Planning for tomorrow’s workforce tends to hang low in the list of emergencies, distractions and to-do’s fighting for your attention each day. But have you contemplated your facilities management workforce lately? Chances are many of your employees are nearing retirement, eyeing a new job, or lacking the skills you’ll need in a not-so-distant future. 

As it happens, many healthcare facilities are woefully unprepared in terms of expertise, skills and leadership to thrive in the months and years ahead, at great cost to their operations, patient experience and ROI. (Is that you?)
Below are three common mistakes guaranteed to hurt your organization in the long-run.

1. Just promoting the next gal/guy in line
(i.e., no actual succession plan)

“Bob’s been here long enough and he’s a really good technician. Let’s make him manager!” Should we be surprised if Bob fails because he’s never been trained to actually lead people, drive performance, and push a team without hurting morale? 
By contrast, adequate succession planning must:

  • Identify and develop internal associates to fill key company positions, long before they’re needed
  • Ask where associates want to take their careers, and help them achieve those goals
  • Increase the number of experienced, capable and available employees who can step into critical roles
  • Create a culture of learning

Just as important, your succession planning should include representation and input from the across the organization — not just HR.
2. No strategic plan to identify, attract and retain critical roles
Which roles could wreck your facility operations if they went unfilled? Identify them now, and begin building talent pipelines and succession plans for them. (For us, those were facility site and regional leaders.)
Often, you’ll find your most critical roles are also the hardest to fill or retain. Don’t leave them to chance.

3. Lack of training investment

Want a recipe for high turnover, employee disengagement, and sky-high service contract expenses? Then withhold training opportunities from your people. At best, you’ll find yourself handcuffed to stacks of service contracts that will cost you twice (or more) what it would cost you to build the same capabilities in-house.
High-performing facilities management leaders know that investing in their people is a great way to boost long-term ROI and efficiencies. To that end, provide both informal and formal training opportunities, including a leadership development program. Just as important, involve employees in decisions about their own development and career path.

Noticed a common thread here? If you want to sustain skilled labor, strong leadership and financial strength, you’ll have to move from hoping to building the kind of workforce that enables those outcomes — starting now.