The FM Professional

What to Look for in an Office and Facility Manager: 5 Key Traits

David Spence
February 18th, 2016

It might not seem like it, but hiring a great facility manager can either make or break your company. Your FM is responsible for a number of activities that overlap internal office processes, employee happiness, productivity and company overhead. Ensuring that all of these aspects of your business run smoothly is one of the best ways to guarantee your company’s success.

Because this job requires someone who can handle a variety of responsibilities across multiple departments, a facilities manager needs to possess certain hard and soft skills. If you’re thinking about bringing a new FM on board, make sure they’ve got these five must-have traits on their resume.

Know anyone looking for a facilities or office manager? Make sure you share this with your network to give them a heads up!

1. Comfortable with new technology

facility manager technology

Technology is only going to grow in importance in the facility management space. Because of this, the ability to quickly learn and incorporate new technologies is paramount. For example, motion sensors and integrated software will help you better track room usage and seating assignments, meaning whichever candidate you choose should be able to implement and monitor these types of solutions. Further enhancements of request management software will also enable you to better pass-off and check-off the tasks on your list each day.

This is one reason the facilities management space is continuing to seek out younger talent. The millennial generation has grown up with technology and their adoption of new software and innovation is almost second nature. That said, millennial or not, the person you’re thinking about hiring needs to have mastery in a facility management software, like OfficeSpace, so that they can streamline their processes and reduce time spent on admin. This way, they can focus on the bigger picture.

2. Highly creative and adaptable

An FM position requires several different hats to be worn throughout the workday. That could mean diffusing employee feuds, going over the monthly budget or reviewing worker seat assignments to improve productivity. Considering this: whoever you hire needs to be eager to take on new challenges, all while being creative in coming up with solutions to a diverse set of problems.

A solid office manager will be able to easily navigate between different fields and skill sets at a moment’s notice. Look for someone who can easily adapt to any number of situations without losing focus or their poise.

3. Proactive in their approach to hiring

facility manager hiring protocols

Being a forward-thinking person who keeps the big picture in mind is a very valuable trait for FMs. Part of this means looking for ways to train and prepare employees for new responsibilities or ways they can assist with vacant office roles.

In addition, they must be open to learning new techniques, best practices and stay ahead of the curve, if they want to be successful as a facilities manager. Ideally, being apart of outside communities and associations, like IFMA (International Facilities Management Association), will not only evolve their capabilities as a facilities manager, but also lead to the growth of the company and the employees. 

Because of this facet of the job, your potential candidate should also be a person who’s good at recruiting and making connections. This will help to ensure that if a space needs to be filled rapidly, you can staff the role with a qualified and well-suited candidate.

4. Considerate and empathetic

While the office manager is responsible for the physical space of your company, they also need to take care of the people inside it. Being able to manage everyone’s desires and expectations requires incredible people skills. Your FM should be able to clearly communicate the expectations of the office and enforce them in a fair manner. They should also be able to keep the team on track and diffuse any issues before they spiral out of control. Really, an FM is your productivity producer and as such, must be willing to listen to everything and be empathetic and considerate of the needs of your employees.

Two other traits to look for are compassion and gratitude. Finding simple ways to increase employee happiness by scheduling fun events and providing encouragement is very important. A facilities manager should also be conscious of how the office space affects the workers inside it and should design an office that reduces stress and promotes creativity.

5. Able to manage and optimize any space

space management

Maintaining and optimizing the physical space of the office is the main role of the facilities manager. They need to monitor office systems to ensure everything is in working order, which means being on top of equipment and staying in contact with building managers. If a problem occurs, they should be the first one to know about it.

An FM also needs to structure the office so that it aids in worker productivity. This might mean removing physical barriers and re-arranging office furniture, or even finding ways to better optimize the current space you’re given. If your space is limited but you’re not yet ready to upgrade, consider making small changes to free up space such as replacing large furniture and rearranging your employees’ desks.

Although you might not have realized it, the responsibilities of a facilities manager are both vast and vital. Make sure that whoever you put in this position is a conscientious and flexible worker — they need to be able to tackle any new challenge head on. By doing so, you set them up for success alongside all the departments that rely on them too.


Photos:, Crew, Helloquence, Vladimir Kudinov