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One of the tougher challenges an FM has during the succession planning process is identifying potential candidates to move up in the organization.
Candidates can come from different kinds of backgrounds and skill sets. They can stand out early in their careers and show skills later in their careers that nobody saw before.
SAP's Larry Morgan calls these candidates “diamonds in the rough,” and they clearly carry a lot of influence with him.
“One of my top performers when I joined SAP 15 years ago worked in IT handing out cell phones,” he says. “But she had customer service skills, and was very articulate. She had a little bit of a sense of humor, didn’t take things too seriously.”
Morgan says that a few weeks after she came on board, she called him to check out how things were working, which was impressive to him. Now, she’s SAP’s senior facilities manager, he says.
“A majority of the skills in facilities management can be taught,” Morgan says. “It’s the customer service side of things that can’t be taught, so it’s those diamonds in the rough that I’m looking for.”
Western Michigan's Peter Strazdas says he looks for promotion candidates who display humility and leadership abilities.
“We’re looking for people who are team players, that want to be humble and emulate that leadership in their organization,” he says.
COVID protocols have provided FMs another opportunity to identify leaders where they may not have previously recognized them.
“I’ve often said crises bring out the best in people, and we’ve got a heck of a crisis going on now across the country and in higher education, so there’s an opportunity for people to shine during these challenging times,” Strazdas says. “That shows other leadership who is worthy and who has the opportunity to step up. As a leader in facilities we need to create the opportunities for people to grow.”
One way to identify potential promotion candidates is to implement a mentor program for your employees to go through after onboarding.
“Part of individual development planning for your staff means that each and every person on your staff should have a mentor, whether it’s your most senior person or the person who answers the phone on the help desk,” Friday says. “The employees need someone who can help them with their questions and their development.”
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