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What do FMs want in 2021? The FM Evolution podcast has answers

By Brianna Crandall

In this week’s episode of the FM Evolution podcast, the most recent within the ProFM series, Randy Olson of ProFM and Eileen McMorrow of The McMorrow Reports join host Shawn Black to dive into the 2021 training outlook survey results.

With the drastic changes in the world from 2019 to 2021, the types of questions and feedback from this year’s training outlook survey will significantly impact the future of facilities management (FM), says ProFM, and will inform those on the journalism or conference side as to what is essential to the FM members.

What’s in the data?

The respondents manage staff across 23 countries. Buildings represented include: commercial, government, healthcare, schools, hospitality, retail and industrial manufacturing.

“FM is an aging workforce, and we need to find younger individuals and get them into these great careers.” — Randy Olson

Generationally, the older FM members work hard to mentor and bring the younger generation under their wing. With the desire to leave their profession with a good team and still retire before 75, the older generation sees the demand for FM employees and are taking responsibility, finds the survey.

Skills desired by FM members in 2021

Clear communication is key for the FM world adjustment in the past year. Whether it be on the topic of an in-person work environment, to remote, to hybrid, or addressing expectations of behavior and goal engagement, clear communication is the only way to move your business forward successfully, say the respondents.

The survey revealed that FMs rank capital planning and compliance standards as their top priority for training themselves. With workspace standards changing every day, they have to know what is most cost-effective, the best organizational strategy, or even how to get their team to bond.

Despite the pandemic, leadership, strategic planning and emergency management all scored high as skills FMs wanted to grow in — for example, learning how to speak FM language that translates to both the business, real estate and financial managers.

Stats on FM training

A full 91% of FM staff expressed the need for more training, up 12% from the 2019 survey. That same percentage showed up as facility managers agree there is a gap between them and their staff in skills needed to provide excellent service to their constituencies. Training should close the gap that keeps companies from hiring effective and efficient FMs.

“For every dollar invested [in training], the return is anywhere from $5 to $15.” (35:41) — Randy Olson

Why invest in your team?

The fear of investing in someone who may leave is real, but that is the risk some of the best companies take. Along with that, the accessibility to online training takes out many of the usual barriers of time and money. Besides gaining skills, encouraging good training communicates that the staff is valued and vital to the company.

The pandemic sent the workplace evolution into hyper-drive, highlighting skill gaps that were not relevant 15 months ago. Everyone is playing catch-up, and training your team in the new normal for things such as cybersecurity, compliance regulations and emergency preparedness is the only way forward, says ProFM.

“Don’t be passive. There’s always more to do in FM… The survey shows that not everybody can know everything. You can pick an area every couple of months and say, I’m going to get better at this part of FM.” (48:53) — Eileen McMorrow

This episode of FM Evolution is brought to you by ProFM. How do your FM skills measure up to the global standard? Try ProFM’s free Map Your Gap self-assessment and check out the ProFM credential course.