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Stuart O'Brien

GUEST BLOG: Working towards sustainability in FM

By Biffa

The clearest definition of sustainability within the FM industry is the focus on long-term environmental goals during decision-making and a notion of total waste segregation, closed loop recycling, and working towards the circular economy.

Currently for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, there is little legislation requiring businesses to fully segregate and recycle waste, however much of UK businesses must comply with a simple ‘Duty of Care’ when it comes to disposing of business and commercial waste* and as such, waste is moving higher up the agenda in FM tenders.

The CSR and green credentials associated with effective waste management are strong, and many clients are increasingly driven by sustainability targets and are asking more of their FM professionals when it comes to providing the most carbon-efficient and environmentally positive solutions.

The best strategy that FM professionals can adopt is education, ensuring clients and all employees working on site, are fully aware of the recycling solutions available – this is applicable not only to internal recycling options, but also the transfer of waste and maximisation of external bin capacity in order to ensure operations are running as efficiently as possible.

This is where the opportunity to look at using new and innovative waste management solutions, tailored to a client’s individual needs, comes into play.

An informative approach must be taken when assessing the unique needs of a business, and Biffa is able to provide a bespoke on-site service, with dedicated contract managers available to be on hand to influence, enable and guide decisions on waste management for facilities.

These contract managers provide regular facility assessments face-to-face, offering cost cutting solutions and ways to streamline processes.

Top trends impacting the global workforce in 2019

Artificial intelligence, people management and hiring practices are among the top six trends impacting the global workforce in 2019, according to a leading think tank.

The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated asked its board members around the world what they think will be the most important workplace trends in the coming year, with employment law, flexible working and disaster management rounding out the list.

The full list of 2019 predicted trends is as follows:

  1. AI and machine learning unmask previously-hidden workforce data to make people-centric decisions. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will finally be woven into workforce management practices, revealing a treasure trove of data organizations have been collecting – but not using – for decades. With insight into their workforce data trends – like scheduling accuracy, absenteeism, overtime usage, and burnout – managers will be able to head-off potential issues before they arise. Intelligent automation will also free them from admin-heavy tasks – like managing schedules, approving time-off requests, and shift changes – while enabling data-driven decision-making that. Our board encourages caution here, though, warning that organizations must avoid a “one-size-fits-all” model.
  2. Historically tight labor markets and emerging technologies put people managers in the spotlight. With unemployment low and the exodus of baby boomers reaching critical mass, employers globally will face a historically tight labor market. Sourcing great candidates has never been more difficult, and retention will become an all-out dogfight. While an employer’s brand, innovative hiring technologies, and proactive recruiting practices are more important than ever, it’s organizations with the best people managers that will ultimately prevail. Organizations will place an increased focus on leadership development as a retention strategy – especially as Millennials assume middle management positions – and measuring manager effectiveness will be HR’s top challenge in 2019. If we’re right about prediction 1 above, then as AI and machine learning take over mundane managerial tasks, deficits in leadership competencies will be more readily exposed if managers aren’t using that extra time to support and develop workers.
  3. The changing face of education redefines trades and challenges traditional hiring practices. As the student loan debt crisis furthers the debate about the value of a college education and credentialing programs for job-specific skills emerge, tomorrow’s best employees may take an unconventional path to employment. Competencies that once required a degree – such as coding, robotics, and data analytics – are being redefined as skilled trades with the rise of certificate and micro-credential programs. As yesterday’s jobs become augmented by automation, new skills will be required for traditionally “blue-collar” roles. Employers need to revamp their hiring profiles and recruiting practices to tap into this new pool of qualified candidates who will staff the shop floor, store floor, hospital floor, and top floor of the future. Millennial parents, may urge their school-aged children to take an alternative educational path for a brighter financial future.
  4. Further fracturing of employment laws globally, nationally, and at the local level strain organizations. From minimum wage to sick pay, to fair scheduling proposals to the right to disconnect, governments around the world will continue to evolve employment laws. Ever-changing regulations around the world will put increased strain on organizations to avoid sanctions, fines, class action lawsuits, and reputation-damaging headlines. Technology will be vital for organizations to manage scheduling-related mandates, ensure unbiased practices, monitor fatigue and overtime management, and ensure employees are paid accurately and fairly – all while providing analytical insights that surface risky managerial practices otherwise buried in a sea of employment data.
  5. Employee-agnostic flexibility, consumer-grade tech, and the rise of the occasional time worker redefine “work your way.” All employees – salaried, hourly, and gig – crave control over when, where, and how they work. While employers have put more focus on flexibility and alternative work schedules, most have been slow to reengineer processes that underpin how the organization runs. Tools must meet employees where they naturally work – such as on their mobile phone, tablet, or favorite social networking platforms. The gig economy and emergence of the “occasional-time worker” will force organizations to replace traditional hiring and scheduling processes with systems that enable workers to choose when, where, and how long they work. Mobile-friendly processes, self-service features, and immediate access to real-time data in a consumer-grade technology wrapper will help drive the next iteration of the flexibility phenomenon, as predictability of anytime work will empower employees to be more productive, make more intelligent decisions, and be more engaged.
  6. Greater emphasis on disaster preparedness as part of a holistic human capital management strategy. Disasters large and small, natural and man-made, have unfortunately become the norm. Organizations worldwide have been challenged to respond effectively to increasingly frequent crises, with HR, operations, and payroll forced to take center stage in the lives of affected employees. With more emphasis on company culture, caring, and “doing what’s right” in a world where disasters – and a company’s response to them – are frequently in the news, there is a new level of expectation for an organization’s response, responsibility, and employee benefits. Organizations of all sizes must take a hard look at disaster policies, processes, and capabilities – including both taking care of employees in the moment and rebuilding in the wake of disaster, which will be near impossible for those operating on a DIY workforce management, HR, and payroll system. Sustainability plans that today primarily account for company assets and data will need to incorporate employees and their families.

