The lack of long-term strategic thinking among FM service providers is “limiting an opportunity to yield business and social benefits”, according to research by an FM company.
Vinci Facilities carried out a survey of more than 200 respondents drawn from leaders within the FM and built environment sectors, focusing on four key issues: wellbeing, climate change, collaboration and asset management.
It showed that while there are “positive ambitions to achieve improvements in all areas, these goals are hampered by not enough clear-cut strategic action”.
All four areas are defined as “particularly important but lose sight of the main objective due to a focus on short term goals or confusion about priorities and definitions”.
For example, climate change is widely regarded as a critical theme and most FM organisations have some form of environmental strategy in place, but ‘quick wins’ tend to be favoured over more challenging longer-term action, according to the research.
Crucially, the short-term focus often prevents organisations seeing the link between any, or all, of the four areas covered by the survey.
“This short-term approach is a common theme in our research,” said Phil Russell, sales and marketing director at Vinci Facilities.
“For example, the concept of collaboration is widely recognised across facilities management, but few organisations have comprehensive strategies for collaborative working. The frustrating thing is that everyone recognises the value of it and the survey showed that collaborative working improves morale, efficiency and customer satisfaction. There just isn’t a well-thought through combination of people, process and technology to deliver impact.”
Collaboration – which is the first white paper to be published by Vinci Facilities – is highlighted as one of the critical elements in delivering effective FM and particularly actions around climate change, asset management and wellbeing.
The survey indicates that FM organisations are at risk of missing out on the benefits of collaborative working.
“If we combine that with the short-term focus on climate change as well as asset management and some elements of wellbeing, then as a sector we are in danger of not delivering on our responsibilities to the built environment,” said Russell.
The survey indicates that the “real and effective change required to achieve the objectives the industry and built environment has specified needs to start at the very top of the business” and it “has to begin with clear vision and targets, and then include extensive listening, communication and inclusion down to grass roots support to ensure lasting change in deeply entrenched behaviours and assumptions across the entire organisation".
The researchers added: "If senior management understand the importance of the ambition and the benefits, then effective change – via collaborative working – can be delivered and targets achieved in terms of wellbeing, environment and efficiency generally. The lack of strategic thinking is linked to a lack of senior management engagement."
Vinci Facilities is publishing four additional white papers following its research conducted in the autumn of 2020. The first – collaboration – is available now and the following three, climate change, wellbeing and asset management will be published between now and spring 2021. As each is made public there will be engagement events and key facts shared to drive the specific conversation and seek to change the mindset of stakeholders across FM and property services.