No matter how successful a facilities manager is, everyone needs advice.

Ericka Westgard, senior director of workforce strategy for C&W Services, shared 14 examples of mistakes facilities managers can make in their day-to-day responsibilities. If you missed it, catch up on Ericka’s traps one through five.

In part two, Ericka and her account team discuss how to respond to negative feedback, the importance of an organization system and recognizing your staff’s work.

6. Lack of organizational system It may seem old hat, but organization is key, and some people struggle with it. For facilities managers, it’s especially important with myriad projects surrounding them on a day-to-day basis.

“Facilities managers have so many balls in the air at once because they have such a broad scope of work,” says Ericka. “You have to figure out a way to stay organized and how to communicate.”

Ericka recommends creating a documentation plan that best fits your organizational style. A schedule that keeps track of what you’re doing and communicates to others both you and your team’s current, future and ongoing projects is important. This keeps everyone on the same page. Ericka’s style includes taking notes throughout the day and then going back either at the end of the day or the next morning and pulling out action items that need to be communicated or completed.


7. Not responding to negative feedback properly It can be tempting to ignore negative feedback or completely avoid the situation. This undermines your credibility and hurts your reputation. Not responding to such feedback can create a very unprofessional environment. Confronting issues head on and being open to communication and constructive criticism is vital for facility managers. And not only that, if you do receive negative feedback, you can’t lash out. You take the information in stride and come up with a productive solution to fix the problem.

8. Not recognizing your staff’s work Praise of well-done work should not be ignored. It’s difficult for staff to be motivated when they don’t have a clear understanding of whether they’re heading in the right direction and living up to the facility manager’s standards. There’s that old saying “You—ll get 10 complaints before you get even one thank you.” Recognition, then, is important for morale and productivity.

“Staff need to feel like they are valued,” says Ericka. “You need to thank the people around you so they feel appreciated and recognized.”

9. Hiding recognition and compliments When an employee or employees receive compliments from either the client or anyone besides the facility manager, they should be recognized in front of the team. Our SPOT Awards are an example of how we show appreciation for employees, recognizing them with gift cards and a note from Paul Bedborough, chief executive, on rising above their regular duties and solving a critical issue.

On a more basic level, simply forwarding on an email from a client to call out their special effort is important. When you receive an email or comment like that, it’s important to thank the client, let the employee know and consider letting the team know. This motivates both that specific employee and the entire team.


10. Ignoring repeat complaints These can include temperature issues, missed refuse, incomplete work orders and other things that may happen in the FM world. As an example, Ericka notes a building occupant who calls often about being too hot. The team visited the work area and had a dialogue about the temperature after the first few calls, but after a while their tendency was to ignore it or shrug it off. This should not be the case.

“You can’t ignore any call because one of those times you ignore it, it could be something else that they’re calling about or it will escalate,” she says. “If people are complaining, it’s usually because it is a problem every time. It’s about taking time out of your schedule to be responsive.”

If, after a number of times, the complaints continue to roll in, Ericka recommends thinking outside the box. If this person is too hot, perhaps face his or her desk in a different arrangement or provide him or her with a fan. Unsolved complaints can hurt your credibility, and that’s absolutely something you need to avoid.

“If you’re getting a repeat call on something, instead of ignoring it, let’s get to the root cause and eliminate the problem,” she says. “Or, let’s be innovative. Let’s be creative in finding a solution.”

More tips heading your way.

Our team believes in training, teaching, developing and working toward constant improvement. Our managers share tips like these at our regional meetings and via our internal company knowledge base. We continue to operationalize management training across our organization. Want more tips from Ericka? Read Part 1 and Part 3 in this series.