What does it take to make FM and HR collaborate?

A lot of industry talk concerns the need for FM and HR to work closer together. But what are the barriers and benefits? What does a closer collaboration require?Even though, FM and HR traditionally haven’t had much to do with each other that doesn’t mean that they do not have anything in common. In fact, FM and HR have shared interests for ages.

Both functions, have always been committed to create a well-functioning, healthy workplace environment where people can thrive.

Yet where HR always has taken the employees as the starting point – in its tradition – FM has been more concerned about the physical assets.

To create a successful workplace now and in the future, these two roles need to come together, create synergies between their competencies and use their expertise to innovate the workplace for the better.


We need to break down silos

Departments such as HR, FM and the CRE function often operate independently, while making decisions that affect one another. While FM may be in the middle of investing in high-tech equipment to improve mobile working, HR may implement mobile work policies that limit the impact of the FM department’s acquisition. At the same time, CRE may be extending the lease for the office buildings, when it from the people perspective would have made more sense for relocate the workplace.

A recent ISS and CoreNet Global Survey showed however that making those functions working together may not be as easy as it seems.

What’s standing in the way? If you ask Corporate Real Estate and Facility Management professionals, just like we did as part of our ISS/CoreNet Global Survey – you’ll find that organisational barriers (silo mentality), role definitions and areas of responsibility and a lack of understanding of what each other are doing are making up the greatest barriers to bridge the gap between the functions.

How to make FM and HR collaborate

A more collegial model that once and for all makes up with organizational silos and encourages team members from various departments to work side-by-side is however needed to breathe life into the user centric workplace.

But what does it take to make the teams more aligned?

Our research shows that it all starts with a strategic commitment. 32.1% Corporate Real Estate professionals replied in our survey that to bridge the gap between FM and HR, their employer must recognize workplace experience as a strategic priority. If that is not the case, the gap will be hard to close between the functions.

Facility Managers questioned add to that context that a better functional alignment can come into place, if the organisation’s and the functions get a better understanding of the changes within work, workplace and workforce and thereby what necessitates that closer collaboration between the functions.

There is no doubt that in times where work practices are changing, where downsizing and re-organizing is on the rise, creating transparency between the FM and HR functions will be a key to secure a strong and user-oriented workplace for the present and the future.

All it requires is once and for all to break the organisational silos, have an open mind and join forces in the strive for the better. We can always solve better together.