FM Spotlight

Chris Butterick – LinkedIn

Published on: November 10, 2014

This month’s FM spotlight is Chris Butterick, Workplace Site Manager at the world’s largest professional networking site - LinkedIn. We are excited to have Chris representing LinkedIn this year in the IFMA Awards for Excellence as a nominee for the Workplace Innovation award.

"LinkedIn in NYC is a fast growing and quickly evolving operation: new people, new demands, new floors to open. The constant change is enough to send your typical facilities manager cowering beneath the covers. Chris has an amazing ability to not just handle the demands but to predict and prepare for them. He’s got ready —and spot-on — answers to most questions asked by senior leadership and an always-fulfilled promise to quickly get the answers to those he doesn’t know. Beyond just managing facilities, Chris spreads and embodies the culture: he makes smart decisions, takes intelligent risks and listens to the needs of everyone in the office, from just starting millennials to senior folks.” - Dan Roth, Executive Editor, LinkedIn

What is one thing that no one knows about you?
“I once rented a U-Haul and drove to four IKEA’s in one day to purchase and transport ninety shelves for a new office. I didn’t even think it was possible to visit that many IKEAs in one day!”

How did you get into the Facilities Management world?
“I lead workplace operations for LinkedIn’s New York office at the Empire State Building.

Before I moved to New York last year, I spent the previous seven years working at a media company, GOOD, in Los Angeles. I joined the company at the ground level, sending out the mail and making buttons, and I left as the vice president of operations and finance managing all accounting & FP&A, real estate and workplace services, human resources, legal, and IT services.

GOOD was a growing company requiring us to bounce around to several different offices in Los Angeles. While hectic, this growth provided me with an opportunity to manage four headquarters relocations and two expansions during my time there. I was fortunate to work with some tremendous people who trusted me and helped me grow.

After GOOD, I took some time off to reflect on what I wanted to do next. I realized that my true calling was workplace operations. I realized I would be most fulfilled in a role focused on helping people excel at work by providing a creative and enjoyable environment.

I feel extremely fortunate to work at a company like LinkedIn that highly values its strong corporate culture. I have the luxury of helping make our employees happy by providing an environment where they want to spend their days.“

Tell us about your favorite project highlight.
“I joined LinkedIn at such an exciting time. The company is growing rapidly and I joined in the midst of transforming our New York location. Over the last year, the New York office has almost doubled in size and square footage and I’ve had the opportunity to work with a world-class team on the construction, design and program management to ensure we provide the best possible workplace for employees. I serve as the NY site manager working with the local leaders to develop solutions that work for their teams and keep them up to speed on our roadmap.

Over the past year, I also led the revamp of our NY catering program. It’s been a fun project of trying to figure out how to offer a best-in-class dining experience inside a landmark building that doesn’t have a full service kitchen, but our team has really transformed the experience and set the bar high.”

Tell us about a challenge or obstacle that you face in the Facilities Management world.
“I think it’s critical for today’s FM’s to ensure they are adaptable to the way that today’s workforce thinks. Today’s workforce is looking for responsive teams who are open to implementing change quickly, which can be at odds with the lengthy planning and building process we sometimes rely on to drive changes forward

Today, workplace teams need to work quickly to implement rapid and iterative improvements. It’s also critical that we ensure we are measuring against key metrics, and constantly evaluate the effectiveness of our changes. Employees want real-time solutions, so it’s important that we clearly communicate our progress. As an industry, we need to change our mindset in order to be successful.”

What learning experience would you pass onto future FM’s?
“It’s all about Relationships. Relationships matter. I encourage my team to be hands on with our internal partners/employees and ensure that we are proactive and anticipate what the staff needs and wants in advance. The way to be on the pulse of these issues is by establishing a strong working relationship with our internal partners. I encourage them not to solely rely on email when solving a problem. It’s important to pick up the phone or swing by someone desks to ensure you clearly understand the task at hand and that your partner knows that we hear them and we are on it!

Additionally, FM’s need to remember that as a leader, you need to share context. Use a conversation about a broken coffee machine to talk about the future of the beverage program or ideas for programmatic improvements. It’s important to bring your partners behind the curtain and communicate the long- term vision so that they can be good partners as you tackle those day-to-day hurdles along the way.”

Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary.