News | 28 February 2019

What a difference a year makes

A year ago this week, as the ‘Beast from the East’ held back any signs of spring, we sprouted some green shoots of our own as we unveiled our plan to change our name and reposition ourselves as a modern professional body, fit for the twenty first century.  

How fast the year has passed since we proposed our plan to embrace the workplace agenda and incorporate ‘workplace’ into our name. The intent being to revolutionise our identity by becoming the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management and to grasp the opportunity presented by the leading-edge associations of workplace to reposition the facilities management profession as one that is recognised as making a tangible impact on the business bottom line; and to go for Chartered Body status. 

As we bask in another kind of record February weather, we reflect on how far we have come in twelve months and how those green (or teal?) saplings are faring. 

At IWFM’s launch in November, IWFM Chair Steve Roots commented that our purpose in creating IWFM, was to “reframe the rationale for FM to generate a better understanding of the value that facilities and workplace professionals can contribute to the success of organisations.” 

Changing our name and our brand is a good move but really it’s only the end of the beginning.  We have a way to go to achieve our ultimate goal.  That’s why we’ve been working on a business plan to help us to get there. Our ten-point plan which summarises our work programme for the coming year and beyond is just an illustration of the breadth of activity we have in hand. 

In November 2018, we also published a piece of research called the IWFM Culture Report: Managing Facilities or Enabling Communities which examined existing and new trends,  identified enablers and blockers of cultural competence and the highlighted the current and future state of the profession. The report aimed to position ‘culture-consciousness’ at the heart of the professional’s mindset, in one sense, to positively impact the way workplaces are utilised to address challenges. This is important because one of the key findings from the research which influenced the creation of IWFM was that FM professionals felt disregarded and ‘done to’ in their organisations and needed a route to a new mindset that would help them leave behind limiting ideas about facilities management and its potential.   

IWFM’s mission is to empower professionals to upskill and reach their potential for a rewarding, impactful career. We do this by advancing professional standards, offering guidance and training, developing new insights and sharing best practice. We have plans to further develop the IWFM Professional Standards and in our training offer, developing professionals in how to integrate and adopt workplace thinking now forms the basis of a new IWFM Academy course, Essentials of Workplace Leadership. Following our announcement, we have endeavoured to open learners and professionals, wherever they are in their careers, to the importance and potential that workplace has for furthering the profession; and we will continue in this vein as we prepare to launch four additional workplace courses in 2019. 

The same reverberations of change can be seen across our two flagship events this year: the IWFM National Conference and the IWFM Awards. The first ever IWFM National Conference has been carefully curated, drawing on speakers with backgrounds spanning across multiple disciplines, to offer delegates the key insights and inspiration necessary to embrace the workplace opportunity. We’ve also incorporated a new category into this year’s Awards called Impact on Society and Social Value, which aims to unearth social responsibility initiatives of the highest standard. 

Stick with us for 2019. Great things are here; better things are coming. 

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