Mobilisation: Setting the Foundations for Success

Delivering great FM services relies on successful mobilisation

August 3, 2022 8 Minute Read


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Since the pandemic, the world is still getting back to “normal” and in some instances, adapting to the new normal. When it comes to the workplace, companies have been working harder than ever to bring employees back into the office and establish their preferred hybrid working models. Many organisations have shifted their focus to investing in longer-term workplace strategies that support the attraction and retention of talent.

FM is at the heart of delivering exceptional employee experience. From ensuring the building is at the right temperature to delivering enticing food experiences, a well-oiled FM machine is essential to tempting employees back to the workplace and attracting new talent to organisations.

Preparation is key

Delivering great FM services is all in the preparation; the critical months between a contract being awarded and the service provision commencing, is known as the mobilisation phase (or sometimes the transition period). Taking anywhere between 30 days and three months, this is the time where strong foundations and a robust partnership between the service provider and client will set the tone for the future operation of the contract.

We also believe that mobilisation is the starting point for helping clients achieve their goals. To begin mobilisation, we make it a priority to understand the client’s priorities and through data, we offer services to improve efficiency, cost savings, smart solutions, and sustainability. By conducting a thorough asset verification process, aligning on goals and team inductions, FM providers can become a trusted ally in helping the client achieve its long-term goals.

There are sometimes pressures to rush mobilisation – often due to financial year-end, portfolio changes, site closures, business urgency, or simply enthusiasm for change – but even with these pressures at play, preparation cannot be rushed. Successful mobilisation is not something that happens by chance, it requires a structured approach and a rigorous plan. During this period, it is imperative that unresolved questions are highlighted early and addressed quickly – this will also save countless days fixing problems retrospectively.

Five critical success factors for the perfect mobilisation

From our experience of countless mobilisations, we know how to set contracts up with the much-needed foundations for a successful long-term partnership and efficient-running buildings.

1) Strong communication

The key to any successful contract is great communication. Because many FM contracts are operationally complex, involving multiple technical experts and points of contact, good communication is vital. Whilst a strong relationship is generally built during the tender phase, the mobilisation period allows all parties to get to know each other better as they work collaboratively on the service handover and discuss future aspirations.

2) Solid handover

An important step in a successful mobilisation is to ensure that the service provider’s sales team has completed a solid handover to the mobilisation team, and that both client and provider teams are on the same page about mobilisation activities, milestones, and governance. Key to this is to identify the Account Lead from within the business as early as possible, if not during the tender process, to support the mobilisation and avoid another handover from a mobilisation team to the service delivery team.

3) Engaging employees

Often new facilities contracts lead to the acquisition of new employees or the transition of employees from one service provider to another (known as TUPE ). It’s essential that all employees in the FM team become familiar with the culture, mission, and values of both the FM provider and contracting organisation. They should have time to meet their new colleagues and managers, thoroughly understand their future role and become fully immersed in the vision of the new contract.

The role of the FM provider is to make sure that all employees are brought on the journey, settling any fears, and ensuring they are happy in their new position. It’s also important to confirm that the skills of the existing workforce match up with those required to deliver the new service and certify that all employees are in the right position for go-live day. Engagement with building users, supply chain partners and other stakeholders is also vital during this stage.

4) Ensuring compliance

Compliance should be one of the top priorities for any service provider during the mobilisation phase. Compliance failures can be highly damaging, not just to smooth-running operations, but also to brand reputation and, in extreme cases, the law. Therefore, focus should be on embedding a robust compliance framework, including process, governance, and technology. From reception to security, from maintenance to cleaning, from catering to landscaping, all stakeholders at the contracting organisation rely on high standards of compliance throughout the FM operation to create a smooth-functioning workplace. This is of course a heightened requirement at the current time when management are expecting more from their place of work as part of their drive to attract employees back to the office.

5) Commercial clarity

Despite a strong focus on agreeing comprehensive contracts, there are always small elements where practicalities need to be agreed later by FM teams on the ground. Through the tender process, it’s beneficial to “pressure test” the solution to ensure these considerations have been taken onboard by the client FM team using their site knowledge. However, during mobilisation, the service provider, and the retained team both have a window during which they can test assumptions and resolve points of ambiguity. This is a crucial step and leads to clearer expectations as well as a greater awareness of everyone’s role.

Tried and tested formula

The acid test that mobilisation has achieved its objectives is if the switchover is seamless, with only very minor teething issues on day one. Once you’ve implemented the tried and tested five areas, you’ll have set the foundations for a successful long-term FM partnership. The date will eventually arrive when the planning will be executed, due diligence finalised, the TUPE transfer completed, and all employees onboarded. It is now time to press the symbolic green button and go-live. Not only should this be the beginning of a successful partnership if mobilisation is executed correctly, but this will also be a huge milestone in helping the client achieve its business goals.

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