Co-creating the Digital Workplace for Superior Efficiency and Experience

A presentation about the digital workplace by Stuart Ruthven, Business Projects Manager for Key Facilities Management International.  The presentation took place at the IoT Scotland Meetup on June 28 2018, and in it Stuart talks about KEY’s exploration and application of IoT and digital technologies for optimising the workplace.

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10 Top Tips for unifying FM Organisations

This article sets out 10 Tips for Facility Managers faced with unifying FM organisations into a single culture.


Breaking down Barriers to Organisational Integration

Breaking down Barriers to Organisational Integration


They surfaced in an interview with Michalis Roussos last week about his new role as KEY’s Senior Operations and Business Development Manager.  During the conversation Michalis spoke about the strategies he had developed over the course of his career for tackling mergers and new acquisitions.


Here are his Top 10:


1. Ensure you’ve a clear destination.  Without a robust FM vision, strategy, policy and commitment from Upper Management to guide and underwrite your action plan, efficient and effective integration cannot be achieved.  It’s not for nothing that these elements are fundamental to the new ISO 41001 Management Systems Standard.

2. Start out with a thorough Action Plan.  Executed properly, this will involve detailed thinking through all your steps to unification, including key objectives.  Afterward, you should be clear on every action required to achieve your goal, and its outcome measure.  While surprises are inevitable, a thorough plan will have you prepared for the unexpected and agile to adapt.

3. Assemble ‘mixed’ workgroups.  Group culture, identity or interests present a formidable obstruction to assimilation.  A command and control approach can exacerbate implicit intergroup issues.  A productive remedy is to create workgroups to tackle your key objectives whose membership bridges the most troublesome divides identified. .

4. Facilitate a spirit of cultural co-creation.  As a rule, we tend to focus on we stand to lose from change, not what we may gain.  Framing integration as an opportunity to co-create a better, stronger organisation can help address this while promoting ownership.

5. Nurture a mentoring mindset.  One common cause of division is the group superiority complex.  For example, employees of the acquiring company often perceive themselves to be smarter or more entitled than those in acquisitions.  In the context of your workgroups, this can be mitigated by tasking these members in private to take responsibility for helping their new colleagues become better. This encourages the development of positive relationships, without conflicting with any self-perceptions.

6. Be everywhere.  To the extent possible, try to attend every workgroup meeting and visit sites on a routine basis.  As a Change Manager you play an essential role in reinforcing the relationships and perceptions which underpin unification.

7. Hold the Vision.  One of your functions in this respect is to represent that unwavering ‘North Star’ vision of Upper Management.  At all times you need to be seen to believe it, affirm it and live it, in the face of any resistance, hesitancy and half-heartedness.  Talking the talk is not going to work, unless you’re also walking the walk.


It's the Facility Manager's role to hold that 'North Star' vision of a single culture

The FM’s role is to hold that ‘North Star’ Vision of a single Organisational Culture



8. Feed back success.  Continually feed back to your workgroups evidence of their achievements.  This helps to maintain commitment and momentum towards integration.  At the same time, it is great for generating positive word-of-mouth and consolidating common purpose.

9. Have Patience.  Organisational integration can be a marathon, and is one of (if not the) most demanding of all FM challenges.  In the face of inertia and setbacks, keep calm and trust that your action plan is performing its magic behind the scenes.  Although if there may be little explicit evidence of this, once the implicit preconditions are in place, change can happen surprisingly fast.

10. Don’t Forget Yourself.  Invariably, big projects push at the boundaries between work and private life, and you need to stand firm.  Creeping concessions can easily graduate into overwork, with the risk of apathy and burnout.  Proper R&R is essential to keep the energy levels up, and the mind focused on the prize and the task at hand.

Interested in learning more?:

Meeting Michalis Roussos: KEY’s new Senior Operations & Business Development Manager

Today, we’re in Athens to welcome and get to know Michalis Roussos, new Senior Operations and Business Development Manager for KEY Facilities Management (FM) International.

Michalis Roussos, Senior Operations and Business Development Manager for KEY Facilities Management International

Michalis Roussos, Senior Operations and Business Development Manager for KEY FM International


To start with, Michalis, it would be great to learn something about you, and your background and experience?

“Well as of March 2nd this year, I am the proud father of twin boys, so most of my free time just now is providing facilities services to them!  


