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July 13, 2011 -
In my previous life, I worked in facilities management as a facilities coordinator for a national third-party facilities management firm. One of the things that sticks with me the most about that experience is how much I and my team were invested in our client's company. We were so invested, in fact, that our actual company started having meetings to remind us which company was listed on our paychecks.
Our identity as a team was 100 percent linked to the client company. With just one or two team members housed in a facility, it was natural to be absorbed into the larger client's culture and ethos. This was good. Our buildings were our buildings, our clients were our people and we did everything in our power to serve and provide to the maximum of our ability. It was a visceral shock when, after many many years, we ultimately lost the contract to a larger competitor who underbid us. It's the name of the game, of course, which did nothing to lessen the sting, in the face of all our effort.
I say this because I often think about the outsourced service providers under contract at your facilities. They too probably don't see themselves as expendable at the drop of a hat, or if they do, it probably creates the same level of concern my team experienced once that reality hit home. I'd say they probably see themselves as part of your team and want to be given every opportunity to show just how far they'll go to do an excellent job. All it takes is clear and open communication and a fair shot.