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The staffing challenges that plague maintenance and engineering departments no doubt keep many managers up at night, and they never seem to end.
Once managers address a personnel need by hiring and training a qualified front-line technician, the challenges have only begun. Managers must turn quickly to longer-term challenges related to personnel management.
Here's where the real challenges begin. Beyond the day-to-day requirements of maintenance and engineering, what is it about each technician that makes that person unique? Whether the intangible is communication, organization, discipline, focus, attention to detail, sense of humor, or something else, it can provide managers with opportunities to improve both the technician's performance and efficiency and image of the department.
For example, what about a technician's personality and character might help a manager address a long-standing challenge? Maybe a technician who seems to know and get along with everybody in the building would be an ideal candidate to represent the department in organizationwide meetings. Maybe he or she could be the face of the department when complaints come in from occupants or interdepartmental projects arise.
Just as facilities are more complex than could be expected from scanning a list of the systems and components they contain, technicians are more than the sum of their skills, training, and experience. Devoting more time and energy to uncovering these intangibles can pay dividends for all involved.
Dan Hounsell offers observations about trends in maintenance and engineering management and the evolving role of managers in facilities.
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