The Key Skills Facilities Managers Should Possess in 2021
By: Syeda Gul-e-Khansha
May 25, 2021
Every large organization needs people with the essential facilities management skills. Without their assistance, keeping such an extensive system maintained and organized is next to impossible. However, finding such individuals is easier said than done. In a market that grows more complex and dynamic by the day, there are many important skills for facilities managers to master. According to the ISO, their job involves integrating infrastructure components and improving the employees' quality of life.
Their efforts improve the overall productivity of the company. Nevertheless, it's time to understand that gone are the days when FM was merely a way to save others the trouble of rendering accessory services. Today, it is at the core of every major business and holds its various components together. The FM department of a company can make or break its entire internal network. It is no surprise that employers have high standards when it comes to key facilities manager skills. This reality of the job market is also reflected in a survey released by the IFMA.
What Are the Core Skills of a Facilities Manager?
Below we have compiled some skills that you should possess to land your dream job as a facilities manager. This list has been partially inspired by a study done by researchers from the University of Malaysia. This study sheds light on the key skills that make a facilities manager competent.
- Professional Skills
- Social Skills
- Personal Skills
1. Professional Skills
When you apply for any job, the first thing that is considered are the profession-relevant skills listed on your résumé. These skills are represented by your diplomas, degrees, certificates, or prior experience in a particular field. As far as FM jobs are concerned, an applicant should have the following technical skills.
• Mathematical Prowess
Even if the company you work for has little to do with anything calculational, you cannot escape mathematics – at least that is what every school teacher says! This statement is very true.
We are not saying that you need to be a Math’s contest winner or anything, just that it will make your financial work a breeze. Working for a company as a facilities manager comes with a lot of administrative work. You'll be looking at budgets, trend graphs, statistics, and tables – a lot of numbers! Some know-how about fundamental mathematics and problem-solving will do you much good. You could always have the accountant do it for you, but it still is one of the key facilities manager skills that will make your resume stand out.
• Understanding of Law
The law penetrates every aspect of an organization. From business deals to human resources, federal and state laws regulate all matters. The bigger the company, the more there is at stake. Thus, an able facilities manager needs to have in-depth knowledge of the law relating to his line of work. Again, all major companies have dedicated personnel, such as lawyers, to deal with all legal cases. Still, knowing a bit about the national laws and the by-laws of your company is always a good idea. In the FM department, OSHA standards, Tort law, employment law, and local laws need to be strictly abided.
• Crisis Management
Most people work fine under normal circumstances, but the actual test of their mettle happens in emergencies. Naturally, unexpected and unprecedented situations cause panic. However, pulling yourself out of the trance and staying level-headed is one of the essential skills for facilities managers.
To overcome a crisis effectively, there are two ways: preparation and management. Preparation: Preparation or resiliency planning can help altogether avoid the crisis. However, if an emergency does occur, training drills and training sessions held earlier can educate people on the right way to respond. Management: The most effective way to manage a crisis is by setting up a comprehensive and well-maintained building automation system (BAS). It includes security alarms, smoke alarms, and other alerts to notify people in time. Whatever the emergency, the department looks to its head for guidance. A facilities manager must be equipped to provide it.
• Data-Driven and Analytical Thinking
A facilities manager must go through and interpret a lot of information in his or her routine activities. Be it a budget or reports on contractor performance; data is necessary to make informed decisions. Although it may be the same too drab of an exercise, the manager has to do it. If you want to apply for the facilities manager's position in 2021, know that you will need to come up with novel solutions to the problems you encounter. To devise such strategies, you need to use all available resources, critically analyze them, and summarize your collected info.
• Financial Knowledge
Whether you work for a business or a non-profit organization, complex finances are the common denominator. You will have to draft budgets, finalize salaries, balancing income and expenditure, and calculate profit. To put it in a nutshell, crunching numbers is in your job description. Your company's financials and monetary standing will influence many of your choices. To reduce cost, you might order things in bulk, delay some minor repairs, and limit the workforce. Many decisions hinge on the available finances and how you want to handle them. Thus, people who lack these essential facilities manager skills will have a hard time carrying out their duties, that is, if they get employed to the post at all.
• Proficiency in Keeping and Interpreting Statistics
Statistics is a way to organize information and draw conclusions from. For companies operating in a dynamic marketplace, statistical data is worth gold. Sales trends, employee turnover, customer interests, and public image are all studies in meticulous detail. At first glance, the graphs and tables do seem tedious, but this statistical analysis earns some businesses millions of dollars. Therefore, every administrative member of a corporation should know the required concepts of statistical analysis and how to interpret the data it yields.
2. Social Skills
In practical life, you will rarely find a job wherein you have to work solo. In the majority of professions, especially those related to FM, social interaction is a day-to-day occurrence. Therefore, there is a need to hone the following social skills.
