John McPherson, Managing Director of ABM in the United Kingdom, shares his thoughts on what ‘s in store for the facilities management sector this year.
At the beginning of a new year, it’s always useful to consider what will influence the facilities management industry during the next 12 months and prepare for what could challenge the sector. It’s also important to reflect on the past year and identify lessons that can help shape the future.
In 2022 the facilities management sector again showed how responsive, flexible and adaptable it can be to challenges that are outside of its control. Regardless of whether challenges are born from political, economic, social or technological change, it is important that we continue to work hard for efficiency and approach tough times in the same way we’ve approached other tests.
With continued fiscal uncertainty around us, this industry like many others, will continue to experience difficulties. However, they can be overcome with the same agility and resilience that we’ve had to demonstrate over the past two years.
Innovative thinking is key to resource challenges
The resource shortage has been one of the biggest challenges facing many sectors, including facility services. Our strong culture and industry leadership serve as the foundation in making ABM a great place to work, but it is our innovative approach to attracting and retaining talent that makes the difference for us, particularly during these periods of uncertainty.
This could mean looking for new talent not just from the sectors we serve, but from new areas from outside the facilities management circle. We must approach recruitment with a fresh perspective and seek to attract those individuals who will bring the correct mindset, attitude and focus, and then provide them with the necessary training and skills. This approach not only helps keep our talent base staffed, but with diverse perspectives and backgrounds that all help provide the best experience for our clients.
With regards to retention, at ABM we are always considering the investment we put in to training and development; ensuring we are creating very clear career progression opportunities for those who desire growth. As a multi-national company, ABM has the benefit of providing local opportunities, with exposure to collaboration and experience with a more global team.
We are also looking at the future, not just the here and now. Our J.E.E.P (Junior Engineering Engagement Programme) is an excellent example of this. We launched the programme specifically to address the skills gap and make sure that we are doing all we can as a company to promote our industry and equip the next generation of talent with the knowledge and skills required to work in this industry.
Complete building care – a new way of working
As the industry adjusts to a new approach to the working week, the care of buildings is front of mind, with customers needing to look for efficiencies while ensuring healthy environments. This is why we believe integrated facilities solutions such as ABM’s Complete Building Care package will be so crucial in the years ahead.
A functioning facility is a complex combination of specialised components and systems, each with specific needs and challenges. Keeping it all running requires deep expertise in each area—and a full understanding of how each part works together.
Historically, specialised services have been supported by a variety of providers, but the more services one company can support, with expertise across a breadth of cleaning, maintenance, technical, security and other services, the more holistic and cost effective the facilities management operation becomes. This has which has never been more important, or attractive, to customers in difficult fiscal times.
Importance of sustainability
It’s also important to recognise the role that sustainability will play next year and, in the years to come. There is an increasing mindfulness of the environmental impact of operations, with businesses looking for new solutions to significantly reduce their carbon footprint and help in becoming more carbon neutral. Facilities management providers play a critical role and must increasingly collaborate with their clients to identify opportunities in successfully deploying sustainable, waste, and energy efficient practices.