfaction, the need for more proactive decision-making, and enhancing operational efficiency are also common drivers for change.

New technologies play an integral role in improved output, precision, and customer service. Therefore, replacing older tech and infrastructure with advanced solutions optimizes performance and problem-solving.

For example, 88% of companies blame aging technologies for lagging maintenance processes and productivity. A viable solution would be integrating an intelligent maintenance management platform (IMMP) to provide greater connectivity and operational control.

Another way facility executives can improve operational efficiency is to regularly maintain equipment and replace unused or outdated equipment quickly. During this hard-hit economy, some budgets might be tighter. If that’s the case, renting or buying used equipment is a another great way to reduce fleet replacement costs. Once you’ve acquired all the necessary equipment, create a maintenance schedule to keep everything running like new.

4. Communicate the vision

Presenting fact-based arguments is vital to communicating the vision of a renewed facility management strategy. Equally important is the enthusiasm executives exhibit for future outcomes.

Formal, transparent messaging regarding the changes must reach staff regularly, encouraging everyone involved to meet the updated benchmarks.

Facility executives and managers must relay their vision for improvement concisely and consistently throughout numerous channels: emails, newsletters, a dedicated website, and monthly or quarterly reports. Additionally, they should conduct several forums where staff, other leaders, and customers can bring up questions and concerns regarding the changes.

5. Recognize short-term success

Implementing updates to a facility management strategy must begin somewhere. However, substantial outcomes might not be recognizable for years. Understandably, the momentum among staff could stall over time.

Instead, executives and managers should celebrate the short-term victories of individual teams working toward the organization’s goals while recognizing and rewarding employees and departments for their efforts.

Sending out quarterly management reports that highlight small wins is an excellent opportunity to share how incremental changes make a difference in operations.

As performance achievements become more apparent over time, facility leaders can make further improvements and adjustments, while renewing their commitments to progress.

Pave the way for improvements

An updated facility management strategy can only go so far without executives and managers paving the way for change. Leaders must remain consistently committed to prevent slipping backward and failing to see their plans through.

Emily Newton

Emily Newton is an industrial journalist. As Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, she regularly covers stories in construction and facilities management.

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