• Empathy and Compassion
The maintenance of company property once used to be the primary purpose of the FM department. However, this line of thinking has begun to change. FM is becoming more human-centric, thus promoting empathy and safety in the workplace.
An aspiring facilities manager should learn early on that FM is not just a statistics-driven business. There is a significant human aspect to it. That is why compassion and patience towards your colleagues is one of the key skills for facilities managers.
A facilities manager should develop a working relationship with his or her employees. Catering to their just needs will undoubtedly motivate them to work harder.
• Assist Your Team Members!
The position of a facilities manager demands more than just signing the papers on his or her desk. It entails all efforts to actively enhance the working experience of the personnel at the company.
If something needs to be replaced or repaired I.e., furniture or air conditioners, the manager should put up a request for replacement or repair. Managers should not expect improvement but be the catalyst for it. Another place where they can offer assistance is training and development. With this they can help team members to polish their skills who need a little guidance and help. Such endeavors will yield benefits for the member and the company by promoting a cooperative environment.
• Encouragement and Empowerment
Some people need a push to get themselves on the right track. Once they learn, they become invaluable assets to an organization. Finding such people and encouraging them to excel is one of the important facilities management skills. The FM manager should engage with the staff and encourage them to do better at work. He should also address concerns of the team members and help them solve those concerns. He should be flexible and listen to what they have to say – their ideas, suggestions, and opinions on your office environment. If necessary, use anonymous forms and other means of feedback to learn about and implement innovative plans.
• Prioritizing the Tasks
It is natural for a department as important as FM to be under a stressful workload. In such a case, the manager needs to assign priority levels to the tasks at hand. Prioritization is, in fact, a fundamental management strategy. Overwork and lack of order can hinder even the smoothest of supply chains. Thus, a facilities manager should plan and do important things, such as essential repairs, budget drafting, and HR coordination. Getting shipments done on time is always a top priority. We at PackageX believe so too. That is why we have developed PackageX Mailroom that gives this job the attention it deserves.
3. Personal Skills
The personal traits and inner feelings of a person influence his or her actions greatly. It is but natural for people to perform poorly in a field if they lack the required innate talent or interest. In such cases, personal skills and qualities dominate over both professional and social ones. As an FM manager, one should work on the following personal skills.
The most important trait in FM and all sectors is the willingness to do your job devotedly. The working hours for facilities managers are not short, and the work can be tedious at times. In such situations, your motivation will be the only thing pushing you to complete your task.
The willingness to go out of your way while performing a task goes a long way toward success. Many driven people pursue better education to stay up to date and acquire important facilities management skills. Some even go as far as to get an internationally recognized FM certification.
Mailroom is a mailroom management software (MMS) that partially automates your mailing operations and lets your employees direct their efforts toward more engaging tasks.
• Diverse Knowledge and Adaptability
Knowledge is power, and the more you have of it, the easier you will find your FM tasks to be. A facilities manager rarely has a planned, monotonous routine. Instead, no two days are alike for them. In such a profession, adapting to ever-changing circumstances is crucial. Thus, flexibility is one of the essential skills for facilities managers. For this purpose, they must have all the necessary information regarding the field wherein their department operates. For example, the FM manager in a law firm does not need a law degree. But they do require a basic understanding of how the firm operates.
• Proactivity and Meticulousness
Attention to detail and handling even minor affairs delicately can do wonders for an organization. It can resolve both minor hiccups and major blunders before they ever happen. Such proactivity is possible only when a conscientious and meticulous manager heads the FM department.
Take the routine maintenance of hospital equipment, for instance. Even the slightest negligence of the FM workers can cost the hospital thousands of dollars in compensation. This sort of situation can destroy not only reputations but also lives.
Prevention is always a better option than reaction. Why deal with something troublesome when you can avoid it altogether? An able FM manager knows this golden rule. Mailroom helps you with the tedious task of mail organization and shipment planning, so you have more time to focus on other details be proactive.
Indecisive people and the corporate environments are not a good match. The job of an FM manager demands quick, split-second decisions, which might have long-term effects on the organization. Nervous and easy-to-stress-out people perform poorly in this area. Your employer expects you to be prudent and make rational choices while considering their interests. If you take too long to process the available options, you might miss the opportunity before you. Among the important facilities manager skills, decision-making is an indispensable one. An FM manager may as well be the backbone of a company. So, them not getting off the proverbial fence spells trouble for them and their colleagues.
• Communication and Networking
Collaboration is an integral aspect of every FM department, where a facilities manager has an administrative role. The ability to convey instructions is not an option but a requirement. On the other hand, allowing others to express their ideas is equally important. A facilities manager has to interact with vendors, stakeholders, workers, and other related personnel. Having meaningful discussions helps build strong professional bonds, which are as important as a company's internal network. Mailing and delivery are essential components of cross-networking. Why not make it more convenient by giving Mailroom a go!