My academic background is in chemical engineering.  I have a BSc from the National Technical University of Athens and an MSc from the University Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.


I first encountered the world of FM in my first job for Ecolab, where I was selling products, equipment and systems to cleaning companies.  Then, in the early noughties, I joined ISS Greece.  That was shortly after they decided to pursue a Total FM (TFM) global strategy.  They were in the process of buying service companies around the world.  I was brought in to help integrate their new Greek acquisitions into a single service proposition and culture.


The organisational challenges were completely new.  This included a good deal of divisiveness.  For example, the original team saw themselves as superior to their new colleagues.  There were also the age-old differences between the cultures of North and South Greece.  Furthermore, almost every change was met with hesitancy or resistance.


Achieving the goal took a lot of belief, courage and persistence but we got there.  Moreover, I came out the other side with a rich knowledge of facilities services and change management. 


Shortly after, I was appointed Managing Director of ISS Greece, and later also for ISS Israel.”



Tell us a little about your new role at KEY and what you bring to the international team?

“I’ve been appointed to provide management support for Jim (Yorston), KEY’s Chief Operations Officer, for international operations and business development. 


For many years I’d been on the lookout for a new position which I needed to satisfy certain characteristics.  When I met Jim and Stan (Mitchell), I was 100% convinced I’d found it!  I see it as a golden opportunity to move up a level and learn about KEY’s unique international management system, and their related consultancy, technology and training services. 


I also believe the knowledge I gained at ISS will bring a lot of value to how their international network operates at the local partner level.  As well as helping to optimise service delivery and facilitate a positive shared culture, I intend to raise KEY’s onsite profile.  I think KEY’s local customers often don’t realise the extent to which their hard work and thinking behind-the-scenes is responsible for the workplace improvements they experience.  I want to change this.


I feel I was born for an international organisational culture like KEY’s.  I’m organised, punctual and want a clear strategy and action plan to implement.  I have an engineering system mindset, and take the view that if you prepare a plan properly, you’re clear on every action required to attain your goal on time and budget.  When I set myself an objective, I always achieve it.  I like producing results and the confidence this brings.


I don’t think these characteristics are typical of my home country.  People here tend to be more emotionally-driven and less worried about whether something gets done today or tomorrow.  In an appraisal once, a former boss told me “you’re not Greek.”.  He meant it as a compliment, but that evening I did phone my mother to double-check!”



What’s on the horizon for International Facility Management?

For me, the most significant general trend at the moment is client-driven evolution.  It doesn’t seem so long ago I was trying to sell TFM contracts, and clients just couldn’t grasp the concept.


Facility Management Horizons

The Horizon for Facility Management: Client-Driven Evolution


Since then, clients have matured faster than most FM providers.  Not only are they asking for TFM now, but they’re also sceptical that one company can deliver to their required standards.  They’re looking for FM partners capable of managing an ecology of suppliers tailored to their specific needs, where each is an expert in their particular field.


Under tightening economic constraints, they also need a partner who is proactive in helping them work better for less.  They want to increase staff satisfaction while utilising less square metres – that sort of thing. 


I heard a keynote presentation by the CEO of Philip Morris at a recent conference where he stated his primary expectation for their FM partners was clarity on how to take his business to higher levels of productivity. Evidently, new workplace technologies and thinking are underpinning this, which is why we’re seeing a ramping up of developments in this area currently.


In short, I predict the next-generation of FM providers will have greater focus on the design of effective management systems, the integration of actual and digital facilities, and promoting staff experiences, wellbeing and productivity through workplace optimisation.


On all counts, I see KEY as being ideally-positioned and ahead of the curve.  I’m thrilled to be part of a team who is playing such a big part in mapping and defining this new territory.  What with this new role and becoming a father, 2018 really has got off to a great start for me.  Unquestionably, this will be an exciting year, packed with new experiences, learning and achievements.”


I want to learn more about KEY Facilities Management International’s:

KEY CEO receives Honorary Membership of Polish Facility Management Council

On a recent visit to Poland, KEY CEO, Stan Mitchell, was proud to receive an Honorary Membership of the Polish Facility Management Council.


Stan with members of Polish Facilities Management Council

Stan Mitchell with members of the Polish Facility Management Council


Stan was running a workshop for the Polish Facility Management (FM) Council on the new ISO 41000 standards for FM.  The venue was in Poznań, one of the country’s oldest and most beautiful cities, located on the Warta River in west-central Poland.


