FM is an industry that rewards creative thinking; it’s how we add value

‘FM is an industry that rewards creative thinking; it’s how we add value
Home Insights FM is an industry that rewards creative thinking; it’s how we add value

This World FM Day, our Strategic Portfolio Director, Terri Dale, shares her thoughts on the industry, her career journey as she joins the board of our growing FM business and what it takes to deliver excellent facilities management. 

FM is at its best when you’re able to simultaneously deliver the day-to-day basics and be proactive in finding new solutions. That isn’t easy, but when it’s done well it brings an incredible amount of value to customers. The theme for this year’s World FM Day is ‘Inspire – Integrate – Innovate’, and these three are very appropriate for the journey we ‘ve been on as a business. We’re always looking for new ideas to bring to the table, challenging our customers to think bigger in terms of how they manage their buildings and working collaboratively with them to find smarter and more sustainable ways of working.

Inspiring each other in FM  

This year I joined the board of our FM business in my new role as Strategic Portfolio Director. I currently oversee over £20m of our UK portfolio, and having a seat at the boardroom table means I can bring in the experience of my contracts, sharing our challenges, solutions and best practice, which then feeds into how we do things as a business and continuously grow. I’m very proud to have a voice within the FM board, and to use this to inspire and influence how we develop our operations and the services we provide. 

Our business is growing, but we also need to grow organically in the background to ensure we have the right processes and systems in place. Inspiring in FM means keeping people at the heart of what we do, and ensuring their development supports our growth. Throughout my career journey, I’ve had the privilege of being a career mentor, a mental health first aider and a diversity and inclusion lead, being hands on in this way means I stay connected to the team and what we do while bringing these experiences into the boardroom.

Integrating through partnerships 

I’m very passionate about working collaboratively with our customers. If we work in this way, we can really get under the skin of their needs. For one of our key customers we’ve worked in partnership to develop a new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy. This was an added value element of our contract; we listened to their challenges, understood their objectives in this area and took them away to come up with potential solutions and agree upon a joint strategic output. This was additional to our contract commitments – we were proactive and innovative while fulfilling our day-to-day duties. 

Achieving this balance for customers is the difference between being a standard FM provider and a forward-thinking FM partner. An FM partner is a trusted, reliable and effective extension of a customer’s team really soaking in that “one team approach”. This is what we aim to be at Wates. In my new role, I’m currently a part of developing our customer experience, and a lot of this is about integrating ourselves with our customers. What are they facing internally? What challenges have they got in their buildings? How can we support our customers better? Having that “one team approach” with our customers allows us to really tailor our offerings and solutions to align with their requirements and business objectives.

Moving the industry forward through innovation  

Having robust, honest, and collaborative relationships with customers really opens up a lot of possibilities and this is how we achieve innovation at Wates. We’ve introduced a few of our customers to the Wates Innovation Network (WIN) Portal, our network of specialists in green technology and services, through a series of Dragon’s Den style panel events. Following these events a few customers have taken forward projects to install energy efficiency equipment that they may not have even known about if not for the WIN Portal. By being proactive and solutions-driven, we’re enabling our customers to be innovative. We’re being creative, and FM is an industry where this is celebrated and rewarded.