As we count down to Facilities Management 2016, fcbusiness catches up with three of the show’s key speakers to find out more about what to expect from the show. 




On day three of the Facilities Management 2016 seminar programme, Wendy Sutherland, Director at Ramsay Todd and Chair of the BIFM Procurement SIG, will be exploring the BIFM Procurement SIG’s Guidance Notes on SLAs and KPIs. Here she outlines an insight into her talk:  


Service Level Agreements and Key Performance Indicators


The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) Procurement Special Interest Group (SIG) are a committed group of facilities management professionals, wishing to share knowledge and best practice amongst their industry colleagues.


In August 2014 and 2015 the BIFM Procurement SIG created and published draft Guidance Notes on the subjects of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), providing reference documents for members of BIFM.


The SIG felt that SLAs and KPIs were useful tools for ensuring contracted services meet the expected delivery standards of buyers whilst introducing clear metrics for measuring performance of suppliers. In this way buyers and suppliers understand the parameters of the service contract and the value that must be delivered within it.


Service Level Agreements


The SLA is not a legally binding document on its own; however it can be incorporated into the Terms and Conditions of Contract.  It should be written in a simple format, clearly defining the service and performance standards required.  The value of the document is often seen when both buyer and supplier work together to agree the content.  Both parties need to benefit from the arrangement and the discussion should bring out areas such as concerns or risks, with an opportunity to minimise these aspects.


The key criteria for developing successful SLAs are:

  • The scope of the service is agreed and understood by both parties
  • There is sign off between key stakeholders
  • The document needs to be owned by the buyer contract manager and supplier delivery manager
  • There should be no more than 6 to 10 service objectives, which must use SMART criteria.
  • KPIs must be established to support the SLAs.


Key Performance Indicators


Once the SLAs have been agreed then KPIs can be developed in order to measure how well the service is being delivered.


A typical KPI will have the following characteristics:


  1. Be aligned to service delivery goals
  2. Provide context
  3. Create meaning at all organisational levels
  4. Be based on legitimate and relevant data
  5. Be easy to understand
  6. Lead to action


The KPIs should directly relate to the Critical Success factors (CSF), which may have been identified prior to procuring the service or during the development of the SLAs.  CSFs and KPIs should not be confused as they have a different purpose: CSFs determine where the value of the service will be, whereas KPIs are the measurement mechanism.


The Value of SLAs and KPIs


There has been much debate about the value of SLAs and KPIs with many believing they are ineffective and a waste of time.  Once the pitfalls seen with relying on their use relates to managers spending too much time focusing on the KPIs, and failing to see the service in its entirety, tunneled vision occurs, causing the service to contract and suffocate rather than flourish through innovation and creativity.  This can certainly occur if SLAs and KPIs are not reviewed at regular intervals during the contract term, keeping pace with organisational changes and priorities.


There is also concern around the use of financial rewards and penalties as part of the KPIs.  If a true partnership style of relationship management is desired then the use of financial incentives or sanctions potentially undermines these principles. 


The success or otherwise of SLAs and KPIs is largely due to how well they are constructed and understood. There are too many examples of generic formats being used, which then lead to a tick box exercise. They must be specific to the organisation and relevant in order for them to work.





On day two of the Facilities Management 2016 seminar programme Julie Kortens, Senior Business Executive at Channel 4, will consider how those in the facilities management industry can build a personal brand and take advantage of the opportunities available to them. 




How many times have you seen FM go under-appreciated by the wider world? We are fighting to make companies understand the holistic benefits facilities management can bring to an entire organisation, not just to the bottom line. But even in 2016 it seems people only notice us when something goes wrong. In fact the better we do our jobs the less likely we are to be noticed.


Maybe the people in FM just aren’t very good at blowing their own trumpet? The really sad thing though is that there are really talented people who are undervalued parts of an undervalued industry.


Guys that have been in the industry for decades and people who have only just jumped in can be equally guilty. As an industry we struggle to explain why we are vital, to take enough pride in our achievements; in short we aren’t building a brand. This becomes even worse when you stop and think about just how many opportunities there actually are in FM to put yourself out there.


Events and Awards


If you are based in or around London, there’s an industry event almost every night. Just general get-togethers, social events, debates, lectures, the choice is yours. They might be run by companies, magazines or industry bodies and you never know who you will meet there.


Of course as an active volunteer in the FM industry, I know better than anyone that our professional bodies and associations offer far more than just events; I’d go so far as saying that volunteering in any capacity can work wonders for your profile.


There are also annual industry awards and what better way to put you, your company or your team’s name in the spotlight than to submit an entry? Maybe you think you haven’t done anything worthy of winning, but if you never try, how will you ever know?