GUEST BLOG: Facilities Management firms need to streamline efficiencies ahead of Brexit

By Drey Francis, Director at Engage Technology Partners

While the Brexit ‘deal’ remains up in the air and the uncertainty continues for UK businesses, employers in the Facilities Management field are understandably nervous.

As an arena that has undoubtedly been heavily reliant on European talent to fill demand in a skills short environment, the potential to have an increasingly limited pool of staff to tap into is certainly a concern.

In fact, our recent pay data revealed that the Brexit vote has had a direct impact on hourly rates as businesses look to retain staff. According to the statistics, since the vote to leave the Bloc in 2016, hourly pay for skills-short roles has increased, with maintenance positions in particular noting an uptick in money. Handymen and mechanical maintenance professionals reported the greatest increase in the three years since the vote at 13% and 10% respectively, while electricians saw a 5% rise in hourly rates.

Given how sparse some of the talent for these roles is in general, it’s perhaps no wonder that employers are turning to financial incentives to attract staff. However, this isn’t a sustainable approach.

Of course, we still need to wait and see what happens in terms of the agreement on the Freedom of Movement for the UK, but action can be taken now to improve staffing efficiencies in order to better cope with the expected upheaval in Spring 2019.

So where can FM businesses streamline activity to better weather the storm that lies ahead?

Identify the right areas to improve

There’s long been a trend across the industry to limit supplier margins in order to reduce expenditure – a tactic that many will likely turn to as times get tough. However, the true results of this approach aren’t as impactful as you might perhaps be led to believe, and I would argue that this isn’t a sustainable strategy in a talent short market.

Margins have long been on a downward trajectory in recruitment, but when you consider that you ‘get what you pay for’, is this really the right tactic? Yes, identifying where there are inconsistencies in mark-ups will be a beneficial cost-cutting exercise, but only if done while also looking at the wider picture.

In my view, the greatest area of improvement across Facilities Management lies in the often lengthy and quite frankly, inefficient, administrative, recording and resourcing processes. Too often there is a lack of automation and data sharing that is causing significant ‘wastage’ in FM operations.

For example, compliance checks can often be duplicated as information is not stored in one centralised location. Resourcing mangers can also face budget overruns due to inefficient record keeping, with off-PSL agencies used to fill last minute demands when in fact the required staff could be found in other areas of the business. And with many recording tools often being used separate to payroll systems, the entire resourcing management process can become overly complex and the chance of errors occurring is increased.

Don’t forget the candidate experience

Perhaps more importantly, without a truly joined up approach, many candidates and employees are facing an experience that perhaps doesn’t resonate well with their expectations. With budgets pushed lower, the risk for people to be treated as commodities rather than the valued individuals that they are is increased.

And, of course, the limitations of some administrative processes can see staff paid late or not enough due to timesheet or filing errors. The result is a disgruntled workforce that is less engaged with your business and subsequently, more likely to steer clear of your business in the future. A less than ideal situation given that automating admin processes can often be relatively simple to implement.

And herein lies the biggest consideration for FM businesses: how much is it costing you to find out how much it costs? With a disjointed administrative process, it is arguably costing decision makers to find out where there are budget overruns and where savings can be made. All in all, money is being spent to look at how money can be saved, before any concrete action is taken.

