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If You are not Happy with Results…It May be Your Fault, Part 2

A look at operational expenses and the management of personnel, and the role they play in the overall effectiveness of facility leadership.

(If You are not Happy with Results…It Is Probably Your Fault, Part 1 introduces the role leadership plays in team effectiveness and discusses the critical aspects that time managment plays).


For maintenance, you will generally need one FTE (full-time equivalent) for every 25-35,000 square feet. Do not count managers in this; they are supposed to manage. These are the individuals who are doing the work. Keep in mind, as well, this is assuming your FTE is spending 100% of their time performing maintenance. A recent benchmarking project revealed that on average, maintenance only spend 50-60% of their time performing maintenance tasks. So, you are probably more understaffed than you realize.  How do we correct this? Hire more maintenance people.

Ok, so we all have had our laugh, because most organizations are not able to hire more…yet.

As a leader you should always look for ways and means to make sure you staff appropriately. If we do better with time management, we start to better utilize our personnel. That 40-50% of non-maintenance tasks are those items that are usually trivial. Reduce those and our personnel can perform more maintenance.

This is also when you need to evaluate hiring out the tasks that are more cost-effective when they are performed by SME (subject matter experts). If you are falling behind in maintenance, evaluate where you can sub-out work. HVAC preventative maintenance contracts, specialized cleaning/flooring tasks, lawncare, vehicle maintenance; these are all suitable places to start.

These maintenance tasks require specialized tools and knowledge. If you do not do them every day, it will take you longer to perform the work. And, staff members are less likely to snag the HVAC person to help move a desk from here to there. It can be a struggle for many facility stewards, as a great many do know how to do many tasks. The goal is to realistically evaluate what you have the personnel to support and eliminate those things that you can easily pay an SME to do.


Everyone is funded at the best level, correct?

Cue second belly laugh. I have yet to meet an organization that says, “Gee, I really do not need as much as they are budgeting for the facility, I should cut my budget line”. It’s almost universal that when an organization faces diminishing funding, the facility/operational budget is one of the first areas considered.

To be blunt, without proper planning and understanding of operational expenses, this is dumb.

Whether you are at full capacity each service, or only filling a third of your space, all areas of the facility continue to deteriorate. The HVAC units function based on design capacity, not actual attendance. Replacement/renewal cycles remain the same. You must be realistic with your facility funding needs. Determine what you need to pay the “Have to”; what you need to spend to keep the facility open, clean, and safe.

Detail the “should do” items; these are the things that help repair and replace mission-critical items.  Your “want to” are the items you address when and if you can. Be prepared to make the hard choices; shut down areas if you need to and allow members to assist in setting things up, pulling trash, and light maintenance.

As a leader of a facility team, sharing the preceding and teaching it to all those that are part of the process is beneficial. Training your team on these concepts will help them to understand what they can evaluate to help you identify areas of improvement.

Leaders will train their teams…not just on process, procedure, equipment use, OSHA regs, etc. (which you should be doing as well); leaders train their teams on the higher-level processes as well.

Some of the most unique improvements that I have instituted have derived from input from the team. They have a unique perspective.

As a leader, if we are not happy with results, it probably stems from the lack of time and effort we have put into training and empowering our team. Train your team on the proceeding (and everything else), and see what happens.

Don't Miss WFX Session Presenter Nathan Parr: Connecting the Culture of your Church with Safety and Security

As part of the launch team for Renewal Church, a church plant in Bell County, Texas, Nathan is serving as the Safety and Security Coordinator. During the week, he’s a Facility Specialist with Cool Solutions Group. Nathan has over 23 years in facility related industries, is a USMC combat veteran, licensed security officer in the state of Texas, and holds a Master of Theological Studies as well as an MBA. Don’t miss Nathan’s session at WFX Conference and Expo 2019, Sept. 17-19 in Orlando. Go to WFXevents to register

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