The FM Professional

5 training tips tailored for facilities managers

David Spence
October 27th, 2014

Strengthen your team with these 5 techniques

1. Use multiple trainers for new hires

While some of your team may be jacks-of-all-trades, some of them will have more specific expertise and experience. Try having multiple people involved in the training of a new hire, instead of one primary person. This will help the trainee get the best of your team. It will also ensure they learn the proper protocol for each piece of equipment they’ll be using.

2. Use a checklist

Facilities workers have a lot of bases to cover. Today’s Facilities Manager suggests using the following skills as the foundation of your  training program:

  • Knowledge of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and control systems
  • Knowledge of safety program
  • Complete all logs and forms for equipment
  • Identify and/or operate all equipment in the BMS/control room
  • Understanding of engineering software programs
  • Ability to enable/disable life safety devices
  • Read and understand building drawings and schematics

For new hires, it may not always be immediately clear how the things they’re learning connect to their job duties. Trainers should explain this connection so that new hires can understand what will be asked of them as time goes one.

3. Use external trainers

Maintenance website says that one great way to train maintenance staff is to seek expertise from external sources. For example, some organizations partner with technical schools to bring staff up-to-date on equipment repair. (If you do this, however, it’s important to work closely with the school to ensure the curriculum is tailored to your facility’s specific needs. Otherwise, the venture could be a waste of time and money.)

Other external training can also come from other sources, depending on your specific needs. Like schools, training firms can enhance your team’s skill set. Product vendors can educate staff on their product’s features and special uses, while equipment manufacturers can train on proper maintenance and troubleshooting.

4. Test their knowledge

If you’re conducting only internal training, see how well an individual’s training by doing a little role reversal. Do a walk-through of the facility with your trainee and ask them to explain to you how equipment works. This will let you pick up on any topics that need to be reinforced. It can also be a good opportunity for your trainee to ask questions on topics they’re not as confident about.

5. Provide ongoing training

Whether someone on your team is a new hire, or they’ve been with you for ten-plus years, ongoing training is critical to your department’s success. Equipment may be updated or replaced, or job duties may change and include new responsibilities. For these reasons, continuing education should definitely be a part of your training program. Hold review sessions covering different systems, and rotate these sessions by year to avoid going over the same material; this will also ensure that your team’s knowledge of any one system always stays current.

When you invest the time and resources into a good training program, you can maximize your team’s efficiency and productivity. Using these five tips can help you find the right strategy to help both new hires and old hats succeed.

Image credit: tiverlucky/