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14 November 2019
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SKILLING UP FOR 2019

In a changing work environment FMs should focus on developing skills to be employable in 2019 and beyond, says Beth Goodyear.

Skills
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03 December 2018 | Beth Goodyear


FMs are good at looking ahead when planning budgets and maintenance, but don’t always put their needs first. Here are five areas they should focus on to develop themselves professionally.


Juggling

FMs will always need to be able to juggle a multitude of things at the same time and the list seems to grow every year so the ability to multi-task and prioritise is essential.


Successful juggling includes balancing knowledge, organisation and communication – without all three, the balls will drop!


Resilience

We are in one of the most dynamic and fast-moving periods in FM with an unprecedented level of change in the way buildings and workplaces function. It is essential that FMs are able to cope when everything around them is changing.


Whether it is terminology such as FM, workplace or built environment, technology advances, or even workspace trends such as agile and flexible or sit/stand/walk meetings, it can be hard to keep up.


Working in FM can be hard sometimes because, as a team that supports the business, it is common to receive more complaints than compliments, which shouldn’t be taken personally, of course, but resilience is a skill that often comes with age and experience.


Fortunately, it’s also a skill that can be developed, so organisations should look at how they can support their FM teams through mentoring and training.


Reading minds

As customer experience is now being seen as an essential element to give organisations a competitive edge, understanding what your customers need and want is more important than ever.


Luckily, since the dawn of the role, FMs have been expected to seamlessly anticipate customers’ needs and wants. So as deliverers of exceptional customer service, our skill will continue to feature in the top five!


For top tips and help on getting it right, check out IWFM Good Practice Guide to Customer Experience.


Foraging

Not for food, but for information. Everything we do in FM is interlinked and will have a knock-on effect on something else. It is easy to remain contained in a bubble of internal politics, but the starting point for understanding this inextricable web is always external to the organisation; we have to look outwards to understand what to do inside our organisations.


We mustn’t forget that what’s happening around the world affects the UK economy, which in turn should determine your business and property strategy, which is affected by your workspace strategy, which is driven by technology changes that are rapidly altering the way we live and work, which affects our customers’ expectations, needs and wants!


We mustn’t make important decisions in isolation and should always consider the bigger picture and the factors external as well as internal to our organisation. There are numerous models to guide you – PESTLE analysis is an obvious choice.


So how do we successfully forage for information?


You can’t wait for the information to come to you; you have to be proactive and search strategically.


Read trade magazines, go to events, and use Twitter and LinkedIn as work tools, look outside of your own role or sector, and if in doubt use Google.


Remember, you won’t find what you’re not looking for.


Congeniality

There’s no question that the rise of technologies such as AI will have a profound effect on the workplaces of the future and our roles in FM, but encouragingly there is a widespread belief that communication skills may well be the skill that robots can’t master!


This is great news for FM because if anyone should win a ‘congeniality prize’ it is the FM team. They have to get on with everyone and, in the course of a typical day, they have to use so many different social and communication skills and constantly ‘read’ the situation and adjust their approach.


The range of internal and external stakeholders FMs communicate with is vast, and each relationship requires a personal touch.


To harness the advantage, organisations should be looking now to do everything they can to develop and help encourage these skills.


Beth Goodyear is founder of FMHS Consulting