But that doesn’t have to be the case – often it is the small efficiencies that can have the greatest impact.

For FM businesses, now really is the time to look at developing a joined-up approach to resource management before the chaos of Brexit truly hits home.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Spend time improving EHS performance, not implementing software

Introducing SAI 360 FastStart, the fast, ready-to-use, cost-effective software solution to meet Environmental, Health & Safety requirements.

Implementing a new software platform can be perceived as challenging by even the most experienced Environmental, Health & Safety professional, but not anymore.

SAI360 FastStart delivers pre-configured workflows, dashboard and reports based on industry best practice. As the solutions are ready to use the cost is much lower and implementation can be delivered in just weeks enabling a fast return on investment.

Download brochure

Some of SAI Globals most popular out-of-the box FastStart options for EHS include:

  • Incident Management, including Near Miss and Injury Management
  • Action Management
  • Hazard Management
  • Inspections
  • Audits

Spend time improving your environmental, health & safety performance instead of implementing software, contact SAI Global about FastStart now and get the insights you need to enhance operational efficiency.

www.saiglobal.com/EHS | 01926 523149 | info.emea@saiglobal.com

Utilities and construction apprenticeships ‘the answer to falling university applications’

Apprenticeships can meet many of the challenges thrown up by falling university numbers, according to DTL.

While many commentators have blamed high tuition fees for a growing number of young people choosing not to apply for university, in turn raising fears of a lack of social mobility, DTL points out that school leavers give other reasons too, including that they don’t enjoy studying or don’t think they have the necessary academic skills for university.

The training company says that apprenticeships have the capability, not just to provide an alternative to university, but also to address the wider issues.

Operations Director, John Kerr, said: “Instead of racking up student debt, apprentices earn while they learn, and apprenticeships provide other ways of learning for those who aren’t suited to academia. At DTL, we specialise in practical training for high earning roles in utilities and construction. Yes, there is an element of classroom learning, but for most of our apprenticeships, the focus is on learning through well-supervised, genuine on-the-job experience.”

Kerr says that apprenticeships can also generate social mobility, beyond what might be expected from gaining a practical qualification and a well-paid job.

He explained: “As an organisation that believes in providing a holistic educational experience, we support many young people who have fallen behind with academic learning.”

Crucially, he points out, that includes ensuring that apprentices attain satisfactory levels of literacy and numeracy.

Ensuring students attain a set level of literacy and numeracy is a requirement made of apprenticeship providers by the educational watchdog Ofsted, and DTL says it has invested in technology and teaching to ensure that apprentices reach the levels they need, not just to attain their qualification but also to equip them for life.

“Clearly, people who have poor literacy or numeracy, or both, are going to be disadvantaged,” said Kerr. “This is a significant step in giving them social mobility.”

With these crucial core skills and the confidence of having completed an apprenticeship, they might well go on to get a university degree or similar-level qualification, he added.

“For us at DTL, this is much more than a question of meeting the requirements of the regulator. You can see this in our response to another Ofsted instruction. We have pioneered the introduction of safeguarding, ensuring that young people are safe in the workplace and the training environment.”

DTL’s latest Industry Skills Forum on the subject brought together leading figures in HR in the utilities and construction sector, to discuss safeguarding and the government’s Prevent initiative, which requires education providers to play their part in ensuring young people aren’t recruited into extremism.

As an approved provider under the apprenticeship levy scheme, DTL says its customers expect it to deliver well-trained individuals, capable of carrying out their roles effectively and safely. This is particularly important when those roles are often in potentially hazardous environments in the gas, electricity, water and construction industries.

Kerr said: “Our first duty is to the apprentices themselves, and we believe that ensuring their safety is paramount. By also ensuring they have those core literacy and numeracy skills, we add value to the opportunities created by their apprenticeship.”

Secure the last remaining Occupational Safety & Health Forum places

The Occupational Safety & Health Forum follows a proven format which matches you with product and service providers who suit your requirements and upcoming projects.

6 February 2019 – Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted

It’s entirely free for you to attend – simply register your place here.

Your VIP ticket includes:

  • A bespoke itinerary of pre-arranged, face-to-face meetings with suppliers relevant to your projects
  • The opportunity to attend a series of insightful seminar sessions
  • Networking with like-minded peers
  • Lunch and refreshments

There are an extremely limited number of VIP invitations to the event, so please act swiftly to ensure you don’t miss out.

Register here and activate your ticket today.

Or for more information, contact Donald Matanga on 01992 374075 or email d.matanga@forumevents.co.uk.

