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25 October 2018

Enabling End-User Success

“You can design and create the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” (Walt Disney)

Integrated Facility Management’s (IFM) role in creating high-performance workplaces is being shaped by the ongoing technological revolution, evolving expectations of workers young and old, and the emergence of new business and collaboration models. Combined, these driving forces are enabling new ways of working, which are transforming the role that workplaces play in enabling organisational success.

Live webinar - Enabling End-User Success

Watch Jeffrey Scott Saunders, Director of the CIFS, discuss the role of Integrated Facility Management in enabling end-user success. This webinar will be held at 16:00 GMT on Wednesday, 7 November

Register now!

IFM providers will have to identify and support their clients’ organisations in new ways to collaborate with both internal and external stakeholders.

The physical workplace is no longer an organisation’s epicentre, but it is and will remain the key enabler for end-user and, ultimately, organisational success. The physical workplace, properly enhanced through IFM services, should both support the key activities necessary for organisational success and the development of an organisational culture by providing the best possible and most attractive work environments. IFM providers will not only need to ensure well-functioning building operations, their focus will have to expand beyond a focus on “bricks and mortar” towards a user-centric approach that helps people achieve their professional and personal objectives through performance enabling workplaces and spaces, and holistic workplace experiences.

This transition will have profound implications on IFM providers’ processes, employment practices and how they collaborate with partners in and outside the organisation. IFM providers will face many challenges in this transition. Two of the most important will be discussed in this blog post – the rise of contingent workers and the focus on wellbeing and engagement. Other topics will be discussed in greater detail during my (Jeffrey Saunders, Director, Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies) webinar on 7 November 2018 “Enabling End-User Success” hosted by Planon.

More future end-users are contingent employees

IFM providers will have to support a dynamic, hybrid workforce consisting of full-time and contingent workers (contractors, consultants, freelancers, temps, advisers, etc.). Workers change employers and careers with greater frequency, and they show greater interest in more mobile and flexible work arrangements. For a growing number of workers, working for one employer full-time is not an attractive option. At the same time, companies use contingent workers to supplement in-house skills and increase flexibility.

Various studies from companies and governments show growing interest in this trend. For example, in an Oxford Economics study, 83% of executives surveyed indicate that they are increasingly using contingent employees. In most advanced economies, between 20-30% of workers work on a contingency basis. Both the U.S Department of Labor and the UK Ministry of Labour predict that 50% of their respective labour markets will be employed on a contingent basis by 2030.

The use of contingent employees leads to several workplace challenges. It will impact the integration and retention of talent and lead to challenges in managing a contingent talent pool. IFM providers will have to cater to a constantly rotating workforce with varying and inconsistent needs.

Focus on well-being and engagement by choosing the right workplace strategy

Globally, organisations suffer from a high degree of employee disengagement. According to Gallup data from 154 countries, only 16% of workers worldwide are engaged at work, while an even larger number, 18%, are actively disengaged. Disengaged workers are not only less productive and innovative. They also lack a social connection in the workplace and connection with the organisation’s mission or strategy.

Disengaged employees are also costly. They cost the organisation through absenteeism (being physically absent from the workplace due to illness or stress), presenteeism (being physically present at the workplace, but not fully productive), and higher turnover. These costs can be mitigated: Employees with higher levels of engagement are absent 37% fewer days than those with lower levels of engagement.

To help their clients’ organisations successfully attract, integrate and retain future talents (both full-time and contingent workers), IFM providers will need to identify how their workplaces can support employee engagement through a workplace strategy. Workplace strategy is distinct from organisational strategy. While organisational strategy centres around creating a competitive advantage based on the organisation’s core competencies, workplace strategy aligns organisational strategy, workplace design, and needs of the workforce.

There is a direct correlation between a productive culture and an organisation’s capabilities and ability to execute on strategy. The workplace’s role in supporting the organisations’ core strategic ambitions, brand and culture is often overlooked. When designing a workplace strategy, organisations should not only support the existing culture, but help shape the development of the desired future culture.

Choosing the right workplace strategy requires a shift in how IFM providers think about their workplace policies – they will increasingly need to think in terms of a return on investment in people rather than on reducing costs. A successful workplace strategy supports employees, as employees are an organisations’ most expensive and valuable assets. However, employee productivity and innovation are often unintentionally undermined by decisions made in real estate, workplace design, technology solutions and the like.

IFM providers in combination with HR, IT and CRE functions will need greater collaboration to create innovative and high-performing organisations that place end-users at the centre of the workplace experience and affect end-user behaviour through change management and nudging. Workplace strategy focuses on how to activate physical space and digital technologies more efficiently and effectively to support organisational goals and the people working to achieve them. Doing so can not only drive cost savings but create environments where workers will love to come to work. Ultimately, the goal is to create and maintain workplaces that establish a virtuous cycle that attracts, empowers, and retains people closer to the organisation.

Sign up for my webinar on 7 November to hear about other challenges that service providers face in the transition to enabling end-user success.

Jeffrey Saunders
Director of the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies