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Workplace Performance Management – Is it for you?


I’m taking a slightly different direction away for Higher Education this month into the corporate world, although you could argue that the philosophy behind Workplace Performance Management should be equally at home in the corridors of HE facilities management departments as in the offices of corporate real estate executives.

Workplace Performance Management (WPM) was termed coined by the NSW Government in 1996 (although there are those who would have you believe that that this term was coined by the IWMS industry) as part of the Total Asset Management program developed by the Department of Public Works and Services. It defines personal and corporate accountability and sets in place those improvement processes for the physical infrastructure of an organization. Simply put, WPM exists to extract maximum shareholder value from that infrastructure through a goal setting process, establishing key performance metrics that are analyzed and reported on against these objectives.

Workplace Performance Management is a subset of Business Process Management (BPM), which has embedded itself into almost every facet of organizational operations, and has within the last few years begun to infiltrate its way into the real estate and facilities domain through Six Sigma process methodology and the like. BPM links business strategy with key performance objective to define accountability and set in place improvement processes [Mintzberg- 1988]. The development of a Workplace Performance Management process is, therefore, a substantial advancement in real estate and facilities management.

A Business Week  survey found that 60% of organizations reported a misalignment between the workplace and business operations because there was no integration with overall business strategy. As elementary as this may seem to a first year MBA student, the “intended” business strategy rarely sees the workplace (an “emergent” strategy) as a strategy to be integrated with the whole but sees it more of an outcome. The effect of emergent strategies on the intended strategy will always create misalignment. Unrealized strategies that minimize shareholder value and can seriously hamper corporate growth and direction.

Without this alignment of strategies, business leaders miss significant opportunities to increase shareholder value across the business spectrum but especially in its physical infrastructure where up to 75% of costs can be locked up. Profitability can by maximized through increasing spatial efficiencies, cost reductions and capital minimization.

Workplace Performance Management provides the system of measurement that creates a direct linkage between business goals and objectives and stakeholder interests. WPM also provides specific insights into those actions that increase the value of the workplace and reduces the cost of business operations. Firms that implement WPM systems in concert with BPM derive significant cost reductions – often hard currency savings of between 5 and 10 percent and cost avoidances exceeding 20 percent.

Workplace Performance Management also measures other areas of the business including Financial, Operational, Portfolio and Environmental Performance and Customer Satisfaction.

These five categories form a comprehensive workplace performance balanced scorecard for management of the organization. This balanced process ensures the organization retains an integrated and focused approach to infrastructure, operation and organizational activities that contribute directly to the firm’s financial success.

(c) 2011 Tony Stack

Tony is the Business Solution Manager for IBM Australia


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