By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
Facility managers are a central point of contact for building issues, space planning, and workplace data analysis. This means being able to communicate clearly company leaders, employees, vendors, and visitors It’s no surprise “good communication skills” top most facility manager job postings.
Frictionless communication is key. This goes beyond what you say and how you say it. In the age of multiple communication channels, a multigenerational workforce, and fast-paced work environments, good communication is equal parts effort and strategy.
Here are a few tips for facilitating clear and honest two-way communication in the workplace:
Create strong communication channels
Technology is your friend. Harness it and use it to develop robust facilities management communication strategies. Namely, set up communication channels that make it easy for people to report issues or submit requests.
- Email: Answer emails within 24 hours to develop a communicative rapport with staff.
- Messaging: Whether you use Google Chat, Slack, Messenger, or another platform, maintain activity during work hours with push notifications enabled.
- Forms: Great for feedback, suggestions, and reporting problems. Make sure there’s a framework for follow-up.
- Phone: Put your extension in your email and on materials relating to facilities management. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone when it rings.
The result is simple: make yourself easy to reach and respond as quickly as possible.
Establish routines and processes
Good facility manager communication depends on a sound framework. Communication routines and processes bring stability to your role. And, they help people you’re communicating with understand what to expect.
Take email, for example. Read and reply to messages two to three times per day—first thing in the morning, at lunch, and at the end of the day. If employees know they can email in the morning and get a reply by lunch or email at the end of the day and get a reply first thing in the morning, it sets realistic expectations.
Another example is form submission and follow-up. Build forms to encourage good communication from employees. Sort forms into your inbox, so they’re organized by the nature of the submission, time, department, etc. From there, develop processes for handling submissions—address the issue directly or pass it on to another department.
Developing routines and processes for communication makes it easier to stay on top of inquiries and ensure they get the attention they deserve.
Be direct and to-the-point
A general rule of interpersonal communication—one that’s especially important for facilities managers—is being succinct. Don’t mince words or overcomplicate things. There’s much less chance for miscommunication if you eliminate excess, potentially confusing information. You’ll develop a reputation for being helpful and the authority on workplace operations. And, if you don’t have the answer someone is looking for, point them in the direction of someone who does.
Strengthen interpersonal communication
Face-to-face communication is just as important as email, messaging, and other forms of digital contact. Some of the best communication tips for facilities managers are the ones you can practice in everyday interactions:
- Be positive: Negativity stunts communication. Maintain a positive air to encourage honesty and comfort for employees who are voicing concerns.
- Be responsive: Validate conversations in a meaningful way that shows the other party you were listening—whether it’s restating their concerns or proactively addressing their issues.
- Be respectful: People want to be heard. Listen, engage, and empathize. That speaks volumes when it comes to respect.
- Be reliable: Be reachable and approachable. If people can count on you, they’ll talk to you.
- Be exemplary: Set the standard for communication in your workplace. Set the example you want people to follow in terms of quality communication.
A facility manager is the voice of the workplace. Make your voice heard through interactive technologies and responsive interactions. Creating strong communication channels help employees feel heard, respected, and valued.
Keep reading: multigenerational workforce checklist
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash