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Focus On Communication With Facility Management Staff When Costs Have To Be Cut

February 14, 2013 - Facilities Management

Today's tip from Building Operating Management: Focus on communication with facility management staff when costs have to be cut.

During difficult periods, it is important to communicate with employees for the purpose of managing resistance and facilitating buy-in. To help with a transition to outsourcing, ADP implemented a major communication plan, including "road shows," webcasts, telephone conferences and an extensive change management program. ADP worked hard to map employee benefits structures to the new company so that employees did not experience losses. At the same time, employees had to adjust to new reporting responsibilities and more paperwork.

When belts had to be tightened at SAP, employees were given information about the need for creating a smarter, more efficient organization. "We needed education, clarity, and transparency with regard to corporate objectives," says Larry Morgan of SAP. SAP employees worked collaboratively to achieve a 4 percent cut, and participatory decision making helped achieve "buy in" on austerity measures.

The law firm of Fenwick & West has worked hard to communicate with employees about reductions and changes, often using social media techniques such as Facebook, Twitter and blogging. "We have stepped up the marketing of the department," says Julie O'Loughlin, senior director of operations and facilities. "You have to justify what you are doing. [We] highlight the good things we are doing, educate on the changes. We send a digital newsletter with an internal portal that looks like a Facebook fan page."

Digital marketing has been a great success and has allowed a lot of interaction with employees, which creates buy-in about cost-cutting strategies, says O'Loughlin. For example, in the past, every kitchen on every floor used to have a selection of 20 teas and multiple kinds of coffee. Since many of these choices were not used, and since these products have a limited shelf life, the company was wasting a lot of money. An on-line survey of flavor choices eliminated about 60 percent of what was being offered in the kitchen, which was a significant cost savings for the company. "There was no pushback," says O’Loughlin.

This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.


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