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When a staff survey indicated potential opportunities for improvement in the way the FM team dealt with internal customers, a programme of tailored training seemed the obvious way of triggering change to National Facilities Support Officer, Lucy Wright.
"We were hoping to focus on improving the way the team deals with people in a range of situations, and using different communication channels – especially over the phone as well as face to face", explains Lucy.
Lucy was attracted to Anne’s approach, which is based on raising awareness of personal attitudes and behaviours and exploring team interactions, and she felt this provided exactly the right starting point for staff to reflect on how they would typically react in customer-facing situations, without necessarily understanding how this might affect customer perceptions.
Anne commenced the specially tailored programme with a course for managers and team leaders focused on supporting teams to deliver service excellence by acting as role models to motivate and inspire different ways of working. This was followed by a series of 8 team sessions, involving almost a hundred staff around the country where people from different office locations had the opportunity to meet each other and share challenges whilst exploring ways of changing customer perceptions for the better.
Many of the customer perceptions were stuck in historic issues and the teams felt that better communication on what services were delivered along with information on FM team successes would be of real benefit.
At the end of each session, individuals were given time to reflect on what they could do differently and why. It was interesting to note that many committed to using less email and more personal interaction with customers and colleagues, either face to face or by phone!
Attendees were enthusiastic and engaged, as a selection of their feedback shows:
"Quite possibly the best training course ever attended with EA. Fascinating, interesting, thought provoking, left me wanting more and think deeper about my role and understanding of people. Inspired me to think differently. A brilliant presentation from someone who understands". Team Member from Leeds.
"Overall a really engaging and excellent course. Really made me think about how I act towards people. Really want to learn more about NLP and EI". Team Member from London
"Anne is a fantastic course presenter and by the end of the course I found myself wanting more. Learnt a lot about myself’". Team Member from Solihull.
Lucy and her team will be tracking trends in Customer Service improvements through further staff surveys, but they are optimistic about the impact of the training.
It’s all too easy to assume that places of worship can run themselves, with the help of many willing volunteers. But as with other community facilities used for an increasingly variety of activities, developing a professional FM function in the context of religious facilities is vital for continued safe operation – and to support future growth and change using diverse building types.
When senior managers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints based in the UK contacted Quadrilect in 2016, it was clear they wanted not only to broaden their understanding of industry good practice, but also to evolve systems and processes to ensure the best possible use of resources for the benefit of the Church. The Church’s portfolio includes over 300 buildings in the UK and Ireland alone, from large to small and of all ages. These are in daily use for a wide range of activities. The US & European team are highly influential in setting standards for all locations, although there is clear recognition of the need to adapt to local operating conditions.
The main objectives for the tailored training programme included:
A key aspect of the programme was to explore how good practice could be effectively applied in the Church context, and the expertise of trainer, Ian Cramp, proved invaluable in making the all-important links. With his broad consultancy experience of ecclesiastical facilities, Ian was able to engage the team and help to facilitate the development of robust management processes.
As he explains: ‘An important aspect of the training was to ensure that it was relevant to the places of worship used by the Church rather than a more generic office type environment. Engagement with the team was excellent and this was helped by the fact that they meet regularly to keep up to date with best practice in other parts of the organisation’.
Following a successful initial programme for the senior management team, the training was rolled out to the wider group of operational FMs. Commenting on the benefits, Facilities Manager, Paul Curran from the Belfast FM Group says:
“It has been helpful to understand the processes that we adhere to in Church as Facilities Managers and how they correlate with professional standards. I look forward to developing and furthering my professional skills through attainment of BIFM qualifications and enhancing my own membership with BIFM.”
The FM team looks set to continue its professional education programme in 2018 through formal BIFM Qualifications with Quadrilect Ltd.