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Your Facility Management Team Members Are Retiring: What’s Next?

November 18, 2020

Did you know that in the next few years, nearly half of the facility management (FM) workforce will retire? As valuable knowledge and experience walks out the door, we are moving into an uncertain time regarding the future of facility management. A massive wave in retirement will present unique challenges:

  • How will the growing retirement gap be filled?
  • Will current teams need to take on additional skills and work to compensate?
  • Will teams need to find faster, more effective ways to replenish numbers with new talent?
  • How can our current FM workforce be engaged, mentored and retained?
  • What tools can be used to help make this transition easier?

There are many questions to consider regarding the retirement of facilities management professionals. We’re here to help put your mind at ease and give you the insight you need to set up the next generation of facilities professionals for success.

Keep reading to find innovative strategies that will help you rethink your approach to future facilities teams.

Top Challenges with Facility Management Succession Planning

Let’s take a look at some notable research and statistics:

  • The average age of a facility manager is 49.
  • In AkitaBox’s recent State of Facility Management survey, only 19% of participants were under the age of 40.
  • 33% of facility management professionals indicated a shortage of skilled labor a top challenge in 2021

There’s no denying that Baby Boomer retirements are coming fast. Soon there will be a significant deficit in trade workers entering the space. What does this mean for you and your facility?

The Impact of Retiring Facility Workers on Your Organization

As facility team members retire, directors and building owners may be concerned about the valuable knowledge these individuals take with them. Retirements can lead to the need for new hire training, higher risk of things falling through the cracks, and a loss of institutional knowledge.
For example, experienced facility team members know:

  • The location of every asset within your building
  • The history of equipment and building assets
  • The standard operating procedures of equipment
  • The secret tricks and tips for maintaining your buildings
  • The schedule of when equipment requires maintenance

As facilities professionals across your organization retire, you’ll need to have a plan in place to keep things moving forward. How will you continue to improve efficiency and preserve the institutional knowledge these individuals have cultivated over the years?

Here are a few pointers as you move forward.

3 Strategies for Facility Management Retirement Planning

Use the following three tips to start taking action today.

1. Work smarter (not harder) by leveraging the right technology solutions

Many organizations (even ones with a software system in place) still rely on their team’s institutional knowledge to get the job done right. In fact, many Facility Directors don’t realize how much information is only available through institutional knowledge (i.e. “Go ask Dave. He worked on it last.”) Cataloging all this data in a software solution will help keep everyone on the same page.

As technology advances, the next generation of facilities workers is already taking full advantage of facility management software to improve efficiency and regain useful hours into their days. If your facility is not yet using a facility management software (or is weighed down by a bulky, outdated CMMS or IWMS), now is the time to implement a more efficient solution. It is more vital than ever to have asset locations tracked, documents digitized, and floor plans accurate so new hires can be brought up to speed faster.

  • Keep in mind: Maintaining and operating your buildings goes beyond just reactive and proactive maintenance. Having a solution in place for other common challenges like facility inspections and capital planning cycles can help quicken the transition for new hires and ensure facilities are well maintained in the future.

Protect from Upcoming Retirements


2. Know where to look for new facility management hires

The facility management field is thriving overall. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that facility management careers will see a 10% growth rate from 2016 to 2026. If you’re looking to hire qualified facility management professionals, you’re in luck. You just need to know the right places to look to find the individuals you need.

There are plenty of places to find qualified techs and managers, but the first place you should start is IFMA JOBnet, an FM job board powered by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA). Next, post your job opportunity on a job search engine such as Indeed, Glassdoor or LinkedIn. Reach out to local colleges and facilities-related organizations and be a promoter! Get involved at local colleges to help promote the facilities management trade.

3. Create a strategy around hiring new facilities team members

As members of your team retire, place an emphasis on training and mentoring. This will benefit new hires and current team members looking for guidance and career growth.

When building a new facility management team or filling gaps from turnover, you’ll want to make certain that your team feels prepared. This can be done through training, new employee onboarding, and ongoing support. You’ll set up your entire department to be well-rounded, knowledgeable and empowered to care for your facility with this investment of time and resources.

  • Pro Tip: Sit down with retiring staff to understand best practices and organizational knowledge before they leave. If any “tips” or “tricks” can be uploaded as notes in your facility management software, do so!

How are you preparing for turnover in facilities management services?

The facilities industry is changing as baby boomers retire from their careers in building maintenance and management. Replacing these individuals may seem tough, but the key to moving forward is simple. Always maintain proper planning and make sure you have the resources you need to be successful.

How are you preparing for turnover in your facilities team? If you’ve already experienced a retirement of someone on your team, how did you prepare before, during and after the transition? Leave a comment below. If it’s useful to you, it’ll be useful to someone else too!

Protect from Upcoming Retirements

Mitch Comstock

Former Product Marketing Manager and Innovator for AkitaBox.

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