How managers can move their organization from reactive emergencies to planned activities
Angela Testa, senior vice president of operations at American Campus Communities, strengthens operations without compromising a healthy work environment
Above all, John D’Angelo, Northwestern’s vice president of facilities management, prizes the spirit of collaboration. That’s why he’s built his facilities management organization such that the various parts must work together. Their livelihoods literally depend on it. “All of my directors are tied to the KPI deck for their performance appraisals, and thus their compensation,” he says. “’It’s not us, it’s them’ is gone from our vocabulary. It takes some of the friction and finger-pointing away.”
D’Angelo recalls all too many times a project manager bringing a building in on time and under budget – meeting his or her KPIs for the project. But the building was built in such away that it’s impossible for facilities management and maintenance to hit their KPIs. “This will not be the case with us,” he says.
Transparency is important as well, and to that end, D’Angelo publishes his KPIs each month on Northwestern’s Facilities Management Department website.
Some of the actual KPIs are unique in how they fit Northwestern into the Chicago community, as well. For instance, one KPI tracks contracts awarded to local business enterprise and another the contracts awarded to minority and female enterprise, with a goal for each of 15 percent of all contracts over $25,000. But this isn’t just high-minded altruism. D’Angelo sees a tangible benefit to using local and women- and minority-owned businesses. “I want to see Illinois plates when I hire contractors,” he says. “I want to drive good jobs in the Illinois economy.”
Labor is expensive in Chicago, but by creating and maintaining jobs for skilled labor locally can begin to reduce labor costs citywide. “We have an impending labor crisis,” D’Angelo says, “and so we’re trying to drive localized need, which will in turn drive supply to meet demand.”