Creating Human-Centered Facilities

Two female employees sitting behind the same desk looking at a computer screen

Traditionally, facilities management and human resources teams have had very little to do with each other. However, in recent years, organisational development studies have proven a strong correlation between employee well being and productivity.

As discussed in our blog Facilities Managers: Employee Happiness Heroes, employee wellbeing is directly affected by the working environment. As such, facilities management plays a significant role in the output of an organisations human resources.

Facilities managers and HR professionals share a united focus on employee wellbeing. However, a united focus doesn’t always result insufficient collaboration. We discuss some key areas where FM and HR should be collaborating below.

Facilitating focus

For employees, coming to work only to get nothing done due to environmental distractions is frustrating. After all, the workplace should be a place that facilitates a high degree of focus. Creating an environment that fosters focus, results in improved employee wellbeing, and thus higher output.

Temperature, lighting, and air quality are some key factors significantly affecting an employee’s ability to focus. All are factors, which fall under the remit of the facility manager.

When FM collaborates with HR on environmental factors, the opportunity arises to progress beyond whether the AC is “working”.  The question is no longer about air is coming out, but rather, is that unit working for employees?

With HR’s help, you can foster a feedback loop to learn from employees what will work for them. Humans are constantly evolving, and so our approach to FM needs to evolve to meet modern demands.

Fabulous first impressions

When it comes to making first impressions, facility presentation is key. And while you might think that only matters for customers, your HR team have a different perspective.

In larger organisations, the HR team is also typically tasked with recruiting talent to fill open roles. Recruitment is a time consuming and expensive exercise, and significant effort goes into getting the right candidates in for interview.

All that work can be undone in an instant if that talent turns up for an interview and sees the facility in disarray. Individuals who maintain a high standard in their work, tend to expect a quality working environment.

Talented individuals are unlikely to only present for one interview, and the HR team have likely worked hard to get them in. Highlighting the risk of losing this potential talent can help to get the HR team more interested in how the facilities are run.

For recruiters, it’s important that potential talent gets a good feel of what life at their organisation is like. Facilities managers know the buildings better than anyone and are across the best and the worst.

When it comes to curating that all-important first impression for new talent, it needs to be a team effort.

Your HR team will have valuable insights into modern office trends, and what talent will look for in a workplace. As facility managers, you have valuable insights into the viability of implementing these.

Together, you can prioritise accordingly, and propose upgrades to the business that will yield maximum impact.  

Fostering long-term relationships

In the same vein as appealing to potential new talent, collaboration between FM and HR can help to reduce turnover. Retaining staff is a key focus for many businesses, particularly when it comes to skilled work. Low staff turnover is a good indication of a high level of employee happiness and wellbeing.

Low turnover not only reduces recruitment expenditure, but allows staff to accumulate knowledge of the organisation over time. The longer an employee stays with the organisation, the better, and so HR teams are tasked with fostering these relationships.

A good working environment is a key factor in employee happiness and thus low turnover.

Via the all-important feedback loop with employees, HR can provide all-important insights into their needs and wants. As facilities managers, we’re positioned to provide guidelines on what is possible.

Marrying qualitative information from HR, with quantitative from FM, can result in a strategic organisational development plan.

How to work with HR

Your HR team exists to help manage the all-important human aspects of the organisation. The happier employees are, the happier HR will be.

Fostering a collaborative relationship with HR, starts with simply reaching out. Your HR team might not have considered FMs role in supporting employee wellbeing. Leverage your FM system to provide key information, and in return, enjoy a feedback loop with their insights.