WF 2010

Workplace Futures 2010: People, Service, Profit: A Meeting of Minds

Facilities management is all about people: their skills, competence, commitment and ongoing development. But FM is also a business discipline and therefore about profit: a healthy bottom line is as critical to the client as it is to the supplier. The vital link between people and profit is service delivery: a robust target-driven solution capable of flexing with changing needs – and those needs do keep changing.

Against that background, comparing client objectives with provider objectives can be a case of staring into a chasm rather than just a gap. How can you pull the two into alignment to build a coherent strategy fully focused on workplace well-being, one that is profitable for both sides? It's all about a meeting of minds that successfully blends the fundamental issues: people, service and profit.

Workplace Futures 2010 tackled this head-on in the comfortable setting of IBM Southbank, London. The programme on the day was managed by the skilful Lucy Jeynes, MD of Larch Consulting, to ensure that all angles of the key issues were considered – and there was still plenty of time for active and engaging discussion.

Highlights of the day included:

•    Craig Knight, Managing Director, Prism at the University of Exeter, on the psychology of space management and understanding the impact of change

•    Alison Halfpenny, Director, Humanics, on the recruitment and retention basics: how do you get good people onboard and keep them there?

•    Kieran McGivern, Director – Property & Facilities Management at BDO, on thinking creatively about service delivery in order to do more for less

•    Martin Pickard, Principal at FM Guru, on blending training, experience and communication to build a successful team

•    Nick O'Donnell, Head of Global Real Estate and Facilities at the Financial Times, on finding a supplier that understands your needs as a client

•    Tony Sanders, Managing Director - Commercial, Interserve FM, with a supplier perspective on what buyers need to do and know

•    Andrew Wilkinson, Head of Managing Agent Business, Atkins Asset Management, on measuring performance: a Metropolitan Police case study

•    Johan Vanlook, Service Delivery Manager at Unilever on workplace well-being: a Unilever case study.

At the end of the day, there was consensus that the three critical issues – people, service, profit – do not fall neatly into any rank order of importance. They are inextricably interlinked and, though priorities may change from situation to situation, ignoring any one is certain to undermine FM success and, ultimately, broader business success.

Delegates heard a strong call from speakers for more knowledge and better communication: clients need a greater understanding of how service provision works; providers need a thorough understanding of how the client's business works.

Summing up, Lucy Jeynes emphasised the positive outcomes: "Amongst many other things, this day has been a showcase for how FM can add value in a whole variety of different situations."

But she also added a challenge: "Too often, we as an industry are poor at communicating our message. We have the hard evidence: we must do more with it."

We would like to thank our sponsors for a highly successful Workplace Futures 2010: