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October 25, 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. The combination of these driving forces is enabling new ways of working, which are transforming the role that workplaces play in enabling organizational 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’ organizations in new ways to organize and collaborate with both internal and external stakeholders.

The physical workplace is no longer an organization’s epicenter, but still remains the key enabler for end-user and, ultimately, organizational success. The physical workplace, properly enhanced through IFM services, should both support the key activities necessary for organizational success and the development of an organizational culture by providing the best and most attractive work environments. IFM providers will not only need to ensure well-functioning building operations, their focus will also have to expand beyond a ”bricks and mortar” outlook. They will need to shift their focus towards a user-centric approach that helps people achieve their professional and personal objectives through performacne enabling workplaces 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 organization. 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 when I present with Planon in the upcoming webinar, ”Enabling End User Success” on November 7, 2018.

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 now change employers and careers more frequently , and show greater interest inmobile 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 inhouse 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 surveyed executives indicate that they are increasingly using contingent employees. In most advanced economies, between 20-30% of employees work on a contingency basis. Both the U.S Department of Labor and the UK Ministry of Labour predict that 50% of their respective labor 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, organizations 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 18% are actively disengaged. Disengaged workers are not only less productive and innovative, theys also lack social connections in the workplace and connections with the organization’s mission or strategy.

Disengaged employees are also costly. They cost the organization 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 by encouraging employee engagement. Employees with higher levels of engagement are absent 37% fewer days than those with lower levels of engagement.

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

There is a direct correlation between a productive culture and an organization’s capabilities and ability to execute on strategy. The workplace’s role in supporting the organizations’ core strategic ambitions, brand and culture is often overlooked. When designing a workplace strategy, organizations 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 view/analyze/look at a return on investment in terms of people rather than on reducing costs. A successful workplace strategy supports employees, as employees are an organizations’ 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 organizations that place end-users at the center of the workplace experience and affect end-user behavior through change management and nudging. Workplace strategy focuses on how to utilize physical space and digital technologies more efficiently and effectively to support organizational 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 organization.

Sign up for my webinar on November 7th to learn 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