Facilities managers oversee building operations and keep them running smoothly. Aside from that, they also play a key role in managing change.
Change management within the context of facilities maintenance involves understanding the needs of occupants and customers, identifying potential risks and disruptions, and developing and implementing plans to mitigate those risks. It can be a complex and challenging process, but facilities managers can follow these 10 steps for smoother change management:
Establish a clear need for change
Before anything else, it’s important to ensure that change is actually necessary. There may be several factors that contribute to the need for change. Increasing breakdown rates or customer complaints could indicate the need for changes in maintenance practices. Conversely, a decrease in usage or occupancy could necessitate changes to the building itself, such as reconfiguring space to make it more efficient. If you can prove that these changes add value to the organisation, then you’ll be able to convince decision makers to sign off on them.
Define the scope of the change
The next step is to define the scope of the change. This involves determining what will be changed, how it will be changed, and who will be affected by the change.
For instance, if the goal is to reduce unplanned facility downtime, the changes might involve implementing preventive maintenance strategies, upgrading assets, and increasing the frequency of inspections. These changes, in turn, may affect budgets, staffing levels, and work schedules. It’s important to consider all of these factors when defining the scope of the change so you can devise a solid plan.
Develop a detailed change management plan
Your change plan should outline every step of the process, including the resources required, the timeline for implementation, and the people who will be responsible for each task. To illustrate using our previous example: a change plan to reduce unplanned downtime might include tasks, such as conducting a facilities audit, ordering new parts and equipment, and training staff on new maintenance procedures. The plan should specify who is responsible for overseeing each stage of the plan, and it must also have a set due date and budget.
Set roles and responsibilities
It’s essential to assign specific roles and responsibilities for each stage of the change process. This will ensure that everyone knows what they need to do and that tasks are completed on time. The facilities manager should oversee the implementation of new changes, while analysts track the impact of the change and communicators disseminate information to all affected parties. You should also appoint team leaders who are responsible for training technicians on new procedures and coordinating with outside contractors.
Engage key stakeholders in the change process
Successful change management requires buy-in from all levels of the organisation. Establishing a steering committee or working group made up of representatives from various departments can ensure that everyone has a voice in the process. Getting several people involved early will help build support for the changes and make it more likely that they’ll be successful.
Communicate regularly with all involved parties
It’s important to communicate with employees, customers, and other occupants of the facility about what changes are taking place and how they will be affected. A good communication plan should include regular updates and open feedback channels so that stakeholders can ask questions and voice any concerns about the changes. For all you know, their input can be instrumental in creating new ideas and adjustments for the overall change management strategy.
Prepare for resistance
Change, whether it’s new software or revised procedures, can be disruptive and met with resistance. That’s why you must have strategies for dealing with technicians and other stakeholders who may be reluctant to embrace the new way of doing things.
Field technicians, in particular, may need more training to feel confident about using new methods or technology. Creating job checklists that break down new procedures may also help technicians feel comfortable with the changes and ease their transition. Additionally, technicians should have a direct portal shared with facilities managers to give feedback about the changes, report their progress, and voice any concerns.
Monitor progress and adjust the plan as needed
As changes are implemented, it’s important to monitor progress and make sure that they’re having the intended effect. This may require collecting data on metrics, such as unplanned downtime, work order backlogs, and customer satisfaction levels. If the changes aren’t creating the desired effect, then the plan may need to be adjusted. For instance, if unplanned downtime decreases but work order backlogs increase, then it may be necessary to add more technicians or revise the work order prioritisation system.
Achieving small milestones along the way can help keep everyone motivated and focused on the ultimate goal. If the goal is to reduce unplanned downtime by 10%, then celebrating every 1% decrease can show employees that their efforts are paying off. These milestones can be celebrated in many ways, such as team lunches, gift cards, or special acknowledgements during team meetings.
Evaluate the outcomes of the change process
Change management is an ongoing process, and it’s important to reflect on the successes and failures of each initiative. This can be done by conducting surveys, analysing data, and holding focus groups to discuss lessons learned from implementing new changes. The information gathered should be used to make improvements to the change management process for future projects.
Successful change management is essential for facilities managers who want to maintain a safe, efficient, and productive workplace. If you want more tips and tools to implement meaningful change in your facility, just ask WorkBuddy. We offer software solutions that can streamline your facility management operations. Book a free demo to learn more.