Why behaviours are key to our success in FM

Deborah Rowland, Director Public Sector Affairs at Sodexo
About the author : Deborah Rowland

Director Public Sector Affairs at Sodexo

Published on : 6/10/21
  • One of the key reasons that women do not apply for more senior technical FM roles is because they feel they do not have the ‘right skills’ to do the job.

    Although technical/functional skills are important, these can be taught or gained through experience and qualifications, utilising our professional bodies such as International Facility Management Association (IFMA), Institute of Workplace & Facilities Management (IWFM) or Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for example.

    However, equally important in FM leadership are the behaviours. 

    As we move into a new way of working, the focus on people, planet and place has never been more important. The workplace can be anywhere and managing the ‘workplace experience’ which is much more ‘people centric’ with a focus on managing ‘experiences’ and the ‘wellbeing and safety of individuals’, whilst committing to ‘reducing the burden on our environment’ are key.

    So, what are the behaviours that we need to be able to deliver successfully in FM? The behavioural framework in the IWFM Professional Standards Framework includes the following:

    • Customer focus – exceeding customer expectations and adding value to their performance
    • Integrity – Not sacrificing high standards for immediate gains
    • Leadership – Inspiring others to exceed objectives by acting as a role model of personal integrity and by persistently working toward goals and enthusiasm

    In a blog by Proxyclick on the 4 skills of any successful FM leader in 2021 the following behaviours are explored in more detail:

    1. Technological creativity – Elliot Chase Editor at iFM states that by nature, professionals in FM get tons of challenges thrown at them every day. Many of these challenges will demand creative solutions.
    2. Compassion – Jurriaan Homes, Diversey states that a majority of the responsibilities in FM focus on creating a happier and healthier work environment, it is imperative to be able to put yourself in their shoes and to show compassion. One of the most important skills for an FM is the ability to deal with people effectively.
    3. Adaptability – Peter Ankerstjerne Chief Strategy Office, Planon and Chaif of IFMA Board of Directors – Facility managers must be able to understand and support the customer's’ core business and to adapt the workplace and the service set-up accordingly. He goes on to say that as Facilities Managers, we must evolve beyond engineering and workplace administration skills into becoming more people-centric in the way we design and manage our workplace.
    4. A data-driven mindset – David Markowitz, ServiceChannel – Today, any facilities manager looking to stay on top of his/her game, needs to be increasingly data-driven. The profession's moving away from simply being a reactive, dispatcher of technicians for work requests.

    Interestingly, only one professional FM professional body IWFM has looked at behaviours required, so clearly a bit more work needs doing here – I lay down the challenge to IFMA and RICS.

    At Sodexo, we are committed to driving gender balance, as we know that diverse teams perform better and we are actively encouraging more women into FM Leadership roles to fulfil the talent pipeline shortfall that FM increasingly has. We have a strong gender network, and our global workstream on FM - SoTogetherFM, provides information, shares knowledge through role models and discussions through Yammer and webinars. We also have an FM Academy to nurture our talent (male and female) and where people can obtain FM skills through qualifications.

    Remember the behaviours start with you, it’s all about demonstrating your authenticity to those around you based on your own values. 

    Hear more from some of my Sodexo colleagues in this video:


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    This article was created by Deborah Rowland, Director Public Sector Affairs at Sodexo

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