Maybe you have an industry issue you are particularly passionate about? Well dollars to donuts FM will have a discussion about it sooner or later. Why not put your name forward to speak on a panel or at a debate? It’s a great way to show what you know and get people talking about you. Perhaps one of these debates, or a similar event could be hosted at your own premises? What better way to get to know everyone who attends than to play host?


Industry Media


Another way to make the most out of something you are really interested in is to discuss it with the industry media. Perhaps you have a fresh take on an industry issue, want to talk about something your team has achieved or have worked at a significant site. Sometimes all you might want to do is talk about yourself and what you do on a day-to-day basis. Every magazine talks about these sort of things so give them a call and ask if there are any opportunities.


Social Media

Then there is probably the easiest and most obvious example for the twenty first century. If there are any of you out there who still aren’t on Twitter or LinkedIn, sign up as soon as you can. You never know who you might meet online, or who might become aware of you. Join in discussions, comment on issues and generally make sure you’re seen.


Building a brand can be pivotal to developing your career. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out or if you are looking to get the recognition you deserve after decades of hard work, there is rarely a downside to getting your name out there. What are you waiting for?




Chris Moriarty, Development Director at Leesman, will be speaking on the final day of the Facilities Management 2016 seminar programme, where he will be considering the productivity of the environment in which FM professionals work. Here he provides a foretaste of his talk:


Productivity is the Holy Grail for FMs but are they doing enough to create the right environments for people?


The biggest cost in an organisation is its people; followed by the place that they are provided to do the work. It is commonplace for organisations to view their people costs as an investment, but property struggles to make that transition. As such, the workplace isn’t receiving enough attention. As business costs are cut to make up for the hikes in square footage, we’re entering a dangerous cycle where the quality of workplaces is being dragged down. The fact that a space has a direct impact on employee productivity and, ultimately, business performance is being… either accidentally or conveniently ignored. The question we’re asking is – are organisations limiting the impact that their people can have on their organisation?


Well, it appears so.


Workplace Effectiveness


We do one thing, just one way: we measure how well workplaces support those who use them. For the past six years, Leesman has been collecting data on the effectiveness of workplace and, in this time, we have amassed data from over 135,000 individual employees in over 1,100 buildings in more than 50 countries. As such, we’re now in a position to outline statistically the constituent parts of a high performance workplace.


To date, just 4% of the buildings we’ve surveyed have achieved a Leesman Lmi workplace effectiveness score of 70 or above – this means that only 25 of the larger buildings that have run a Leesman survey have managed to deliver a high performance workplace. Considering we’ve assessed over 1,100 workspaces worldwide, it’s fair to say that more work needs to be done.


Workplace Environment


When asked whether the workplace design enables employees to work productively, only 55% of respondents agree; bringing into doubt the suitability of a work environment to support the work taking place within an organisation. Our data also outlines the increasingly well known problem of organisations failing to adapt to modern work activity, with 46% of employees selecting over 10 activities as being important to their everyday work – more activities than a single desk can support. Employees are increasingly looking for a variety of workspaces, including social, informal areas to collaborate and communicate with colleagues, yet their employers are failing to provide them.


The best highest Lmi score we’ve recorded is 81.7; and the worst was 32.9. That’s quite a range – a range that has allowed us to reveal informed comparisons. High performing organisations allow individuals to choose the workspace most suited to the task they’re being asked to perform. They offer a variety of spaces to suit an array of activities. These activities include everything from hosting visitors, group meetings (both planned and unplanned), audio, video and telephone conferences, to projects that require informal social interaction, collaboration and sometimes even a quiet space for thinking and reflection.


Workplace Design


Our findings challenge conventional workplace design; and raise the question of standards around occupant density, and whether this will cause organisations to reconsider the choice of work setting they provide their teams. The solution is a simple one – it is imperative that organisations, alongside skills, investment and infrastructure, include the workplace in their productivity focus.


The challenge for FM is the constant squeeze on cost, coupled with the pressure to deliver more. What the profession has been great at is ‘cost engineering’; however, based on our numbers, we would argue that the value has been engineered out of the equation. One example is the move to open plan environments. This is often dressed up as a move towards creating more collaborative space, but we all know that one of the major drivers is cost, as utilisation data shows that desks are often unoccupied. Unfortunately, what is delivered is often a half-hearted attempt at open plan; the results of which can be catastrophic.


Leesman is hoping that businesses will reposition the workplace as a tool in organisational performance. It’s about creating a place where employees come to contribute, and it’s about the workspace facilitating that contribution.


Chris, Julie and Wendy are just three of 27 facilities management experts speaking at Facilities Management 2016. In addition to these educational sessions, the show will also feature a packed exhibition hall and fantastic networking opportunities. Facilities Management 2016 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on 22 – 24 March and will be co-located with two highly complementary shows, Maintec and The Health and Safety Event.