Vive l'evolution article in Tomorrow's FM

8 November 2018

No matter what you do in life, change is constant. Jan-Hein Hemke, Managing Director of Facilicom UK, says that the major period of change we’re experiencing offers many benefits and opportunities. Read the full article which was published in Tomorrow's FM.

Vive l'evolution

Jan-Hein Hemke, Managing Director of Facilicom UK, says that the major period of change we’re experiencing offers many benefits and opportunities.

 No matter what you do in life, change is constant. Traditionally change would have taken place over a long period of time allowing us to prepare and adapt, with only a few more short-term events causing shock and consternation. This however, no longer reflects the current environment.

“Employers should look beyond pay as the only key motivational factor and ensure the workplace meets and exceeds expectations.”

For the past few years we’ve been in the midst of a period of change the like of which has never been seen before. The referendum and preparations for Brexit, the digital and technological evolution, and the different expectations of millennials entering the workforce are just three of the major trends changing the way we live and work. They will continue to impact the culture and attitudes within organisations and drive new ways and approaches of working for the foreseeable future.

In the FM sector, we’re seeing considerable time and resources being invested in development and change at work – many of our customers are in the midst of managing or implementing change projects in and around their buildings and environment domains. Coming out of the shadows One important factor in the societal evolution, is that there is ever-growing competition for talent at every level. This is likely to mean companies value and invest more in the ‘total employee experience’ – even in ‘harder’, more traditional, environments.
The primary motivational driver which binds colleagues to a company, particularly for the millennial generation, is the opportunity to strike a harmonious work-life balance. However, for our colleagues on the front line executing the work, financial remuneration is still a key factor.

We are Living Wage Recognised Service Providers, and as such, are passionate about ensuring that workers receive a fair pay that reflects the real cost of living. We firmly believe that if you can raise people to the Living Wage, they will be much more likely to stay. There can be a concern that paying the higher wage will be damaging to the bottom line, but that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, productivity and staff retention can increase, offsetting any extra costs.

Ensuring that colleagues are remunerated fairly, and are recognised for their work benefits everybody.
Their job satisfaction is higher, as are their levels of motivation and retention, resulting in more experienced staff, with better developed skills. However, employers will need to look beyond pay as the only key motivational factor, if they are not already doing so, and among other things ensure the workplace meets and exceeds expectations. People’s approaches to FM related services are certainly reflecting this trend.

We’ve had clients tell us that they have to be more people focused in their service offering. “Things are changing,” they say. “In the past the ‘FM fairies’ would come in at night and tidy up your mess but we don’t want to be invisible any longer. It’s about the customer experience – from the moment you walk in the door to be able to get on with your work day. It’s no longer called the Reception but the Concierge Service.
A one stop hub for the staff in the building – people come down with facilities questions. IT also sit there.” In addition, every business function is increasingly having to demonstrate its value to the organisation and this can mean widening the scope of activities it is involved in. Facilities teams already have several different organisational roles and reporting lines, but a clear and growing focus on the end user experience is increasingly the norm now too. This also has a significant impact on different facilities services, such as cleaning. After years of campaigning for recognition of the vital services provided by commercial cleaners, could we finally see them coming out of the shadows? Let’s hope so.

A professional cleaning service should offer more than just cleanliness and hygiene benefits (and their positive knock-on impact on productivity and wellbeing). Operatives can also add value by playing a wider role in terms of making people feel welcome and assisting with enquiries. We call this ‘Hostmanship’. At Facilicom, we provide every colleague the chance to take part in a training programme, helping to hone their communications and customer service skills so they can become a more visible and valued part of the workforce – and with that, a desire to go above and beyond. This training is particularly important for millennials joining the workforce, who are far more comfortable communicating via screens rather than talking faceto-face or on the telephone.

Whilst they are experts at tackling new social media trends, apps and digital technological advancements, growing up digitally connected has also left them lacking in inter-personal communication skills. In fact, research has shown that one in four millennials admit to interacting more with their phones than the actual people in their lives. Hostmanship is not designed to place additional pressures on, or increase the workload of FM operatives, but rather broaden their perspective beyond their immediate task list and adjust their perception of the job they do. It also helps our colleagues to see the ‘bigger picture’, which is good for both the cleaning operative and the service recipient as it fits with the altered expectations in the modern workplace.

“A professional cleaning service should offer more than just cleanliness and hygiene benefits.”

Working collaboratively

These people-skills are crucial in adapting to the changing environment we face. We are seeing growing levels of collaboration between real estate, design teams and facilities teams in workplace planning. This will create more strategic involvement opportunities as well as more effective environments. A partnership approach allows for longer-term and stronger relationships, especially when based on shared values and principles. This makes organisations more resilient and adaptable to change. It also helps with the total employee experience, fostering commitment and loyalty in acknowledgment of the greater job security and number of opportunities on offer. The power of partnership will be truly realised when there is shared proactivity in driving and shaping how the future might look. We are in the midst of evolution and those that adapt quickly and effectively are best positioned to reap the benefits.

Source: Tomorrow's FM