16 May 2017 | Jason Choy
As every FM knows, their role is seen by many boards simply as a cost centre, rather than a strategic part of the business.
It means senior management don't always take us seriously. And that means it is difficult to get budget approved, making it impossible to get things done.
When I was a facilities manager, every time I needed to spend money, the board always wanted to use the cheapest option, when I knew that investing more would bring greater benefits.
So I developed these techniques to get my board to take me seriously:
1. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were on the board, what you would want and expect - how can you make your board's job easier? For example, how can you make them feel comfortable that the organisation's security is in safe hands? For example, when I was managing a portfolio of residential units, providing safe and secure accommodation meant that tenants felt comfortable, which led to longer tenancies, which means less churn and higher yields to our investors.
2. Speak the boards' language. return on investment, profit and loss, yields, risk, compliance. Understanding and using their language will help you get your message across effectively.
3. Consider how your proposals will benefit other departments such as marketing, HR, finance and operations, and get them engaged early. For example, at Welcome Gate, our security systems can be used to engage prospects and convert them into clients quicker which is a massive benefit for marketing.
4. Emphasise the value of having the right compliance and governance in place. Having the relevant certifications, such as the information security standard, ISO 27001, will your people, property and data secure, and it can open the doors to more business.
5. Image and reputation. If a company has a well-run building, with robust security and the latest technology, this projects a positive, professional image to your clients and they will feel comfortable doing business with you.
6. Crisis prevention. What would the cost of a failure in operations be in terms of business continuity and potential reputational damage? For example, how would your clients react if your security fails, you have a huge break-in and their data is compromised?
As an FM, I used each of these six techniques which enabled me to get what I needed for the greater good of the business, and raised the profile of the FM team in my organisation.
Jason Choy is co-founder of Welcome Gate