Poznan, Poland, venue for ISO 41000 Workshop for Polish Facilities Management Council, 24 May 2018

Poznan, Poland, venue for the ISO 41000 workshop


The workshop was scheduled for a half-a-day, but the fruitful discussion continued for several hours afterward.  At some point in the proceedings, Stan got wind that something was afoot.  As he puts it:

“I noticed that Krzysztof, President of the Council, had disappeared.  Then suddenly he reappeared with journalists and photographers.  I wondered what on Earth was going on. The next thing I knew I was I was being awarded an Honorary Membership.  Completely unexpected and a genuinely delightful surprise!”  

The Honorary Membership was awarded in recognition of Stan’s role in initiating the Council.  President, Krzysztof Kogut, said that this stemmed back to a conversation with Stan, three years previously.  They’d been talking about how to progress FM professionalisation in Poland, and Stan had advised that Krzysztof needed to get an association started.


KEY CEO, Stan Mitchell with Polish Facility Management Council President, Krzysztof Kogut

KEY CEO, Stan Mitchell receives Honorary Membership of Polish Facility Management Council from President, Krzysztof Kogut


Krzysztof said it was this idea that set in motion activities leading to his establishing the Polish Facility Management Council.  He also acknowledged the ad hoc support Stan had given him along the way in getting the organisation up-and-running.

Speaking about Stan, Krzysztof said:

“Thanks to Stan’s work and inspiration, FM industry associations and institutions around the world have the equipment they need to improve the quality of their local markets, including the Polish Facility Management Council. .   


He has also showed us how advanced a tool the new ISO standards are for enabling superior relationships between FM and client organisations, and for building advanced FM strategies founded on knowledge, mutual understanding and partnership.  Developing these standards cannot have been easy, requiring both high-level abstract and strategic thinking, and also a deep understanding of everyday FM operations. 


Definitely Stan has it all!”


I want to learn more about:

Phil Clayton, KEY FM Bulgaria Lead, on EFMC 2018 & local Opportunities

Ahead of EFMC 2018, we are in Sofia for a conversation with our KEY FM Bulgaria lead, Phil Clayton, and COO, Jim Yorston.  Our aim is to learn from Phil about the conference, the energetic Bulgarian context, and the exciting opportunities its current ‘revival’ represents for business and Facilities Management (FM).

Phil Clayton - KEY FM Bulgaria Lead

Phil Clayton – Bulgaria Lead for Key Facilities Management International


So to start, tell us a bit about EFMC 2018 and KEY FM Bulgaria?:

Phil:  EFMC is the European Facilities Management Conference.  This year it’s being held June 5-8 at the state-of-the-art Sofia Event Center.


In keeping with Bulgaria’s folktale character, the theme is ‘once upon a time in Facility Management land’.  The focus is on how FM innovation and technologies are delivering ‘happy ever after’ for the ever-changing modern workplace.


One of the ‘storytellers’ will be our CEO, Stan Mitchell.  At midday on Wednesday June 6th in the Main Hall, he will be talking about how the new ISO standards for FM in conjunction with smart technologies are enabling a new era of FM”.

Jim:  KEY FM Bulgaria came into being in 2010.  We had won a contract to implement an FM management system for a multinational across their offices in developing countries. Their Bulgaria facilities weren’t in great shape at that time.  FM was equated with cleaning or other basic service functions.  Bulgaria was also notorious for its bureaucracy.


As such, we knew we needed someone embedded in the local culture, someone who had a lot of FM and change management experience, and could deal with the barriers and red tape and get things done.


Phil ticked all those boxes.  Under his leadership, the facilities were transformed from just another local office into a model for improvement for the whole organisation“.  

What does Jim mean by ’embedded’, Phil?

Phil: “Ha! Well Bulgaria has been my home now for 13 years: a dynamic period for the country.


I’m involved in organisations seeking to improve business relations and knowledge sharing between Bulgaria and UK.  These include the British Council, the British Embassy and the British Bulgarian Business Association.  Most conversations at the moment seem to be about the uncertainties and implications of BREXIT, and how we can best prepare for these.


