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Enticing and Educating New Talent For Facility Management

By Ken Sinclair

The following articles speak well to the complex task a hand enticing and educating new talent for facility management and the controls industry:

“Talent Development In The IoT World.” Clients are demanding building automation systems be leveraged as enterprise decision support systems for their energy optimization and operational effectiveness objectives — Richard K. Warner, PE, President/CEO, OME

This quote from the article provides insight:

“In the early days of OME’s developing business, we spent a significant amount of time understanding the nuances and complexities of managing Gen X/Y folks. For the most part, the standard environment and methods utilized traditionally seemed to work with the majority of individuals. As things progressed over the then next several years, there seemed to be a higher than usual incidence of what I call the “talent gap” and even more troubling, a true lack of innovative synergy between the team members. Additionally, as I honed our optimum position description and qualifications, employed a more tailored onboarding regimen, and cast a much wider net, I was shocked at how few of the experienced applicants were actually qualified candidates. We quickly came to the conclusion that we would need to almost exclusively grow our own talent, a devastating thought for us as a small business since we traditionally tend to rely on “pre-trained” or experienced talent that is generally frustrated with the bureaucracy of a larger organization. Additionally, it also meant that most of our new team members would likely be recent graduates who are much younger than the Gen X/Y folks we had grown accustomed to managing.”

There is also this article, which focuses on facility management:

“To-Do List for Facility Management. A priority to-do is to focus on attracting, recruiting, and retaining best talent.  - Jim Sinopoli, PE, RCDD, LEED AP, Smart Buildings LLC

Come these quoted thoughts:

“Invest in People — Overall, there appears to be a global shortage of qualified facility engineers and technicians. The reasons vary. It’s tough to attract young people into the profession; this is partially attributed to the perception of the profession being underpaid, low profile, and organizationally marginalized. Also, in many parts of the world, ongoing management and operation of buildings is simply underappreciated, undervalued, and an afterthought. So, with the talent pool shrinking and the skill sets and knowledge base of what it takes to operate and maintain a facility changing, a priority to-do is to focus on attracting, recruiting, and retaining the best talent.

“You may want to reassess your recruiting, especially for younger men and women. This is a demographic that has slightly different motivations, such as the public image and values of the company, and is often committed to social and environmental responsibility. Cooperative relationships with local colleges and universities can be worthwhile. Here you can possibly influence the curriculum to make sure that’s what is being taught aligns with the skills and knowledge your company requires. In addition, development of an intern program allows young people with technical knowledge some experience in the real world; while at the same time allowing the organization to assess their capabilities and employability.”

It is very clear that for us to move forward as an industry gracefully with full transition into the internet of things that we are going to have to do a lot of self-education. Not accepting this task would be very dangerous because folks will come into our industry without understanding of our existing resources and known procedures. Although in a few areas this may be refreshing, in others it could be a disaster.

Ken Sinclair is the founder, owner, and publisher of an online resource called AutomatedBuildings.com. He writes a monthly column for FacilitiesNet.com on what is new in the Internet of Things (IOT) for building automation.

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posted on 9/6/2014