The Facilities Management profession is not well understood by organizations and often even less so by your Human Resources department.
They are more likely to deal with the large number of employees engaged in the core business of your organization or in the more recognizable support professions like IT, finance, sales, etc.
As a result, their recruitment is often hit and miss because they don’t have the knowledge. And, depending on the size of your organization, the person the Facility Manager reports to doesn’t have the knowledge either. They don’t understand the necessary skills, the industry designations and training or even how to make sure their FM employees stay up-to-date on their training and skills.
Frequently, they think of it as a general role or even a technical role, depending on the organization.
This not only makes it hard to recruit good FM staff, it makes it hard for you to get the recognition you need in compensation and even training and support for things like association membership, designations, training and conferences.
So what can you do about it?
Start by sitting down with your senior Human Resources rep over coffee. Not just once, but several times. Talk to them about the Facilities Management profession casually first. Then gradually introduce them to the industry, associations like IFMA, BOMA, CoreNet, BIFM, the type of training and education necessary, designations and the value you deliver for the organization. Feel free to share material such as the FM Pie or the Knowledge Grid diagram. Do the same with your boss if they aren’t Facility professionals themselves.
Look at your job description and those of your staff and revise them to reflect the right level of decision making and impact on the organization, including assets and ‘spend’ you are responsible for. Learn how roles are graded for level and salary band and use that knowledge to build a better job description.
Then look at the job posting information. How do they represent the jobs? Where do they post it and how is it advertised? What qualifications do they focus on and how are these evaluated and weighted in the candidate interview and evaluation?
While it is tempting to require designations or degrees, these should be just listed as preferences. Many great Facility Managers don’t have a designation yet, or don’t have an engineering degree or Bachelors degree. That doesn’t mean they aren’t going to work out. And remember, even in Facility Management, business and leadership skills are as important as technical knowledge.
While all this may seem to be a lot of effort when you have a Facility to run, it will ultimately have a positive impact on your career and your department as well as contributing to the further development of our profession.