Facilities management is a niche industry that requires employees to possess unique interests and specialized skills. This is especially true for Life Sciences environments. Most facilities management roles require an undergraduate degree at minimum, in addition to proven on-the-job experience.
Some facilities management career paths, such as Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) tracks, demand that professionals receive additional training and certifications beyond the traditional Certified Facility Manager (CFM) or Facility Management Professional (FMP) credentials. At DENS Facility Services, we add to these requirements via our specific training for Life Sciences facilities that results in additional credentialing as Life Science Maintenance and Facility Technicians after several weeks in the DENS Bootcamp.
All by way of saying - you've put a lot into developing your facilities support team - yet, research shows that employees take about 70% of company knowledge (often referred to as "tribal knowledge") with them when they retire or leave a job, which is alarming enough as it is. Consider the fact that facilities managers exit their roles with an intricate familiarity with the physical workspace developed over years or even decades, and you have even more reason for concern.
With the job market continuing to tighten and Boomers retiring in droves, it’s become increasingly important for businesses to develop a knowledge retention strategy that targets not just knowledge workers but hands-on professionals including facilities managers.
Here are three tips from DENS and Flagship for helping you create a consistent means of knowledge transfer and retention in your organization.
Facilities managers have a significant amount of tacit knowledge – or knowledge acquired through experience that cannot be easily shared. To prevent this type of knowledge from being lost, try capturing it in different forms. Many companies have started videotaping staff as they perform manual tasks so that they have a visual reference to provide future employees. You may also consider recording employee interviews, establishing practice communities, or implementing a knowledge-sharing platform on an intranet.
Establish a Mentorship Program
Mentorship is one of the most effective ways to organize, capture, and distribute institutional knowledge – especially in facilities management environments where tacit knowledge is prevalent. A good mentorship program not only prepares junior employees to take on new challenges in the future, but it can improve productivity and camaraderie in the short term.
Offer Flexible Retirement Plans
These days, a growing number of professionals are opting to ease into retirement instead of diving in headfirst. This is great news for businesses, which can benefit from keeping facilities managers on as consultants or part-time employees. Phased retirement programs can be formal or informal, brief or extended agreements. Establish a system that works for your organization to avoid the knowledge gaps that occur when employees leave abruptly.
It doesn’t matter what methods you choose to employ; the key to retaining facilities management employees and their knowledge is being proactive in your efforts!
DENS Life Sciences technicians can provide your facility with a higher level of support, extending your FM team and providing insight gained during our years in Life Sciences facility services. Whether you're looking for Lab Support Operations, Technical Services, or Facility Services, our Life Sciences experts are ready to help.