WWP 2012 Review

Giving Thanks for World Work Place and Corporate Social Responsibility

By: Robert Sunukjian

In our home as well as many others around the Triangle, Thanksgiving is very special.  It is a time to eat, drink and repeat, enjoy time with family and reflect on the blessings in our lives.  This year it gave me pause to reflect on 2012 as it has been a difficult year, both personally and professionally.   I have been without work and working harder than ever to find the next great opportunity.  What 2012 has not been lacking however is personal growth and I am very thankful to have received a scholarship to attend World Work Place from The Greater Triangle Chapter.  I came away from San Antonio recharged.

This was my first time attending World Work Place, so my expectations included attending the learning sessions, networking and eating some great San Antonio food.  World Work Place was all of that and more.  There was definitely time to network; I caught up with people I hadn’t seen in years, exchanged ideas with professionals from places as far away as Dubai (very cool) and experienced wonderful international food at every turn.  I have to take this opportunity to thank Aramark for hosting the Chapter at Zuni Grille.  It was a fantastic event in and of itself and just another example of how fortunate we are to have people like Roger Peterson supporting the chapter.

The single biggest takeaway I had during the conference happened at a session regarding Corporate Social Responsibility and the role of Facilities Management.  Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has always been a bit of a fuzzy term for me; a concept brought to life in annual reports and quickly set aside again so that ‘real’ work can be done.  What I had not previously thought about was that over 80% of corporate social responsibility objectives are actually facilities management initiatives and the stock and trade of the facilities professional, if we are wise enough to claim them.  Facilities professionals around the globe do a fantastic job handling the major aspects of CSR programs, sometimes unknowingly.  Where we sometimes fall short – myself included, is capturing the full value of FM contributions and therefore including those benefits alongside the typical dollars and cents return on investment we calculate by rote.  This is a powerful concept and a very good reason for facilities professionals to dust off their companies Corporate Social Responsibility programs and re-read them with an eye toward aligning facilities goals for 2013 as well as reviewing the accomplishments from 2012 with those of the CSR program – remember you’re already over 80% there!

So whether reconnecting with alumni from the University at Buffalo, or discussing the benefits of wholesale procurement rather than retail with current Chapter colleagues, World Work Place was a great experience.  Thank you once again to The Greater Triangle Chapter for the opportunity to attend an amazing event!