Ask anyone working in FM, and they’ll tell you that a relationship with HR is fundamental in allowing them to do their jobs efficiently. In line with the eventual and somewhat reluctant realisation over past years that the key to successful staff retention is centered on taking genuine care of your employees; HR and FM is continuing to merge into one ‘super-role’. Whether contracted externally, or delivered in-house, both HR and FM are services focused on people, businesses, and the buildings that house them.
The word ‘curator’ derives from the Latin word ‘cura’, meaning care. Both FMs and HRs are highly invested in ‘caring’ for their workplace and their people, and it’s no secret that the lines between the two are becoming increasingly blurred. It is a hybridisation of the two roles, where technical knowledge of the workplace and an understanding of the needs of the workforce sit side by side. Whether that is one person or rather one role is debatable though, perhaps there needs to be a more open discussion between the two departments in order to utilise the specific qualities of both.
Sharing knowledge, best practice and understanding across vital disciplines can deliver insightful and valuable returns. For collaboration to work, especially across departments like FM and HR, it’s important to align with the overall strategic objectives of the business, and in choosing the right people to lead and implement any change, you must then seek out resourceful communicators to ensure the benefits are reaped across the entire workforce and thoroughly understood.
The workplace will continue to evolve at a rapid rate, bringing many challenges for HRs and FMs so it makes sense to combine efforts. That said, it’s useful to be mindful of the fact ‘power sharing’ doesn’t suit everyone, so head off conflict by bringing likeminded people together. Don’t overlook your talent pool; we all recognise that employees drive businesses forward, so it’s important to consider giving them a voice in how their workplace evolves - the personal insights of the employee can be quite revealing.
If opinions and ideas are implemented with care it can really have a positive impact. Workplace ‘champions’ as they’re often referred, become your foot soldiers; they carry your messages and strategies forward and act as your eyes and ears on the ground, bringing back valuable feedback that helps to shape future strategies, decisions and buy-in. The key thing is to be inclusive, seek out enthusiastic volunteers, recognise their efforts through personal development plans, and always, always align the role with your strategy. The tail must not wag the dog.
With more young people choosing alternatives to university, and workforces generally working later in life; employees with some 40 years difference (or more!) can now be working together in one workplace. It’s crucial that workplaces reflect and support the range of demographics, experiences and the needs of them. The role of both HR and FM must take this into consideration and where possible work together to increase chances of success.
Through keeping an open dialogue with employees across the business and ensuring regular communication teams within your business can work in harmony together.
Source: Angela Love, director at Active.