Don Searle highlights weak areas within the industry at FM World

Don Searle from specialist FM Recruiter Catch 22, highlights the importance of establishing stronger relationships between FM professionals and senior business leaders in achieving operational targets and the role service providers play in supporting the sector’s evolution.

Listening to a panel debate recently, it was interesting to note a senior FM consultant commenting that facilities management had not moved on significantly in 20 years.

He was referring to what some see as the holy grail for FMs – a place at the top table. If boardroom representation is the ultimate accolade, FM has had to be content with an occasional place on the podium or just being a plucky loser. But isn’t it the job of FM to just make sure that the organisation is provided with the optimum conditions in which to prosper?

Attitudes vary according to which aspect of the service delivery spectrum you represent, but the thing that unites all FMs is the need for collaboration and open communication with the top people in the organisation. These are the visionaries; the ones who map a way forward and need FM to understand what is needed to achieve that vision.

At the same debate a service provider observed that without open dialogue, relationships are doomed; FM becomes a victim, tortured on the altar of SLAs or beaten with the KPI stick until beyond caring. Without an understanding of an organisation’s goals, FM becomes a dispiriting chore as opposed to an uplifting experience.

HR practitioners, by and large, appear to have bought into the need to fully comprehend and support organisational goals and thus have earned the right to be involved at a high level. Organisational development has become a critical contributor to goal achievement while FM, a major budget holder, has been dogged by self-doubt about its status.

Success for FM will come through empowering teams that can support the organisation’s goals and by establishing a reputation for nurturing and rewarding talent. It will come through devolving responsibility to those who are in a position to affect the lives and well-being of customers.

So how can service providers to the FM industry contribute to that success? The same understanding of organisational goals is critical to suppliers if they are to provide a service that works. The same open dialogue sets the tone and allows the supplier to perform with the agility to meet the demands for a seamless FM operation.


As needs develop, a fully involved supplier can be a source of ideas that add value. As a resourcer and supplier of the people who deliver great service, Catch 22 believes in developing a dialogue with clients. It enables us to fully appreciate what the client needs, helps us to provide guidance and value and translate that into talent.

Catch 22 recently teamed up with gap personnel, a top 10 high street agency, which gives us a nationwide coverage. This will enable us to bring the Catch 22 difference to a far wider FM audience and provide Gap with opportunities for onsite supply to large FM servicing operations. As a result, we are in a stronger position to ensure the FM sector is able to contribute to the evolving challenges of those directing industry from the boardroom.