Turn the tide on 'quiet quitting' by boosting engagement and productivity

June 26, 2023

After a decade of consistently strong employment rates in the facilities management industry, staffing levels have fallen steadily since the widespread disruption of the pandemic. In recent years, high turnover rates resulted in short average tenure for FMs. In the U.S., 43% of FMs have been in their current role for just two years or less.

An especially troubling contributor to these staffing challenges is the phenomenon of ‘quiet quitting,’ where employees continue to draw a paycheck while reducing their productivity and effort to bare minimum levels. The Harvard Business Review dubbed it “even more damaging to organisational functioning” than the Great Resignation. Gallup found that ‘quiet quitters’ are costing the global economy nearly US$9 trillion. In Australia, trend labour productivity (a measurement of the output produced per worker) is at its lowest level since World War II.

Quiet quitting represents a particular problem for building owners, who rely on FMs putting forward extra effort to collaborate with contractors and engage tenants through placemaking activity. The same is true for building occupiers with in-house FM responsibilities. Operations team members who have psychologically ‘checked out’ impact not only their own productivity but the operational efficiency of entire buildings.

Fortunately, there are solutions: improving engagement and fostering a collaborative digitised workflow among FMs and contractors. When workers feel involved and tools-enabled, they are more likely to stay invested in their roles, preventing the gradual disengagement that fosters quiet quitting.

Here are some of the ways that CIM’s PEAK Platform can boost engagement and help building owners avoid the risks associated with quiet quitting.

Make everyday work meaningful through increased strategic visibility

In a function as demanding (and sometimes isolating, given its largely ‘back-of-house’ nature) as facilities management, maintaining high levels of engagement can be a challenge. CIM’s PEAK Platform helps empower FMs and contractors to close the loop quicker and more seamlessly between issue identification and resolution. These contributors retain a more strategic view of the big picture, even when daily work can get quite tactical. Direct insight into which operational equipment requires attention and why—or low-level adjustments that can make a massive difference to higher-level strategic priorities—increase the sense of connectedness between everyday work and the bigger impact of an FM’s overall output.

An added benefit of increased visibility into the entire workflow is the enhanced sense of accomplishment that comes from doing work that matters. PEAK enables buildings to run on data-driven maintenance, which involves the use of an analytics engine to guide operations teams as to when and where maintenance and repairs are required. This is a stark contrast to a schedule-based approach, where hours or days are spent checking on things that might be working just fine to comply with HVAC&R maintenance guides like DA19 in Australia.

“I wouldn’t get nearly as much done if PEAK wasn't there. I normally have to go through and find all the issues myself, but the platform makes some really good pickups for me to prioritise.” — David, HVAC technician and PEAK user

Using PEAK, technicians can prioritise their limited time on site investigating actual issues picked up by the platform, rather than checking equipment that’s operating as expected. Ensuring that all team members understand the value of their work relates directly to a key driver of workplace satisfaction: meaning. Context is everything, and technology that illuminates that context is invaluable.

"PEAK works very well as a fault finding and diagnostic tool. It picks up anomalies on the BMS which would not normally be spotted without performing a deep dive by a BMS engineer. It also simplifies any remedial works required and pinpoints how and where the works have to be carried out saving time and money." - Darrell, Facilities Manager

Transform relationships through collaborative tools

Streamlining communications between building owners, FMs, tenants, BMS contractors, and mechanical contractors helps get issues actioned faster. When stakeholders spend less time on frustrating games of “telephone” or arbitrarily recurring meetings where messages are often lost or garbled, they can spend more time participating in meaningful work.

PEAK keeps everyone on the same page with a centralised workflow for the detection, diagnosis and tracking of a fault, regardless of each user’s team affiliation or physical location. When FMs and contractors can access real-time data on the go, communication becomes more fluid, faster, and more efficient. 

Not only that, but relationships that may once have teetered toward hostility become fruitful and engaging when workers on all sides have the opportunity to recognise their colleagues and call out great work when they see it.

Here’s an example from PEAK, the ‘shout-out’ feature which captures bite-sized celebratory feedback so property owners and operators can easily see who is doing great work, and who is recognising them for it:

Some of the 'shout outs' exchanged between users of the PEAK Platform

The strong positive engagement we see across our customer base is a testament to the culture of collaboration our clients have created through PEAK. These stakeholders work effectively together across teams, with direct visibility into when their work is being praised.

By celebrating daily wins, culture amongst the operations supply chain is transformed for the better. PEAK provides a way to keep everyone accountable for individual performance, team collaboration, and the value they deliver at their buildings.

Deliver data with technology that’s a pleasure to use

The third and final key to boosting engagement through PEAK is that the platform is a genuine pleasure to use. After all, technology that is overly complex or clunky is almost certain to deter engagement, not enhance it. User experience tops the list of drivers for digital consumption identified by McKinsey; user-friendly technology is now the expectation, not the exception.

In the words of an FM:

“I can view the equipment in real time from one easy to use platform, but also take that platform mobile if I am moving around the building and need to raise the Alerts to contractors and tenants. CIM not only provides a summary of the issue, but also a number of recommended solutions, which is easy for any new or experienced FM to implement as an initial step. CIM has enabled us to resolve a number of issues before our building occupants can raise them!” - Senior Facilities Manager in Australia

Or from the perspective of a contracted BMS Engineer:

"I visit one of my sites monthly as a "PEAK" day. I interact with the CIM team. I go through my list of assigned actions. And if I find something strange or bizarre I contact CIM and we provide a decent solution that same day and fix it." - Senior BMS Engineer in Ireland

PEAK was built with user engagement in mind, which explains our strong Net Promoter Score amongst all users (contractors and FMs) of 36 and high average rating on Capterra of 4.6 out of 5 stars. When collaborators across teams can easily communicate on a single source of truth, without highly technical training or painful ramp-up times to adoption, the path to strong employee engagement becomes a direct one.

If you’re ready to overcome quiet quitting at the operational level—or better yet, prevent it entirely—CIM can help. Request a callback from our expert team, and let us help you supercharge operations across your portfolio.

Antonious Mickaeal
June 26, 2023