13 January 2016 | Martin Read
Guy Stallard, head of facilities at KPMG, launched this week's BIFM Women in FM conference with a powerful call for FM to embrace the living wage as a transformational tool for the profession.
Stallard, a chartered accountant who has overseen the accountancy giant's move to introduce the living wage rate across the business, explained how successful introduction of higher pay rates should involve a reappraisal of the structure of facilities teams and the nature of their management.
Stallard spoke of his own organisation now having fewer supervisors, with other team members now better incentivised.
But he also warned that assessing team structure can be more difficult in some sectors than others, citing the sensitivity of doing so in hospitality - a sector where FM staff may already be in the front line dealing directly with end-user customers.
Working with facilities staff who are about to get a living wage pay rise should be about building "two-way loyalty", said Stallard. If the quality of the people you employ improves, the conversations you have with them and their output also improve.
"If the living wage boost is seen as a two-way conversation, that's when you get best results."
Stallard ended his presentation with a rallying cry. "I'm very proud to work in FM, he told the audience at KPMG's Canary Wharf offices in London.
"But if so many in FM are people who don't earn enough to live on, how can we be a professional industry?"
"If low pay is endemic, then fundamentally it is hard to professionalize ourselves. If we pay well and deliver a good service, then we will be seen to be just as important to an organisation as its HR and IT."
The BIFM Women in FM conference continues throughout the day. Readers are advised to save and regularly check output on the #WIFM16 hashtag.