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THE WORKPLACE – AND BIFM’S FUTURE

Image credit: Getty
© Getty

01 March 2018 | Linda Hausmanis

newsdesk@fm-world.co.uk


The British Institute of Facilities Management will put forward a resolution to change its name to the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management. CEO Linda Hausmanis discusses the reasons behind this.


As part of our planning and future proofing at BIFM, we recently asked for your views on the future of our profession. More than 500 of you responded – a broadly representative sample – and 78 gave us in-depth interviews. The results, set out over these pages, have given us plenty of food for thought – and led us to a significant decision about what we believe should be the future for BIFM.


Accordingly, at our Annual General Meeting in July, the Board will put forward a special resolution to change our name from the British Institute of Facilities Management to The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management. What follows in these pages are the insights that have driven our reasoning.


The future of FM – your views

Our survey results have been illuminating. You believe the FM profession is grappling with a chronic lack of funding and resources with the constant need to achieve more for less; you say you do not feel understood, valued or respected, particularly by senior managers and those working outside of FM; and you believe the sector still lacks suitably educated, trained and competent staff.


You also believe the profession must do more to raise its profile, particularly among senior managers and at board level. You want FM to be more clearly defined, and for those who practise it to be better qualified. And to this last point, you want facilities management to become a chartered profession – so that you can be placed on an equal footing with other professional disciplines.


- Accordingly, you want BIFM to: Seek chartered status, so that membership has more value and confers greater professional credibility;

- Achieve wider recognition and understanding of what FM is about, particularly amongst senior managers and younger age groups; and 

- Collaborate more with other professional bodies. 


You also believe that clients are increasingly coming to see the management of facilities and workplace as one and the same activity. While ‘facilities management’ remains a critical descriptor, you believe there is an opportunity for FM to ‘own’ the ‘workplace’ space.


Overall, your message is that BIFM needs to reposition – or risk being left behind.


What this means for BIFM

We are grateful to everyone who participated in this survey and for the insights and inspiration you have given us. The Board has taken your views into account in recommending the future direction of BIFM and in setting us the task of ‘levelling up’ our Institute to provide a better service to you. Our objectives are to:


- Help reposition the FM profession by demonstrating the value of what you do so that you can exert real influence, right to the boardroom; 

- Empower individual members to take the next step forward in their career, whatever their current role, by improving access to information, training and qualifications via our new Academy; and 

- Achieve Chartered status. The research clearly shows that you aspire to the Chartered status that your peers who are chartered engineers or surveyors already enjoy.


This is not something that can be achieved overnight.  We have begun a dialogue with the Privy Council (which advises on the issuing of Royal Charters) and we will plan our process towards meeting the criteria for Chartered Body status, which will include a timetable for obtaining Members approval before a formal submission.


- We have already started on work contributing to this agenda, with activities including:


- Increasing BIFM’s interaction with and influence within government;


- Developing our Academy to offer short courses and online training for members and others;


- Reviewing our professional standards to see how Workplace should be incorporated;


- Embarking on a series of research projects aimed at helping you do your jobs effectively; and


Raising the profile of BIFM as a thought leader  through a new programme of leading edge research; by developing a stronger, more authoritative voice; and by focusing ThinkFM on the key issues facing the profession and the industry. 



OUR ANNIVERSARY


1993 to 2018 – 25 years of the BIFM

In September 1993 the Institute of Facilities Management merged with the Association of Facilities Management to form the British Institute of Facilities Management. The mission we set ourselves back then was to professionalise the industry – an aim that remains core to our mission today.


In celebration of our silver jubilee we’re doing the following:


- Broadening access to ThinkFM (1 May), which this year offers insights on how to deal with the major disrupting forces influencing the sector. We will ensure the widest possible audience for ThinkFM’s many learning opportunities by giving anyone who buys two full-price tickets a third ticket for free.


- At the Facilities Show (19-21 June) we’re running free training on how to become a smarter client; taster sessions on the new online Introduction to FM course; a full half-day course entitled ‘The Effective FM Professional’; and a number of careers surgery sessions. (Spaces are limited; please book in advance on the BIFM website.)


With World FM Day (16 May) being our annual opportunity to raise our own individual profiles and that of the profession in general, we’re playing our part by offering a downloadable activities pack to help you plan events celebrating the FM profession in your own workplace.


- A BIFM 25th anniversary document is available for download from the BIFM website for those who want to read more about where we have come from and where we are going.

 



The workplace and our future

The advantage that the term ‘workplace’ can confer came out clearly in the Workplace Advantage report conducted by The Stoddart Review, which concluded that ‘workplace’ can extend the territory of FM, allowing our profession to act as the organisational super-connector with IT and HR.


Embracing ‘workplace’ also reflects the enormous changes which have taken place in working lives which now exist in a knowledge economy rather than an industrial one; a world in which innovation is essential and the pace of change ever increasing.


BIFM members have taken huge strides forward, moving from managing space to empowering productivity. And they will need to take bigger and faster steps in the future.


We believe that by taking advantage of the workplace differentiator and improving your skills, we can help you improve your status as an FM while the Institute works to raise boardroom understanding of the value of your work. However, we also equally understand and share your pride in your work and status as facilities managers and your unwillingness to throw away the history of professional endeavour which that evokes.


What happens next?

March to June

Members of your board will be making themselves available to discuss our proposals with you, and we will also press our case for change within these pages as well as in conversation with members through our regional networks and special interest groups. Please email membership@bifm.org.uk to voice your opinion.


July

The vote on our proposed name change to The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management will take place at our annual general meeting in Manchester on 5th July.


August onwards

We hope that you will want to give us a new springboard to reposition FM and raise the profile of the profession by embracing the term ‘workplace’  in the institute’s title. But whatever the choice you make, the institute will remain committed to developing member benefits to help you succeed and improve in all aspects of your role.

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Linda Hausmanis is BIFM’s chief executive officer