• Technological Savviness
All industries are becoming increasingly reliant on cutting edge technology and tools. Those who fail to keep up with the latest tech trends are bound to be left behind. Do not be one of them! In 2021, a facilities manager must be open to software-based solutions and automation. These options have saved many companies from financial ruin during the COVID-19 crisis. FM is a people-centric business. Technology helps make the jobs of these people more accessible and assets safer. A facilities manager does not have to be a tech expert. But still, they should be able to use the relevant machines and understand basic IT adeptly. These are two key facilities management skills. Using tech to work smartly and efficiently will speed up your company's progress.
• Foresight and Vision
In an expanding organization, there is a need to keep your eyes set on the future. Your vision for your company will, in the end, influence the decisions you'll be making. It is crucial that what you envisage is a realistic outcome that brings about the best possible results. Companies operate in volatile and unpredictable atmospheres. It is the job of facilities managers to use their experience and weigh the pros and cons of the new industry trends. They then must conclude how those trends will influence their company. Relying heavily on old, worn-out ideas and past strategies can often threaten the organization's survival.
• Concern for the Environment
One of the most overlooked but essential facilities management skills is getting the job done while caring for the environment. Sustainability refers to the maintenance of ecological balance by avoiding the overuse of natural resources. Due to the urgency of the environmental crisis, companies are looking for sustainable alternatives to ongoing processes. Much of the responsibility to bring this green shift falls on the FM of a company. Hence, a list of essential facilities manager skills will be incomplete without sustainable practices on it. Energy-tracking systems and resource conservation plans can reduce the carbon footprint of an organization many-fold. Furthermore, sustainable countries attract positive publicity and attention. ClearTrace Technologies used their app, swytchX, which tracks energy supply, to conduct a study. The results showed that more than 70% of people prefer a green company to a non-green one when applying for jobs.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Facilities Manager
Q. What makes a good facilities manager?
A. In our opinion, a good facilities manager is not a workplace tyrant. He or she is a good communicator and a good listener. Superhero facilities managers have exceptional leadership skills. They create value for the business and work closely with HR to maximize the output of their employees. Moreover, they prefer innovation to tradition. Critical thinking and challenging the status quo are two of their top traits. They have excellent personal, interpersonal, professional, and methodical skills, making them eligible to partake in the coordination of all parts of the company. Another worth-mentioning facet of theirs is that they can handle crises and emergencies in a calm and collected manner. They neither panic themselves nor cause others to worry. Being prepared, they work hard toward business continuity once the crises resolve.
Q. What does facilities management include?
A. Facilities management includes all those tools and services that integrate and support the functionality of an organization's real estate, equipment, and infrastructure. If are to be particular, the following are some of the things the FM department oversees. · Administration and accounting of lease · Operations and maintaining assets · Employee and human resources · Managing real estate · Managing power supply and energy sources · Resilience planning and business continuity · Project management · Communication and coordination · Environmental stewardship · Technology integration However, do bear in mind that FM is a vast and diverse field. The responsibilities of an FM manager will vary from company to company, giving you all the more reasons to improve your adaptability and decision-making skills.
Q. What are the types of facilities management?
A. There are two major types of facilities management (FM). The Hard FM deals with the physical or concrete assets and maintenance of a company. These assets include property, real estate, plumbing, air conditioning, transportation means, wiring, cleaning, and all other similar features. The Soft FM focuses on the services rendered by the employees. The primary tasks included in it are accounting lease, HR, communication, custodial services, food, and security. If we go into more detail, each of the tasks included in facilities management (mentioned earlier) can be considered a separate department branch. Thus, each of those services constitutes a unique category of FM.
Q. What is the difference between facilities management and property management?
A. Facilities management (FM) is a general discipline that involves maintaining real estate and human factors. On the contrary, property management (PM) is narrower in scope and keeps the land and the building in good condition. Some consider PM to be a branch of FM; however, it must be understood that property maintenance in PM is much more diverse and detailed than in FM. This is another distinguishing factor between the two.
The list of essential facilities management skills varies from company to company. However, every organization, irrespective of its motto and mission, has specific requirements in common. Such requirements are a natural outcome of assembling people in one organization. These everyday needs do change over time. This emphasizes the need to keep your skillset fresh, relevant, and following the market demands of this day and age. The incorporation of IT and other tech-intensive departments is a rapidly growing trend. Learning about them will help you get employed in any modern company. Take a course, read articles such as ours, ask experts – there is a lot you can do to hone your FM skills! Mailroom can help you with the mail management part of your FM department. With an intuitive design and various functional options, it just makes things easier, simpler, and more fun!