If you’re a facility manager, you juggle a lot. Some days, the demands may seem to just keep coming faster and faster, and you have to keep executives in the loop. Communication is an essential but sometimes overlooked part of a facility manager’s job. In fact, the International Facility Management Association lists communications as one of the 11 core competencies facility managers should have. Many degree programs offer coursework in facility management communication, too. Let’s look at why communicating is critical.
Facility Management Communication: The Importance of Communicating With an Executive Team
Facility managers do more these days than they ever have. In past years, it was typical for many managers to do their job in isolation. That worked OK much of the time because their job responsibilities were not as interconnected with other employees’, their actions would not affect much, or they would see executives often enough in person to discuss matters.
Work environments today are different. People work remotely, even globally, and have higher expectations for communication.
The potential risks have increased, too. Facility managers oversee museums, airports, malls, offices, stadiums, and much more. Sometimes, they themselves may work remotely on occasion and manage operations such as security, cleaning, grounds management, emergency response, real estate management, and even business continuity planning. Making even a small adjustment without consulting executives can cause headaches. Thus making a facility management communications plan critical to your success.
Overcommunicate Rather Than Undercommunicate
Facility managers should err on the side of overcommunication rather than under communication. Keep executives looped in. Don’t leave them in the dark about changes, no matter how minor they seem. Executives get a lot of emails, texts, and memos every day, so they know how to prioritize what they receive. Frequently, it is assistants who review communications anyway, not the executives themselves.
Speaking of who reviews communications, ask each executive how you should communicate with them and/or their representative. Even if an executive says something like, “No worries, I trust you, it’s all good,” say that you want to at least loop in an assistant. The assistant can decide whether a matter is important enough to bring to executives’ attention.
Clarify Context and Priority When Communicating
Straightforward communications work well for facility managers regardless of the medium used. Put yourself in the executives’ shoes to see which details are critical for them to have. For example, if you’re a facility manager of a business with multiple locations, include which locations are affected.
If you are making adjustments, explain the rationale behind the proposed changes or decisions, who is affected, and how the changes will be made, and offer concrete ways to receive feedback. Be sure to express priority for emergencies and urgent matters.
Vary How You Communicate Information
Executives, just like everyone else, have different learning styles. Some love graphs and flowcharts, while others prefer snippets of information and don’t read in depth. When you write reports, summaries, and the like, focus on procedural, step-by-step writing. Include summaries, maps, flow charts, and textual directions to best reach your audience.
Follow a Few Basic Communication Tips for Facility Managers
These tips go a long way:
- Clarify your goal or message to yourself before you start writing or communicating.
- Ensure you’re communicating on topics relating to what executives want to hear about, not necessarily what you want to say.
- Organize information so it progresses logically.
- Keep your communications short and sweet (concise). Include necessary information without throwing in filler, but do not assume a lot. If executives might not know the relevant background, break it down briefly.
- Avoid jargon.
Facility Management Communication
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