The facility industry is changing as baby boomers are retiring from their careers in facility maintenance, and replacing them is tough. You’ve already had to hire new entry-level technicians to take their place, but it’s often hard to find good talent.
This is a common problem many facility managers face when building new teams or filling gaps from turnover. To make matters worse, many facility managers often feel that their new team members are underprepared for the tasks and need more on-boarding than a trainer has time for.
There’s two ways to make sure your new hires are prepared, and both of those reasons have to do with how you manage your buildings and team.
TAKE THE INITIATIVE TO TEACH Your new facility managers
If you want to hire an entry-level car mechanic, you call teachers at the surrounding automotive programs to see who’s graduating this year. But if you want an entry-level FM technician, you probably don’t have any local certificate or technical programs to reach out to, much less hire from.
Formal education options for aspiring FM students are rare, even though most of the positions involve a substantial amount of responsibility, such as following budgets, coordinating people, managing expensive assets and wielding heavy machinery. Some four-years campuses and technical colleges have created courses for a facility management certificate, which teach basic computer literacy, project management, workplace safety, the basics of HVAC and how to document asset maintenance. Yet these programs are newer, provide minimal technical training and aren’t wide-spread.
Even if an aspiring FM takes these courses, future FMs need some level of maintenance experience. For instance, they need to be able to confidently work on electrical, plumbing and process systems, in addition to meeting physical requirements and being able to work collaboratively with other departments. The best way for candidates to gain this experience it to work in the field before climbing the ladder to management, whether that be through internships or a part- or full-time technician role. Finding a mentor is also important for these inexperienced candidates, because, while the internet is full of answers, one-on-one teaching is sometimes the easiest way to learn technical skills.
Give your fm TEAM the Knowledge and Tools to Succeed
Another reason it’s been difficult to get new teammates up to speed is because they can’t easily find and access the resources they need to succeed, such as floor plans, asset locations, preventative maintenance plans and equipment makes and models. The easiest way to provide organized, ready to reference resources is by recording all your building's data and documentation in a facility management software (FMS).
Getting that information together can seem like a large overhaul, since collecting space and asset data can be time consuming, but FMS partners, such as AkitaBox, provide data collection services so your team doesn’t have yet another thing to do. Once the data has been collected, all your assets will be plotted on a digital floor plan, which can be viewed anywhere by your employees since it’s a browser-based software, and you can easily link maintenance documentation to assets.
The workflow in a FMS means you can schedule work orders for your team members to complete and, attached to the work order, is all the asset information they need to know. For instance, if they need to replace a machine belt, they can see when and by whom the last replacement was done and how to install it by referencing the O&M document linked to the asset. All the information they need to do their job is at their fingertips, so that means fewer basic questions, less time researching and more time working.
Knowing these things doesn't solve the problems you have right this moment, and, while there are things you can do in your department, bigger changes need to happen in the industry. Then you’re hiring applicants, make sure they understand they’ll learn a lot on the job and provide them with the resources they need to succeed.