Maxwell Stephens

Deciding which way to go in the facilities management job hunt

For candidates about to start the facilities management job hunt, it can be a vexing dilemma; to work direct or go for the outsourced position. Maxwell Stephens are on hand to analyse the options.

Wikipedia tells us Facilities Management (FM) is, “An integrated multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary field devoted to the coordination of space, infrastructure, people and organisation.”


That’s a bit of a mouthful, but nonetheless it accurately describes the vast complexity of the FM industry. And it’s this complexity that’s so relevant to successfully choosing the next step in your career path.


In this case, we need to think about how your skills and abilities best meet the challenging elements involved in FM work, and from which perspective, internal or external. Then, you’ll be in a better position to decide whether you’re happier in house, or providing an external service as a contractor.


FM encompasses a myriad array of work: environmental stewardship, sustainability, operations and maintenance or project management; the list seems endless. Then there are other elements including security, health and safety, planning and the ever-changing role of IT.


Any one of these elements can be outsourced. You need to decide whether you want to work providing a specific service externally, whatever it is, providing it from within an in-house role, or even tasking someone else to do it from your management position inside an organisation.


What is not going to change and will guide your choice is how you best operate. How self-sufficient are you? How self-reliant, deadline driven or targeted? How diplomatic? How tough? Equally importantly, how do you communicate best, can you handle partnership-based working as a contractor? If you stay in-house, might you find a given firm’s culture limiting, how do you handle stress, autocratic colleagues or overbearing red tape?


Put simply, if you are someone who operates on a buzz, thriving on self-sufficiency, who doesn’t feel uncomfortable putting your views across strongly, is flexible, calm, accustomed to unexpected change and setting a high percentage of your work to contract timelines and goalposts, then you are well suited to a service provider role.


Remember, as a service provider you are primarily involved in saving costs, or adding value that can’t presently be achieved in-house. That puts you in a pressure situation, because you will face tough targets. That’s why you need the attributes listed above. You might suddenly have to meet new challenges. You will probably have less backup than in an in-house role, you will have to adapt to quickly changing goalposts.


Often, the job you are asked to do will be defined by service level agreements or key performance indicators. And if you don’t meet these criteria, you are going to be in trouble. That’s also true in an internal position, but when you are offering a service externally the difference is that you are going to get even shorter shrift if you don’t hit your targets.


How do you react to those kinds of pressures? Are they for you?


Working in-house is very different. You’re still under pressure, but you have more internal support. Here you are likely at some stage to be dictating the terms and to an extent the pressure, the cost savings and the service required to someone else. But to do this effectively you also need to understand that the service provider is still an extension of your business.


Day to day, this means you need to think; can I manage and supervise work without interfering? Can I set realistic goals? Can I be a kind but competent manager? Can I accurately compare sets of service providers against internal criteria? Can I manage my budgets sufficiently well to hit cost available for outsourced work while still meeting internal overarching goals within my company? Can I maintain a pleasant and agreeable partnership with both service providers and with internal staff?


This self-analysis is a fascinating thing to do, and it’s absolutely essential to taking the correct next step in your career. What you are trying to do is objectify your skills and your weaknesses, and then match them to the most suitable working environment, in order for you to contribute effectively to an organisation and to achieve personal and work related happiness.


You can ask yourself more questions: Would I be comfortable terminating a contractor’s work if I’ve less budget to maintain it? Alternatively, how would you feel if you were asked to provide better services for less money as the contractor, or by an internal manager? Assessing these criteria from the in-house and service provider angles of the same core question should allow you to envisage where you’d feel more comfortable working.


Ultimately, both roles are challenging, but both offer hugely exciting potential and will enable you to really get up and running in the FM industry. Really, the choice is up to you. Make it, and then push hard to win the job you deserve!

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Potential clients and candidates wishing to enquire about facilities recruitment services can contact Maxwell Stephens via e-mail, telephone OR post. Alternatively, we have a number of social media outlets as well. Please note calls may be recorded for training and quality purposes.

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