Facilities managers need the right environment in order to reduce the amount of stress that comes with the position. Reduced stress leads to higher performance. Higher performance leads to an effective facilities maintenance program. So what does the right environment look like and and how do you go about creating it?
Ideally, a facilities manager should have a system and a set of tools that allow them to be proactive. They have flexibility in structuring their day. They have clear goals that are easily measurable, and they have as much consistency as possible.
System and Tools
The system and tools are connected. The system, or program, is a set of procedures and pre-made decisions. These procedures provide facilities managers to move quickly because they are managing pre-made decisions. They don’t need to think analyze every decision…only certain ones. Also, when there are procedures in place, many of them can be automated with tools. At Envoy, we are constantly asking ourselves, “What are we doing that technology or tools could do for us?” We are constantly trying to eliminate repeatable administrative work for our team so they can spend more time proactively managing their responsibilities.
Tools are not necessarily physical or digital tools. They can be the processes themselves, using not-to-exceed amounts to control cost and communication, or to reduce the administrative burden. It could also be a preventative maintenance program to reduce the amount of reactive repairs.
Digital tools are CMMS, communication applications, cloud storage, devices like phones and tablets, and other types of software. (We created a list of 8 great, free tools for facilities managers of you.)
Facilities maintenance management is not a 9 to 5 job. It’s around the clock. Some times are busy. Others are not. It’s calls in the middle of the night and stretches without any reactive work to do at all. Because of this, you should give your facilities managers the freedom create their own schedule. You should measure their performance against metrics instead of how long they were parked in a seat in the office.
Additionally, they should be issues a cell phone, laptop, and a tablet. Enable hotspot connectivity on their phone too. They need to be able to get online anywhere they need to. They should never be put in a position where they can’t do their job because of their physical location.
This one is very important. You cannot evaluate any employee without giving them expectations to measure them against. This could be service levels for stores like response time, repair time, first time fix rate, work orders per store based on age, and store satisfaction surveys. You can provide a budget or a reactive work order reduction goal. You can even create a system of store visits to check on condition and brand image. Whatever your goals are, just make them clear, measurable, and give your facilities manager access to the metrics so they can measure their own performance.
It takes time to get a facilities program in place. It takes longer to be able to start seeing the results of the program. Make sure to allow time and to be consistent with the direction you give, especially when it comes to expectations. Changing the target affects systems and processes that are put in place to hit that target. The more locations you have, the more time it will take to institute change. Be sure about what you want before you jeopardize consistency.
This post is part of a series on creating an effective facilities maintenance management program for multi-location companies. Be sure to check out the other posts and sign up to receive updates by email.