It’s old news that maintenance and engineering managers need to be better communicators. For years, managers have heard that the best way to build support for their departments within institutional and commercial facilities is to take the initiative and push out the message that their staffs perform crucial roles that benefit their organizations.
Now it’s time for savvy managers to tailor the message to the audience — or, more accurately, audiences. Managers have at least three primary audiences that are crucial to achieving their goals, and each audience has different roles and priorities. The challenge is to communicate in ways that address specific issues and needs.
The first audience, and perhaps most important one, is the C-suite. Facility executives and building owners approve budgets, grant requests for more staff and generally provide the resources departments need to succeed. Communications from managers to this audience need to stress that their departments perform essential tasks and use their resources wisely. Money is the message.
The second audience is department staff. Nothing related to maintenance and engineering gets done in facilities without supervisors and technicians who are informed, supported and motivated. The message to this audience is that managers are proactive, tuned in to staff needs, and working to create a safe, rewarding workplace.
The third audience is the customers. The makeup of this audience varies by type of facility — students and teachers in schools, patients and nurses in hospitals, etc. — but the message is consistent: Managers and their staffs are working around the clock to create facilities that are comfortable, safe and sustainable.
With the arrival of social media, managers have more platforms than ever to communicate with these audiences. The challenge is to use every means available to deliver the message that their departments are in tune with the needs of both facilities and the people who work in them.