30 May 2014
At last month's Think FM conference, the BIFM announced a major partnership with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The two organisations will embark on a number of research and insight projects over the coming months, investigating how both communities of professionals - HR and FM - are evolving and adapting to the changing workplace.
HR and FM should work together to create better workplaces that get more out of employees, said the CIPD's chief executive Peter Cheese.
So creating better workplaces is what the collaboration seeks to support - but are HR and FM already working together?
One respondent remarked: "My HR function only get involved when we are making redundancies."
Another seems convinced that a scenario where FM teams report through the HR line is "quite rare, being in the 8 or 9 per cent".
One of the exceptions to this, who replied to the Think Tank group, says: "I firmly sit within the HR function working closely with organisational development/strategy and HR. In my workplace FM is about delighting people to make the business work better."
But she adds: "I am always saddened that many FMs are placed within the finance/operations teams and seen as nothing more than a cost centre."
Another respondent, who is a director of facilities, said that FM and HR within his organisation worked together "all the time" and was aware that this must not be the case very often.
But another said: "I have seen very little collaboration between FM and HR on enhancing things for the workforce. However, we know that facilities attract and retain people, so there needs to be much more collaboration. I once asked in the BIFM LinkedIn group, 'who cares more for the people in a building: HR or FM?' Nobody replied, although my answer would be FM."
In the long term and in the spirit of collaboration, thought should also be given to going beyond merely a HR-FM partnership. "FM is a support to three functions," a respondent pointed out. "Firstly, IT to maintain the infrastructure for data centres, which if they go down, can drag the whole business down. Secondly, marketing, through projecting an organisation's image through its facilities and the people that maintain them. Thirdly, it supports HR through attracting and retaining talent and effecting organisational culture."
The debate rages on over at our Think Tank LinkedIn group: www.tinyurl.com/fmwthinktank