The FM Professional

Big Shoes to Fill: How to Train Your Replacement

David Spence
January 27th, 2015

5 Succession Planning Tips to Put Into Practice

Identify Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Obviously, most companies would prefer to promote internally rather than hire someone completely new. How can you support your team members to see that those promotions happen and your absence won’t leave a huge skill gap? You’ll want to think about your worker’s individual strengths and weaknesses. Maybe Robert specializes mechanical, but he doesn’t know anything about HVAC. Maybe Derek is a master technician, but he doesn’t like talking to people very much. Zeroing in on these traits can help you see what skills and training your team would need for future promotions, and what roles would suit them best.

Expose Team to Different Work Experiences

Of course, one of the ways to identify strengths and weaknesses is to observe how your team does when exposed to new job duties. Are some of them quick to pick up new information? Eager to learn? Reluctant to do something different? Seeing how they react can help you decide if they’re up to the challenge of stretching themselves professionally. This can also be a useful way for younger facilities workers to round out their knowledge of FM. When the field demands more and more versatility, the more exposure your colleagues have to all its different aspects, the better.

Encourage Professional Development

Because facilities management changes so much, it’s key for those who want to advance to continue their professional education. The best practices of today are very different from what they were five years ago, or even two years ago. For your team to keep providing maximum comfort in the workplace, they’ll need to pursue continuing education units and receive the certifications necessary for their role and skill level.

Develop their Soft Skills

Performing preventative maintenance on a piece of equipment requires one skillset. Explaining to the C-suite what could happen if you don’t perform that maintenance is entirely another. Being a facilities manager requires that you’re able to talk to the people on the maintenance side and the executive side and be able to translate each side’s words to the other. If it seems that your team may be lacking the skill to do this now, it would be smart to help them develop their communication skills by teaching them how you walk that tightrope.

Consider Being a Consultant

When all is said and done and you’ve done everything in your power to prepare your team for sprouting their own wings, problems they won’t know how to fix may still come up. Your expertise may still be needed. In which case, before you officially step down, you may want to talk to your supervisor about serving as a part-time consultant. That way the company won’t have to spend money or resources on those small occasional quirks that no one but you remembers how to fix.

Good succession planning is key to ensuring that the facilities department keeps running smoothly, regardless of who’s in charge of it. Pay close attention to your team members, encourage them to develop professionally and help them strengthen their weak spots. With the right amount of attention to detail, you can help the department thrive even after you retire.



photo credit: Sunfrog1 via photopin cc