Under-staffed? Under-funded? How do you get what you need for your Facility Management Program?

empty pocketsMost facility departments are under-funded and under-staffed.  They act as modern-day MacGyvers trying to resolve the decline of aging systems and the increase of operational demands with a piece of gum, a ballpoint pen, and a paperclip – sound familiar?  This lack of resources and seeming disconnect with management perpetuates the costly firefighting cycle in which many organizations find themselves.  Why?

Does upper management, those that control the purse strings, not understand our plight?  Do they not get why we keep asking for more money?  Do they not see how facilities are a “necessary evil” to generate the desired revenue?  Why don’t they get it?!?!  What if I told you it was our fault???

Should upper management see the value and impact facilities has on the bottom line other than costs?  Yes, but how are they to realize that value?  Is it through the MBA class they took years ago?  Perhaps they read it in one of their business journals or heard it at a conference?  (If anyone knows of such journals or conferences, please let me know…)  If this understanding is not coming from the top-down, then we must go from the bottom-up – essentially a grass roots effort.  In short, it’s on us!  Which leads to the next question – How?

First, we have to understand the impact facilities has on the bottom line and business implications of our actions and in-actions.  This includes not just costs, but more importantly, productivity & revenue generation, risk mitigation & management, and promoting a positive corporate image in the community & marketplace.  We need to understand our organization’s vision & mission, business & political drivers, and marketplace enablers/inhibitors.

Second, we need to set a clear vision and mission for the facility department.  What are we about?  What message do we emit to management, stakeholders, and customers?  How do we want them to see us?  Do you have a Facility Department vision & mission?  How about a “tagline”?

Third, how do we market and sell that image and value proposition to all levels of the organization?  How do you advertise your services and their corresponding value?  Does your staff understand the impact they have on the bottom line?  Do you and your staff have an “elevator speech”?  Do you have a marketing plan for the facility department?  I know it sounds crazy – a marketing plan?!?!  But, if one of our primary jobs is to sell the services of facilities and our team members, shouldn’t we have a plan on how we are going to accomplish that goal?

Where to start?  I encourage you to explore the below referenced FM360 resources, which includes online training and educational articles.  Additionally, you can watch the first session in our FM Leadership training series for FREESetting a Vision & Mission and Marketing the Facilities Department.  Next month’s session will specifically discuss how to market and sell the facility department to upper management.

Recommended Resources:

FM Leadership Online Training Series

FM101 Online Training Series

The Rule of 100/10/1 – Learning to Speak Bean

More Than Glorified Janitors – Selling the Value of the Facility Team

Facilities Department – Not a Profit Center, but can it be?

Getting an “A-Grade” at the “C-Level”