I’m also a guest lecturer at the University in Pravets, birthplace of Todor Zhivkov, the Bulgarian Communist Party’s last General Secretary.  I’ve been teaching 3rd year MBA students operational management, project management, factory production, and that turning up late will get them fired! 


I find it exciting working with the younger generation: they’ve so much imagination and energy for change.  They’re also beginning to see a better future staying at home, instead of leaving for Western Europe.  Better to harness that entrepreneurial spirit here, than have it wasted strawberry-picking by the River Tay”.

Jim: “As you can gather, Phil is a real people person! A natural networker.  It’s a key skill of his.  Unlike many managers, he really understands that effective change management is more about relationships and culture, than technical implementation.  The first thing he does in a project is knock on doors and get to know everyone involved.  People like Phil, he’s kind, trustworthy and a good listener.  Before long, he’s getting invited along to family events”.

Phil, you mentioned you’d experienced a ‘dynamic period’ for Bulgaria: could you elaborate?

Phil: Indeed.  Really, this stems back to the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in 1989 and the transition to a parliamentary democracy.  I think this came as a shock to many Bulgarians, which enabled a few to accumulate a lot of power and assets. 


Debt, corruption, and heavy-handed bureaucracy, another legacy of the Eastern Bloc era, held progress back longer than it should.  Economic performance and the average quality of life remained lower than under communism well into the early 2000s.


In 2004, shortly before I moved here and after a few years of reform, Bulgaria joined NATO.  Then in 2007 it joined the European Union.  Bulgaria is still the poorest country in Europe, but optimism about the future has never been stronger, in my view.  It seems most appropriate to me that Sofia should be the venue for EFMC 2018“.

Jim:  “I couldn’t agree more, Phil.  Sofia is definitively back on the map.  It’s exciting, cosmopolitan and its boulevards are as lovely as any capital city in Europe.  We’re all looking forward to this conference”. 

Sofia, Bulgaria's capital city and host for EFMC 2018, from the air.

Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city and EFMC 2018 host.

So what’s driving all this optimism?

Phil:  “Confidence!  There is a lot of inward investment in infrastructure and tourism, notably from the EU, China and Azerbaijan.  Bansko ski resort, and Sunny Beach on the Black Sea, have joined the premier league of European tourist destinations. 


There’s also a growing perception that Bulgaria is safer, more stable, and better for the budget than a lot of European markets.  This is what’s underpinning the recent trend of big business relocating head offices here.  

This is great for KEY FM Bulgaria, of course.  Although the market is rich in opportunity, its a complex culture.  Incomers need assistance finding their feet. 


KEY FM Bulgaria helps them find property, negotiate the lease, and get a ISO compliant system that satisfies corporate requirements up-and-running, fast and hassle free.


Myself and other members of the KEY FM International team will be at the conference.  If you’re attending and want to talk to us about our Eastern European services, don’t hesitate to get in touch.  Oh and don’t miss Stan’s presentation on Wednesday, June 6th: it’s a cracker!”  

Interested in finding out more?:

World FM Day 2018 – What’s the best thing about being a Facilities Manager?

To celebrate World FM Day, we asked our International FM team ‘what’s the best thing about being a Facilities Manager?’

Here are some of the best bits from the responses:

“Variety!  No two days are ever the same – there’s never a dull day in FM!”
Stewart Lackie, Senior Facilities Manager

“People!  FM is all about interactions, and how people with diverse competencies and backgrounds come together in perfect harmony to make a project successful.”
Megha Joshi, Facilities Manager

“The wide scope of activities and responsibilities! This is what I enjoy and what makes me happy in my role. Every day you need to be in multitasking mode and prepared for any challenge. In the morning you can have a mop in your hands washing the floor, and in the afternoon, you’re forecasting budgets and managing the supply chain.”
Jorge Diniz, Facilities Manager

“Challenges!  While it can be challenging having to deal with different types of customers and projects onsite, once you are able to handle it smoothly, that’s what gives you the feeling of accomplishment.”
Tariq Bashir, Facilities Manager

“The challenge of multi-tasking and the self–accomplishment of completing projects!  This is what makes the job exciting for me.”
Engy Fahem Abo Allam, Facilities Manager

“Holistic management!  My passion and goal is always to facilitate the details so as to achieve a big picture where client needs are met, the workplace is comfortable, and staff are happy and give their best in return!”
Afaq Salem Alkhreisat