Alternatively, to attend as an industry supplier, contact Katie Bolden on 01992 374093 or email k.bolden@forumevents.co.uk.

Tick, tock… Last few FREE VIP places left for the FM Forum

Time is running out for you to claim your VIP place at the Facilities Management Forum – there are just a handful of tickets available for senior FM procurement professionals like you.

28 & 29 January – Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted

Here’s what you’ll be missing…

  • The opportunity to meet budget-saving suppliers for pre-arranged, face-to-face meetings based on your requirements and upcoming budgets
  • A schedule of seminars throughout the two-day event, hosted by industry thought-leaders and designed to provide you with take-home tips that will benefit your career and your organisation
  • Unrivalled networking with 65 other senior FM professionals who share your challenges
  • Complimentary overnight accommodation
  • All meals and refreshments free of charge
  • An invitation to our gala dinner with entertainment as our guest

Don’t delay! Register your place today!

If you’re unable to attend later this month, we host the Facilities Management Forum in July too – 1 & 2 July 2019, Hilton Deansgate, Manchester.

For more information on attending as a delegate, contact Paige Aitken on 01992 374079 or email p.aitken@forumevents.co.uk.

Or to attend as an industry supplier, contact Sam Walker on 01992 374054 or email s.walker@forumevents.co.uk.

Government to continue with Interserve contract tenders

The UK government will continue to award contracts to embattled FM provider Interserve, which has seen its share price tumble following publication of its rescue plan earlier this week.

The Interserve Board says it’s working with advisers to look at all options to deliver the ‘optimum capital structure for the group to support its long-term, sustainable development’.

In a statement issued Monday, the beleaguered company said it’s targeting a leverage of approximately 1.5x net debt/EBITDA.

The discussions also involve proposals to amend the Group’s current financing agreements, including the extension of the maturity dates and repayment profiles of the existing facilities.

Interserve said it ‘continues to trade well and in line with its expectations for the year ending 31 December 2018’.

However, shares in the firm nosedived at the announcement, which has many in the education space worried at the possible future implications of another Carillion-style collapse.

Regardless, Government sources have told The FT that it would consider Interserve for further tenders, including a contract to provide housing for asylum seekers and a back-to-work programme for unemployed people.

And in more positive news, Interserve was this week awarded a £25m contract by Cwm Taf University Health Board, as part of the next phase of the £36m redevelopment of Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr which is funded by Welsh Government.

Works should start on the project in December 2018 with completion by spring 2021.

IWFM cites National Living Wage as aid to stop absenteeism

The Low Pay Commission (LPC) has looked at the impact of the National Living Wage (NLW) on the FM sector, with input from the the Institute of Workplace & Facilities Management (IWFM).

The Low Pay Commission’s 2018 report says that increases to the NLW this year have benefited up to five million workers and helped to push up pay for the lowest fifth of earners without causing any reduction in employment.

The IWFM says it has been actively engaged in the LPC’s public consultations on the impact of the NLW as well as in other related employment issues.

The organisations says engagement with members has enabled it to submit evidence and insight to the LPC to promote a better understanding of the FM profession and to help shape the setting of future rates.

The IWFM has also facilitated consultation visits by LPC Commissioners to employer members.

The Government has accepted the LPC’s recommendations for next year’s NLW rates, which will apply from April 2019 (£8.21 for those aged 25 and over, lower rates for younger workers).

Together with the recent announcements by the Living Wage Foundation and the Mayor of London of increased hourly Living Wage rates (£9.00 for the UK and £10.55 in the capital), the IWFM says the new rates will build on the business benefits of higher pay, such as reduced staff turnover and improved morale.

However, the IWFM cautions that with 1.6 million people still paid at or below the NLW, almost two thirds of who are women, there remains a need for drive further changes on the pay agenda.

The IWFM says it will continue to make the case for fair and secure employment for all workers and ensure that its members’ views and experiences are considered by Government on future decisions which affect the FM profession.

Read the full LPC report here.

Health & Safety

Do you provide Health & Safety services? We want to hear from you!

Each month on FM Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the facilities management market- and in January we’ll be focussing on Health & Safety services.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help FM industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Health & Safety services and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Luke Webster on l.webster@forumeventas.co.uk.

Here are the areas we’ll be covering, month by month:

January – Health & Safety

February – Building Maintenance & Refurbishment

March – Cleaning

April – Total Facilities Management

May – Energy Management

June – Security

July – Air Conditioning

August – Waste Management

September – Asset Management

October – FM Software

November – Business Continuity

December –

For more information on any of the above, contact Lisa Carter on lisa.carter@mimrammedia.com.