Respecting Client Corporate Culture in FM
Berrison Group managing director, Colin Dulston, says a proper understanding of different organisational cultures is essential to the delivery of large FM contracts.
Company culture is now (rightly) recognised as a vital element of an organisation’s success. A good company culture allows employees to bring their true selves to work, setting the foundations for a happy team and real, tangible growth.
As FM contracts become larger and increasingly complex, we are seeing FM managers struggle as their contract teams find themselves working alongside other organisations as well as liaising closely with multiple internal customers.
There is a real need to prepare for this, and ensure communication lines are open between all the individuals and businesses, for a more streamlined and efficient way of working. But this is not just about the internal company culture. It’s about adhering to societal customs and laws and recognising that different continents, countries, even regions, have contrasting ways of working.
Companies today are working on an international basis more than ever before. Increased technologies and global markets mean that efficiency is increased, but then it can be affected in subtle ways when cultural integration is not considered.
Our role at Berrison is to work with these global companies, often managing linked up sessions with huge teams, to help everyone work as one unit.
Here are some simple ways to help your global team work well together at a more local level:
Define your core values
These should be across the board. Agree them, send them out, promote them in all regions. A company ethos needs to apply across the board and all your team should know it and be reminded of it regularly.
Open up the internal PR! Create an online newsletter that goes to all and reports news on all the areas. Set up an intranet system so that people can communicate and access documents and information easily. Consider company Facebook pages and ensure teams share their successes.
Keep it standard
A little internal competition can be a good thing but not when it starts to needle at people’s ability to do their job. This is why a level playing field needs to be established (as much as possible). This applies to targets, systems, procedures and benefits.
Acknowledge the differences
At the same time, making everyone feel equal should not ignore their differences. Diversity needs to be open for discussion and promoted in each office. Learn from each other and share best practice as much as possible.
Travel throughout the regions is not always possible, but there are other ways to participate and make every region visible - and this can be led from the top. Make it a part of each MD or regional manager’s job to regularly have meetings with their counterparts and mention them regularly, ensuring each team knows of personnel in other teams.
A logical result of working with international companies is that we have to adapt to different cultures. Problems - which slow things down and impact on customer confidence - can be easily be avoided with the right planning from the start. Every contract has a recognisable life cycle and each stage in the life cycle presents particular challenges and opportunities that that if addressed properly will increase quality, profit/margin and reputation.
It ultimately comes down to the fact that people buy into people. By breaking down barriers, getting to know one another, and following the same business path, we can all work together more happily and more efficiently.