Posted by Janet Stroud — September 2, 2022 — On a recent episode of the FM Evolution podcast, hosts Shawn Black of CGP Maintenance & Construction Services and Randy Olson of the Professional Facility Management Institute (ProFMI) were joined by Eileen McMorrow, founder of The McMorrow Reports Facility Management & Design Insights and editor-in-chief of FMLink, to discuss the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the “Great Resignation” on the FM industry, and the importance of professional training for staff retention.
With 30-plus years as a journalist covering the facilities management (FM) and design industry, Eileen has extensive experience working closely with facility managers, architects, engineers, and building management professionals, helping them with the challenges of maintaining workplaces and optimizing productivity, investment strategy and design for the future of the built environment. Shawn, Randy and Eileen discussed the 2022 FM results from the McMorrow reporting last year and the mindset shifts within the FM industry.
CGT’s summary of the discussion follows.
Retaining FM professionals
One of the biggest questions asked in the past two surveys is if there was a “Great Resignation” in facilities management. What these reports found was that 66% of FM managers and staff had left or were considering leaving. However, they also found that the top three ways that organizations can retain FM professionals are through increased compensation benefits, opportunities for professional development and training, and offering opportunities for internal advancement. Furthermore, 54% of FM leaders say that they have open FM-related positions due to staff retirements.
On the other hand, there are also those in the older generation of FM professionals who are afraid to retire because they don’t feel as if there are competent people to hand their work off to. If this passionate generation could see that there are ample opportunities for younger FM professionals to obtain training and development, it has the potential to decrease the amount of turnover in the industry greatly.
An important key factor that FM managers need to consider is offering better packages to their team members to boost staff retention. If they are not able to provide monetary compensation, they can still provide a better work experience, more flexibility, etc. If they can show that they care about the growth of their employees, it’s easier to keep people drawn to their organization, even if the money isn’t there and there are other opportunities, because they make people feel valued.
Areas of growth for facility managers
Over the past few years, there seems to have been some complacency about what you really need to be successful in facility management. However, the pandemic has inspired some areas of change in the FM profession.
The first area FMs are itching to improve is compliance and standards. The second area is leadership. And lastly, emergency management. The pandemic required managers to change their expectations rapidly and manage people remotely. FM leaders had to step up and factor in the health and well-being of their employees because the space that they used to manage all their persons became less important.
Clearly, FM professionals can complete their jobs without being present in a physical space, so FMs were left to figure out how they could get a return on their investment for the amount of space no longer being used. All three factors mentioned above are focused on the singular goal of being able to manage people through many different problems. If the pandemic taught us anything, it was that no matter how much you plan, things are probably going to change, and the FMs who communicate well are able to navigate their teams through the changes successfully. They help their employees understand where they are today and where they intend to go in the short and long term.
For additional details of the discussion and related issues, view the FM Evolution video or visit the contributors’ websites.