Our industry now also has an urgency to focus on sustainability and social value and our staff and clients want to see and make a real difference to the way we give back to our planet and communities.
Annie Karastoyanova, account director at Incentive FM
Ten years ago, in a time before the then BIFM awards routinely recognised the achievements of up and coming FMs, we at what was FM World magazine set out to identify a group of 40 individuals representative of the future face of workplace and facilities management. The limit was on experience rather than age, in this case no more than 10 years’ of working in the sector; we wanted to find people demonstrating significant achievement in a relatively short space of time.
One such Rising Star of FM was Annie Karastoyanova, then facilities manager of Incentive’s Top Right Group (formerly EMAP) contract, and now account director at Incentive FM. A decade later, we ask Karastoyanova about their personal progress and the evolution of the profession.
What do you remember about 2012 – and if you could, what would you warn your 2012 self about?
2012 was a big milestone for me - I was juggling building my career in FM with completing a degree in business studies and expecting a baby. I held a site-based FM role, working for one client across their four properties, and was responsible for a team of 14 delivering TFM.
Learning has always been a big part of my life and every day in the facilities world presents opportunities. All these experiences have shaped me and will continue to do so.
What makes you excited about the profession? How has this changed from when you began your career?
That’s easy – the dynamic nature of FM and the people who make it happen! Every day is different – I love working with our diverse teams and clients and seeing the difference we make to their environments and how people experience them. The best part of my job is helping our people succeed in their own careers and creating long-standing partnerships with our clients.
The overarching change for me has been moving into a strategic role and being part of driving business change and growth in addition to operational excellence.
How have your expectations of workplace and FM evolved? And what do you think the profession needs to do next?
My expectations of workplace and FM have changed significantly over the last 10 years with the focus now being on creating flexible, adaptable and collaborative spaces that can enable efficient outputs.
Service delivery has become a lot more about creating memorable experiences for occupants and visitors. Compliance and best practice has also become more complex and fast changing. Technology has enabled that pace and the pandemic fast-tracked the ability to work from anywhere. Our profession therefore needs to continuously recalibrate, align and reinvent itself.
What is the most pressing challenge facing the industry?
The current recruitment and retention challenge spans most industries and highlights the importance of not only providing competitive pay and benefits packages but also keeping our talent engaged, recognised, encouraged and supported to be and achieve their best. Our industry now also has an urgency to focus on sustainability and social value and our staff and clients want to see and make a real difference to the way we give back to our planet and communities.
Technology developments, AI, the IOT and how they shape the FM industry is also high on the list of challenges to stay ahead of.
What are your top three focus points currently and why?
- Talent retention and succession planning – we want to keep and look after our great people and support them with their career journey. It’s the best part of my work with the teams;
- Maintaining our long-standing client partnerships and delivering mutual value including social value. This is a fundamental part of our business DNA and our reputation and is always a priority; and
- Business development and growth across our three sectors – Destination & Heritage, Workplace Solutions and Retail & Distribution – this is an exciting part of my Account Director role and I get to meet with some amazing companies, listen to what’s important to them and tell them how we can add value to their business.
To what extent have the behaviours and attitudes of your clients changed in the last decade?
Clients have become a lot more focused on sustainability, NZC and social value and it’s great to see these strategies coming to life especially in the last couple of years.
The pandemic and life beyond it have really highlighted the importance of what facilities teams do and there has been a greater sense of appreciation from clients for our front-line teams.
There is a strong focus on smarter ways of working, data trend analysis and utilising systems and technologies to drive efficiencies within service delivery. Technology has also enabled a much more dynamic approach and openness to flexible working especially in the workplace sector.
Reacquaint yourself with our other Rising Stars of FM
- Martin Bell
- Annette Best
- Ryan Botta
- Dean Botten
- Will Bowen
- Peter Burnell-Jones
- Helen Cooper
- Martin Frohock
- Jason Gurd
- Adrian Harris
- Herbie Hawes
- Daniel Hawkins
- Andrew Hulbert
- Ryan Jarman
- Stephanie Kendall
- Ben Luvaglio
- Kate Morris-Bates
- Darren Raczkowski
- Tom Robinson
- Rishi Sharma
- Tristam Slater
- Kate Smith
- Will Tyler
- Clifford Yeend