FMJ.CO.UK HEALTH & SAFETY ROUNDTABLE FEBRUARY 2017 41 I believe mentoring is very important here, to identify weaknesses. By providing training to fill any gaps - over time people can fulfil their role. The best FMs are inquisitive ones, who want to go to work and learn something every day. If people coming into the sector do this they will become excellent FMs, but they have to want to learn. I always look for people with the right personality and attitude first, as you can train people with skills – but if they haven’t got the right personality in the first place it’s never going to work. Facilities management is as much about managing people as it is about managing the buildings. What people in facilities need are good customer services skills and you can’t always teach those. If someone gives me a choice between the person and technical ability I’d go for the person element every time. Are formal academic qualifications really necessary? It depends on the role as there are so many diff erent disciplines within facilities. We off er BIFM training to all of our facilities team if appropriate and we also provide training in soft skills. But when we recruit people we’re looking for experience and confidence in dealing with people. Will we continue to hear about people ‘falling into’ facilities management or will it become a chosen career? Two of the people working for me have FM degrees, so there is a route there. Are there more opportunities for training and development by working for an FM provider? DAR The tendency to outsource in education doesn’t always work as you can’t provide the passion for the people and the building which you get from in-house staff . I always regard outsourced people who come into our building as part of our team but also I don’t have control over who comes in regarding their qualifications and background as I would with our own employees. We ask to see CVs for people coming in and to meet them to see how they will manage the contract. Any supply team represent us so they are part of our team, but I will insist on interviewing them first to check they are the right fit. DAR When you outsource you can end up with diff erent people all the time and this lack of familiarity can be a problem. When I deal with contractors I will ask who are you sending me and will ask for specific people I know and trust. What does FM need to do to attract people into the sector? The industry needs to convey how interesting and varied the jobs are because the perception is it’s a bit dull. And it’s actually the complete opposite being one of the most interesting jobs you could ever have. But the industry is not getting that across. It requires getting out into the wider world and into schools and recruitment fairs and making people aware of what being a facilities manager means. There also needs to be a bit more emphasis on the front of house/soft services areas. What about FM’s relationship with other departments, particularly HR? The relationship you’ve got with people on a day-to-day basis has got to be as strong as it could be, and that also means interdepartmentally. I align my strategy with HR because there is so much of a connection between the two disciplines. Compared with HR FM is still so young so the steps it has taken in the last 35 years are huge. It’s becoming a vast specialism which people are increasingly respecting – we’ve come an awfully long way in a relatively short period of time.
Facilities Management Journal February 2017
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