When I was in college, I don’t believe there was a degree for the facility management field. Hiring a facility manager (FM) was typically an afterthought. In many cases, a company would buy a new building or facility and then, would become overwhelmed with the additional responsibilities that come with maintaining a building, property or facility in good working order.

Because this role was never traditionally thought of as a necessity, large real estate companies, like CBRE, Jones Lang LaSalle and others, saw an opportunity to serve a growing need. They began to provide the facility management services to those who could not provide them in-house. They offered general oversight of the facilities, building equipment operations and maintenance, and employee services, like food services, mail delivery and/or reception.

Now, things have certainly changed in the facility management field. Colleges are now offering 4-year degrees in facility management. This is a great indication this field is growing and new job opportunities are available.

To be a good FM, you need a specific set of capabilities. Our facilities and workplaces are not getting any less complicated. You need someone with the technical skills to understand:

  • Constantly changing technology and its effect on the building and workforce.
  • Construction means and methods.
  • Space planning, furniture and design.
  • Real estate laws, leases and property rights.
  • Procurement and vendor management.

When you find that person, hire them immediately. Then, involve them with the vision and master plan for your company. To use a sports analogy, the FM certainly isn’t the quarterback of an organization, but they are definitely on the offensive line. They need to understand the big picture, so the facility is ready to handle the needs and goals of the company. If the facility can’t keep up with the needs of the company, because the FM wasn’t aware of the plan, you’ve lost the game before you started.

The FM plays a major, yet understated role, in the success of a company. They are the glue that keeps everything working. You won’t realize how badly you need an FM until something goes wrong. Having an FM on staff, allows you to focus on growing your business, instead of worrying about the building.

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