Client Engagement underpins your property function

This section of the frameworks looks specifically at the formal and informal processes used to manage client needs and determine their strategic requirements.

Internal service level agreements and cost management strategies are included in this section.

Client engagement is the link between what the organisation needs and what the property function does. It is also about what priorities and focuses the team has and how they define what their goals and objectives look like.

There are multiple linkages to consider, such as links to the corporate plan and strategy, as well as business plans of individual business units and/or divisions. There are also linkages into the HR and people strategy function, as well as the ICT and workplace technology functions.

Key aspects of client engagement and your property function

This will also be client-specific as the way the clients are engaged is a function of who the clients are, where they are located, how the organisation allocates authority (central verses discretised). What should be included is:

  • Formal processes for regular engagement with key internal customers – often annually as part of business planning and/or budgeting.
  • Clear allocation for understanding clients within the roles and responsibilities of the property function.
  • Service level agreements or other documentation that clarifies the services that customers should expect and links to cost allocation.
  • Governance forum(s) that include key customers for major projects and/or decision making that requires multiple stakeholders to agree (space planning).
  • Some way to measure, monitor and report client satisfaction.

Firstly, awareness and understanding of who the key internal customers are, what their business needs are and how well the property is satisfying those needs. It is surprising how often property teams are focused on buildings and services, not customers and their needs.

Secondly, some form of formalised process for regular engagement to surface their requirements and document those requirements. This often starts with budget discussions when property costs are allocated to business units and/or divisions.

What you need to look for to make the most of your client engagements.

The key symptoms are customers who can’t get what they want, don’t feel as though anyone is listening or, don’t feel as though anyone in property understands their needs.

A lack of ability to forward plan or getting caught out with a business need (new space for a project) that property can’t deliver on, is also a clue to a lack of engagement. Other symptoms include:

  • Lack of measures that are business unit or divisional specific as opposed to property portfolio measures.
  • An over-emphasis on the needs of the centre (CFO, CEO COO) which are often total cost and risk related verses the specific needs of specific internal customers.
  • Lack of visibility of the property function across the business.
  • An inability for property to articulate how their services contribute to organisational goals and objectives.

Property must balance the needs of the individual business functions with that of the whole organisation. Structures that manage this tension and service the needs of all stakeholders are key to managing this challenge.

Do you need help applying our framework to your business, or make sense of the data? Contact us today, and we can help you identify and resolve problems within your property function.