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In an interview with CIO Applications, Lorri Rowlandson, the Senior Vice-President of Strategy and Innovation at BGIS, shares valuable insights on the company’s bespoke facility management services.
Give us a brief overview about your company?
BGIS is a global leader in facility management and real estate services. We have nearly 8000 employees globally who deliver innovative services and solutions that create value for our clients.
Our approach to facility management is in stark contrast to that of our competitors. Unlike many brokerage-led companies that follow traditional methods to FM, we make use of technology and data to make data-driven decisions while delivering services. We derive actionable insights from the customer’s data and focus on continues improvement in areas including cost, quality, risk, and employee experience. Through this, we ultimately aim at providing a better experience for occupants. Our technology and data-driven approach toward capital planning and FM reduces total cost of ownership for our clients.
We serve a diverse clientele who own properties such as office towers, retail buildings, networking locations, data centers of different industries such as banking, oil and gas, government, college/learning institutions, and office spaces of global technology companies.
What are the challenges that organizations face today regarding facilities, and how does your company eliminate them?
The traditional approach to implementing workplace programs is obsolete as it doesn’t improve and evolve to meet changing business requirements. One of the biggest challenges our clients face is the “once and done” approach in handling workplace programs. In real estate management, programs such as project management, transactions, and refreshing workplace design are as a one-time activity. However, FM is a continuous process that should consider the future requirements of businesses.
As opposed to the traditional approach, we identify how to make the workplace more productive by observing employee behaviors and engaging with them. This enables us to create an agile and flexible work environment that adaptsto future needs. The role of a program management team is critical here as they support the employees by listening to their continually evolving needs.
At the core of our facilities management services is technology and data. This enables us to make data-driven decisions while delivering the services
Our approach to FM is continuous and iterative, and we leverage that foundation to add value to workplace experience and culture. This is done by integrating workplace management and experience into the ongoing management of facilities. Rather than considering experience, change management, and cultural evolution as a one-time event, we keep evolving the workspaces, all driven by evidence based data.
We have identified key areas that require special focus while handling the workplace program. A hackable workplace is crucial to managing workspaces effectively. This can be viewed as a working environment that is agile and can be customized based on employee activity without having to start from scratch. Each space in the facility must be subjected to a continuous iteration or design journey that evolves with the business. A bulk of work today is accomplished in sprints. When compared with the traditional real-estate cycles that consume months to renovate workplaces, BGIS emerges as a cost-effective assistant to workplace transformation as it focuses solely on FM.
Employment engagement is another challenge companies face. We have used gamification to drive behaviors that reflect the desired characteristics that fit the culture of a particular organization. In addition to that, we help them build an attractive company culture that brings employees closer to the company’s ethos. For instance, we help companies bring various engagement activities for employees, such as wellness programs, paperless meetings, fitness challenges, yoga practice, and walking meetings, to name some– all activities are quantified and scored based on their triple bottomline benefits (people / profit / planet). Employees on the leaderboard are recognized and celebrated. Also, we aim to democratize the suggestion box for gathering employee ideas. This helps organizations understand the employees’ perspectives about the available facility and its flaws.
Furthermore, managing employee experience is another predicament for many. Companies often fail to understand the big picture behind employee experience that attracts, engage, and develops the workforce. Employee experience encompasses multiple areas, including change management. We train an ‘employee experience person’ to function as a problem solver. The employee experience manager can also play a leadership role in change management. Hacking productivity in the workplace and creating a fun, exciting environment, as well as reinforcing the rules and guidelines of the workplaces are also part of that person’s job responsibilities.
How do you assess the client’s requirements?
Clients approach us with a variety of needs, and we understand that a cookie-cutter approach to FM is not the way ahead. Before designing a program for a client, we consider distinctive features about the company, such as employee strength, location, culture, and sector. Then we appoint a consultant who works with the clients for designing an appropriate FM service. The consultant also considers future requirements before signing the contract.
Could you provide us with a case study where you solved your client’s pain points in terms of facilities management?
One of our clients wanted to improve a part of their working space in theirfacility. The client was struggling due to cost and budgetary constraints. Moreover, the company wanted to make sure their employees receive enough support while making the changes. After collaborating with us, we helped the client monitor employee needs and make decisions based on the feedback. We gamified the workplace by introducing programs such as recycling and wellness. In addition to that, we provided hospitality training to all those responsible for interacting with employees at work, their food services company, security guards, and vendors.
What lies ahead for BGIS?
We continuously listen to our customers and learn from them. While doing so, we receive great suggestions that help us improve and evolve. As the entire industry is going through a dynamic revolution boosted by technology, we are prepared to move ahead and stay competitive in the market by bringing more innovation to our services and solutions. Through this, we strive to improve the overall workplace productivity for our clients.