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Another level

Rachel Hiscox, Managing Director at FM Training and Qualifications provider Quadrilect offers advice for FMs on skilling up for the challenges facing facilities management in 2019

Change has always been recognised as a key challenge for the FM community, but the current scale and nature of the changes taking place are unprecedented. At a national level, the UK’s exit from the EU is causing significant uncertainty with all the associated implications for business and investment. Alongside, the debate about the future role of FM in the wider context of the workplace continues, as witnessed by the BIFM’s recent re-branding to the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM). It’s already clear that we can expect major changes as new technologies make even greater impacts on how and where we work, and the continued tension between maximising productivity and maintaining a healthy work-life balance demands increasingly skilful management.

What do these issues signal about the future profile of FM and workplace management jobs? In the short term, how should we approach training and development planning given the potential impacts on operational priorities and budgets? Despite the current pressures and uncertainties, it’s clear that maintaining day-to-day operations effectively remains a top priority, but as the FM profession seeks to reposition itself in recognition of an expanding remit and a diverse range of operating environments, we can’t ignore the need to stand back and re-evaluate our core skills and capabilities.

The introduction of professional FM qualifications from Levels 2 – 7 has undoubtedly transformed the learning and development landscape in recent years, providing greater structure and clarity for planning purposes, as well as nationally recognised progression pathways. However, despite the importance of formal study, we shouldn’t ignore the requirement for basic skills development or post-qualification CPD. It’s important to assess where and how undertaking qualifications can benefit individuals in the wider team context, and where investment in refresher training and / or basic skills development can deliver real benefits. The expanding range of options can make learning and development planning seem complicated, but there are wider benefits to adopting a more strategic approach which can deliver significant performance improvements.

As both an accredited qualifications provider and a CPD centre, Quadrilect regularly work with clients to understand how to achieve best value from their development resources in the short and medium term, and it’s a key reason why we now offer a choice of flexible Annual Training Passes which can support organisations looking to mix and match one-off training sessions and face-to-face tuition as part of a qualifications programme. In uncertain times it’s also an effective way of ring-fencing L & D budgets which can easily be eroded in the face of growing financial pressure.

Taking a more strategic approach to planning provides a welcome opportunity to stand back and assess how roles and responsibilities are evolving at an individual and team level, and as part of the planning process it’s well worth revisiting job descriptions and associated competences to benchmark where and how changes are taking place at different levels. In this sense, job descriptions are often neglected assets which only see the light of day when vacancies arise. But if managed dynamically, they can become valuable planning tools offering clarity in terms of performance expectations and defining roles in the team context. Actively monitoring and managing role profiles can also flag opportunities for succession planning by identifying key transferable skill sets, something which FMs are going to have to work around much more effectively as we confront the growing challenge of skills shortages in the sector.

Benchmarking requirements against published standards is an effective method of aligning skills with the wider industry, and the recent publication of new ISO standards for FM provides another valuable resource alongside existing professional competency information. It can also help to focus attention on the ‘core’ capabilities which apply at different levels within the FM operation, providing a valuable springboard for learning and development planning.

Whatever else happens in 2019, it’s certain that getting ahead with the planning process will pay dividends and making sure that budgets are secure as well as demonstrating best value will be more important than ever.

You can benchmark your core capability profiles against our professional pathways ranging from introductory to senior levels or select from a range of new courses for 2019 focusing on emerging industry trends and skills needs, including:

  • ISO 41001 – understand and apply the new internationally recognised FM Management Framework
  • Wellness in the Workplace – cut through the hype around the wellness agenda and discover how to implement programmes successfully in your own context.
  • ISO 41012, Strategic Sourcing – take a fresh look at both tactical and strategic procurement practices in the light of the new international standard.
  • Applying NLP in Facilities Management – understand how to influence for better results and improve relationships
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective FMs – Learn to apply Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to the management of the working environment
  • Workplace Coaching to improve FM Performance – how to motivate your team, help them develop and improve performance, and support an evolving organisation
  • ISO 45001 Occupational Health & Safety – put in place an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system. This will help you manage their OH&S risks and improve OH&S performance

About Sarah OBeirne


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