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Do You Have Future Managers On Your Staff?

How to identify standout employees and put them on the track for middle and senior management positions

Career path concept

It should go without saying that good facility managers recognize that identifying and cultivating talent among their entry-level employees benefits the entire facility. That’s why facility managers should always be assessing staff at every level to determine where they may make the most valuable contribution to the organization’s success.

Judie Cooper is associate director of organizational development services, office of facilities management and reliability at the Smithsonian Institute. She says that learning and development should never be restricted to one level of the organization but should be offered to all levels.

“The competencies required for every role should be identified so that the training they receive ensures they know how to best perform their role for the benefit of the organization,” Cooper says. “That holds true for managers, technicians, mechanics, and administrative staff, as well as those in leadership positions.”

According to Alana Dunoff, consultant at AFD Faculty Planning and associate adjunct at Temple University’s Facilities Management program, in the big picture, grooming entry-level employees is all about creating a sound succession plan.

“It’s about having an internal process that helps facility managers assess their staff and their abilities to move up in the organization,” Dunoff says. “A succession plan is a road map for an employee to understand what they need to do or achieve in order to grow in the company and it is also a blueprint for management to understand the type of person and skills they are looking for to grow emerging leaders in the organization.”

Grooming entry-level employees can start with understanding the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities (SKAs) needed to be successful in a particular position, followed by a process for assessing the individuals’ strengths and weaknesses against those SKAs, then crafting a plan for helping the individual fill in the gaps so that they can grow in their career.

“Succession planning seems to have disappeared in many organizations; gone are the more formal management training programs that helped both employee and employer understand the path to leadership,” Dunoff says. “But I think that organizations that build a succession plan or guidelines for career growth have a leg up; I know I would more likely work for a company that sees me a resource, someone to help grow, nourish, and train and that I have the potential and clear path for career opportunities and success.”

One of the primary tools for helping entry-level employees shift into management is a focus on organizational development and training/education. Organizational development tools help build organizational resilience, building bench strength, and developing a team with diverse and complimentary skills, says Dunoff.

Managers that employ organizational development (OD) tools encourage the proper levels of empowerment, involvement, and delegation to help their staff take on new responsibilities and grow in their level of accountability and engagement.

“Entry level employees are often trained when they first join an organization. They might shadow someone, be required to earn some certifications, have special training, or just be paired with a more senior staff person,” Dunoff says. But once basic training is complete, there is often a significant gap in future training, particularly when it comes to the softer supervisory and leadership skills.

“Technical training and on the job learning continues, but leadership training — helping someone hone their ability to successfully manage and lead people — that is the skill that is often missing and needed the most, particularly when grooming someone for leadership opportunities,” Dunoff says.

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Career & Staff Development