Hiring: The Inside Story
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How do you describe what your department does?
For many maintenance and engineering managers, answering this question is harder than it might seem. Managers obviously understand what they and their staffs do every day to ensure facilities operate safely, reliably and energy efficiently.
The problems come in describing these activities to other people. Managers tend to be doers more than talkers, and their communication challenges can create problems.
That communication issue arose during the annual NFMT Conference and Expo, where facility managers and building owners gathered in March to learn and share information about their facilities and the profession. A frequent topic of discussion this year was the lack of qualified technicians entering facilities maintenance and engineering.
The issue of communication took an unexpected turn — for me, anyway — when a speaker discussing the challenges of finding entry-level technicians asked managers in the audience, “Does your HR department know what your department does?”
Why is that point important? Because if the people inside an organization responsible for recruiting and hiring can’t accurately describe maintenance and engineering activities and roles, they’ll be hard-pressed to identify new employees with the needed qualifications and potential to do that work.
Sure, it’s important for managers to reach outside their organizations when trying to find entry-level technicians. But it’s just as important — maybe more important — for them to communicate effectively with their internal allies in the recruiting and hiring process. That kind of communication offers two benefits. First, it can help HR departments provide accurate information to potential new employees about the essential role and activities of facilities maintenance and engineering departments.
Second, it can improve understanding among departments about the importance of maintenance and engineering in the overall success of the organization.