Training + Technology: The Cure for Facility Retirement Woes
Many facility maintenance teams will say goodbye to key staff members due to retirement in the next 5 years, according to an ARC Facilities LinkedIn poll conducted by David Trask, National Director – ARC Facilities.
So, what does this mean to those in the industry?
There’s general agreement that training is critical.
“We need to start building a business case for the importance of cross training and having competent staff at all times,” said a facility manager from Intermountain Healthcare.
There’s a genuine fear of losing significant institutional knowledge due to retirement of the most tenured facilities staff.
“To me it’s not the number of people, it’s the years of experience and institutional knowledge that will be irreplaceable,” said a director of facilities management at Holy Name Medical Center. “Within 3 years I’ll probably lose 100+ years of experience.”
Aging fears were balanced with a sense of humor from one facility professional who said, “I am certain I will be working until the day they roll me to the chilled room.”
“Facilities teams are the lifeblood of any organization. If the building isn’t functioning properly, the organization is out of business,” said Trask. “That is why it is so important to start capturing that knowledge before it walks out that door.”
Succession Planning through Technology
While some have posed the idea of bringing in past workers in consulting roles to achieve a work-life balance for those who aren’t 100% ready for retirement, having a team approach to problem-solving is great for all parties involved in facility management, including technicians, emergency managers and facility decision-makers.
Not every retired facility team member wants to be called weekly or while out playing golf or at home with their families with questions about shutoff locations or issues with an old air handling unit that should have been decommissioned years ago!
By utilizing their mobile devices as a central repository for facility-related documents, all team members gain instant access to shutoffs, as-builts, O&Ms, mapped equipment locations and emergency plans.
When everyone is equipped with mobile devices containing all this information, everyone is on the same page and everyone is looking at the most current information.
The good news is that there is a new wave of facility management professionals who are receiving degrees in facility management and trade certifications from institutions such as Central Piedmont Community College, Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, The University of Minnesota, Arizona State University, and the University of Washington.
While retirement issues are complex, there are bright spots in the future with technology and education leading the way.
Read our eBook for strategies about succession planning.