The Real Estate ecosystem is changing; and understandably, the roles of Facilities Management – which constitute up to 80% of any Real Estate lifecycle – is also changing. This is not just increasing the demand for Facilities Management services and professionals, it is equally raising the bar and redefining the skills and competencies required to reach the pinnacle of the FM profession.
Therefore, given our experience as an arm of Africa’s leading Facilities Management Company, Alpha Mead Facilities; and as a Global Training Affiliate of the International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA) in Africa, we are reviewing the IFMA’s Global Job Task Analysis (GJTA), to share with professionals and potentials in our training programmes what competencies employers are looking for.
The GJTA gathered responses on job responsibilities from facility managers in 62 countries to present budding and established professionals in Facilities Management with ways the 11 core competencies identified are still relevant today and in what forms employers are looking for them.
- Leadership and Strategy
Facilities Management is one of the critical support services of a business. Either as a business owner who engages the services of FM, a promoter or investor in Real Estate; Facility Manager plays a critical role in the success of Real Estate.
Therefore, a Facility Manager – whatever stage in the career ladder – must demonstrate leadership in being able to mobilize resources; and strategy – by being able to link business objectives to facilities management goals. For example, if a business objective for a year is to generate more revenue, a facility manager must be able to define the right strategy that will increase the people’s productivity or reduce Real Estate overhead. He must then be able to mobilize resources to achieve the set goals of FM.
One of the modules of our Professional Facilities Management (PFM) Training deals extensively with managing stakeholders. It relies on the Mendelow’s matrix to conclude on how to treat and address all stakeholders in the Facilities Management value chain. At the center of this is Ccommunication. Communicating above, across and below. Keeping stakeholders informed through feed-forward methods and reporting performance to help decision making.
As a Facilities Management professional, quality is key; and that is set by different Facility Manager’s standards of what is appropriate across the scope of the Facilities Manager practice. This requires early integration of quality management standards in process design and delivery of the Facility Manager’s function. The development of an operationally-specific Quality Management System (QMS) provides the framework required for ongoing management and continuous improvement of service delivery.
Therefore, in an industry where the definition of quality is still very hazy, having competency in QMS to give clarity of expectation and delivery of Facilities Manager is an added advantage, particularly, as global brands begin to look into the African Real Estate space.
Globally, technology is taking the center stage of Real Estate. It is changing the way Real Estate is managed and placing new demands on Facilities Management.
Facilities Management companies in Africa, in response to this increasing digitalization, are embracing smart solutions and systems such as, Visitor Management System, Electronic Document Management System, Building Management Systems, etc. Therefore, it can be argued that Facilities Management professionals without tech skills will have no place in the bright future of the industry.
A report by our Facilities Management subsidiary on Tech Trends and the future of Workplace FM in Nigeria shows that work-life balance, training, technology & innovation, and pay equity are the four key issues prioritized by the next generation in the workplace. Technology will play a major role in this mix.
- Operations and Maintenance
This is the heart of Facilities. A competent Facility Manager must demonstrate ability to assess the condition of the facility, manage the building systems condition, assess the condition of the facility’s structure – interior, exterior, etc; and oversee operations and maintenance activities.
In a market where the cost of critical equipment breakdown is costing businesses billions of dollars, employers are looking for Facility Manager professionals who understand these and can mobilize resources to nearly eliminate equipment down time and reduce cost of operations by carrying out the right Planned Preventive Maintenance activities.
- Project Management
Facilities Managers interacts with a lot of project activities and supply vendors. From power to sewage, HVAC to landscaping, janitorial services and so on; employers are looking for FM professionals with project management capabilities to define and program projects (purpose, size, scope, schedule, budget and user needs), plan projects (resources, schedule and sequence), and develop contract specifications and solicitations.
Other areas an Facilities Manager professional need to demonstrate competence are contact administration, project implementation and performance evaluation.
- Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability
With increased interest and awareness around sustainability, organisations globally are compelled to demonstrate commitment to environmental sustainability. Therefore, employers of Facilities Managers are not just looking for an individual with competence for business profitability and people productivity, they are looking for someone who can help them become more environmentally responsible.
- Real Estate and Property Management
Facilities Management is core to Real Estate and Property Management, it also plays a significant role in the value chain. A Facility Manager must understand and demonstrate how to, through property management align the objectives of Real Estate with the goals of Facilities Management.
He/she must be able to develop and implement a real estate master plan, oversee real estate assets by being able to determine and evaluate real estate requirements, acquire the right asset with due recourse to space utilization, management, highest and best use; and even dispose these assets when necessary.
- Emergency Planning and Business Continuity
This refers to the organisation’s ability to function, with lives and assets protected, when faced with threats. It is an integral part of any business, more so for the Facilities Management industry because the impact of damage is substantial and could result in loss of lives.
In most organizations, Facilities Managers are responsible for planning, managing and supporting the entire organizations emergency preparedness programme. They develop risk management plan, emergency management plans and procedures and assist in the design of simulations or exercises to test the plans.
- Finance and Business
Understanding finance and business is relevant to today’s Facilities Management profession than ever. Real Estate is understandably a capital-intensive project and Facilities Management – which is a huge part of Real Estate – manages the Real Estate-related Capital and Operating Expenditure of the business.
A good facility manager therefore needs a good understanding of how finance works and how the Facilities Management function impacts business and decisions.
As a Facilities Manager, you will be responsible for the financial management of the services you manage. Whether it be budgeting, forecasting, or reconciling; to be successful, you need to be confident that you are managing the monetary aspects of your services excellently. If you need to develop this competence, click to check out our training programmes.
- People Management
Facilities Management is the function that integrates people, place and processes – with the purpose of improving quality of life of the people and the productivity of the core business. This means that people sit at both ends of Facilities Management.
So, for an Facilities Management professional to succeed in today’s market, he/she must demonstrate to the employer the ability and technicalities to manage the real estate asset in ways that the quality of lives of the occupiers are improved and the productivity of the core business is guaranteed.