How to Create a Two Way Facility Management Communication Strategy

  January 19, 2012

Today's tip from Building Operating Management: Consider these three elements when building a two way communication strategy.

Good communication skills are essential for facility managers, says Bert Gumeringer, director of facilities operations and security services at Texas Children's Hospital. Here's how he puts it: "If I don't tell the story for my staff, who is going to tell it? If I don't tell the story of the good work they do every day, who is going to tell the CEO? Who is going to tell the board? No one is."

Good communication does not just happen. A communications effort has to be planned and then resources have to be provided to implement that plan. Gumeringer has a broad communication program that can offer other facility managers ideas for their own communication efforts. One prominent element of Gumeringer's program is a six-page bi-monthly in-house newsletter called Service Connect. But the communication strategy goes beyond documents. Once a quarter, Gumeringer holds town hall meetings for more than 500 employees. He also hosts a quarterly Director's Council where he entertains 24 employees for lunch or breakfast with no other leaders allowed in that meeting. "That's a communication tool that I use to get information from staff regarding issues that might not bubble up through their leadership," he says. For example, during one Council a request came up for ride-on cleaning equipment — a request that had been already made through standard channels but was silenced by an individual who believed cleaning is best done by hand.

The Director's Council meetings are an example of the importance of ensuring that there are two-way communications. "We have established or created many lines of communication, designed to channel information upwards to leadership, channel information to our employees, and to get information from our employees about where they have issues or needs," he says.

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


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