Facility managers are essential employees for any business that operates in a physical location. These professionals are responsible for maintaining equipment, developing skilled staff, optimizing operations, and facilitating business growth.
According to the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), a qualified facility manager must be able to successfully optimize facility management operations and “ensure functionality, comfort, safety, and efficiency of the built environment by integrating people, place, process, and technology.”
If you are planning a career as a facility manager, then there are some essential skills that you should focus on. In this article, we describe crucial facility manager skills that are essential for a successful career.
Six essential facility manager skills
Not just facility managers but any leadership role requires good communication skills. Whether written or oral, facility managers should be able to present ideas or communicate any other information in an engaging and motivating way. Facility managers often look after the workforce within the facility and must communicate with vendors, suppliers, and customers.
This is why one of the critical skills for facilities managers is to communicate effectively. As a facility manager, you will delegate responsibilities, guide employees, explain ideas, suggest changes, and support customers. All these responsibilities require you to communicate transparently with stakeholders.
2. Team management
Leading staff members is one of the primary facility manager skills and responsibilities. Any facility will have several workers across different departments, such as maintenance, cleaning crews, security teams, and logistic. Facilities managers must be able to manage and navigate individual employees at all levels.
They must also be able to design weekly schedules, delegate jobs, and tasks, and make them perform as a team. You will often be confronted with situations where you must promote unity, resolve conflicts, and mediate issues between staff members. Without proper team management skills, you cannot deliver efficiently on these requirements.
3. Create and manage the facility management budget
Facility management operation is greatly dependent on numbers. Essentially it involves inventory management, the number of hours workers work, operational cost, and budget forecasting. The basic foundation in financial math is another skill required from a facility manager.
A responsible facilities manager must be able to create monthly, quarterly, and annual budgets. Operating a facility is an expensive affair. There are a lot of machines, extensive electrical systems, and equipment. Facility managers must be aware of the lifespan of appliances and equipment to create an achievable budget for maintenance or replacement.
Budgeting is not only for forecasting, but it is also crucial for guiding appropriate staffing decisions that affect the overall facility management. As a facility manager, you must purchase software and other automation systems that meet the standards set by superiors.
As one of your core responsibilities, you will complete budgetary assessments, create financial reports, and submit the facility management budget forecast to the management for review.
4. Time management and scheduling shifts for employees
Facilities managers are solely responsible for maintaining a functional unit. It is their responsibility to manage projects and lead multiple teams. This is why time management is one of the critical facility manager skills needed to ensure that projects are completed on time and the workforce is appropriately trained.
To ensure smooth functioning, facility managers must maintain records of the infrastructure, facility management operations, machines, and maintenance. Additionally, as part of staff management, they have to work on schedules and create staff shifts according to workload.
Most facilities use software like Truein, a total employee time and attendance management system for time management and shift scheduling. An AI-based face recognition attendance system, Truein offers real-time employee monitoring with geofencing and GPS.
Facility managers can use this software to track employees and ensure they are at their designated location within the facility. As facilities managers are also tasked with reviewing and assessing each worker’s performance and progress, they can use Truein to calculate overtime, absenteeism, leaves, and other employee attendance and scheduling reports.
5. Project management
Project management falls within the scope of facility manager skills and responsibilities. Facility managers must follow the functional organizational structure to deliver on the project quality as the senior executives define. With project-based organizational structures, teams are given a degree of autonomy to manage projects as they see fit.
Therefore, facility managers should have project management skills to deliver revenue and budget goals. If you are a proficient project manager, you can quickly move up the career ladder as the project requirements become more complex.
6. Technology skills
By the nature of work, facility managers face dozens of daily challenges. Many of these challenges demand creative technological solutions. Fortunately, with the influx of so many new technical solutions, it is possible to automate many aspects of facility management operations.
Counted among critical skills for facility managers, technological creativity is essential to build an innovative workplace. If you are not technologically proficient as a facility manager, you risk falling behind on many important tools.
According to industry observers, facilities managers should focus on three critical aspects of technology to be successful.
They must keep an open mind about new opportunities becoming possible due to technological advancements in service management, delivery, and reporting.
Facilities management is a people business, so technology making it easier to manage people should be integrated into this service. For example, cloud-based technologies offer greater flexibility in managing the workforce due to their decentralized architecture.
The facility manager should find a solution that keeps people and assets safe. Some technologies include IoT sensors that can detect faulty equipment, employee tracking software, and logistics management software.
If you have these crucial facility manager skills, then you are ready to take up the challenge. However, if you think you need to improve your skills further, here are some tips.
Three tips to improve your skills as a facility manager
1. Talk to your staff and know their problems
Facilities managers should constantly communicate with their staff to know their needs and requirements. When you build a relationship with your staff, you can create a respectful work environment.
You can use anonymous forms and other feedback tools to encourage employees to share their feelings regarding the work environment, duties, and culture. You are responsible for taking honest feedback and using the information to design work policies that provide satisfaction to workers.
2. Provide goals and feedback to employees
Employee training and encouragement are required to motivate the workforce. You must provide each worker with appropriate assignments and achievable goals to help them improve in their role. As a facility manager, you must be aware of the skill sets of your workers so you can task them with duties managing their skills.
Sharing honest feedback is also your responsibility once employees have submitted their work. Provide constructive feedback on the areas of improvement, and don’t forget to complement quality work. Goals and feedback are essential for workers as they take them as an indicator to develop skills and perform their duty better.
3. Track productivity and check employees are working properly
You won’t be able to ensure optimal functioning and operations of the facilities until you track your employees’ productivity. Evaluating productivity is how you can track each employee and help them improve their skills. Facility managers can sometimes have to guide huge teams.
To keep track of the productivity of such enormous groups, you need software like Truein. Such tools can help you closely monitor the performance and productivity of employees, helping facility managers identify the staff’s training needs.
While a facility manager must have all the required leadership and managerial skills, the above-mentioned ones are crucial. Expertise in these skills can improve your job, separating you from average facility managers. We hope this guide will help you keep your skills shaft in an era where the role of facility managers is changing beyond on-site responsibilities.