Don’t Forgo The Future: Facilities Management Succession Planning

April 11, 2012


The median age of facilities leaders keeps rising. Many of our colleagues have left the facility management field or soon plan to retire. As hospitals attempt to fill these vacated positions, it becomes increasingly evident that the number of available, qualified potential job candidates has thinned as well.

What can hospitals do to fill the gaps and maintain congruent, quality leadership? Organizations that fail to plan for the inevitable can be caught off guard by the resulting disruption within facilities management and plant operations. Avoid disaster and incorporate succession planning into your facility management plan.

Succession planning is the preemptive process of identifying key positions and implementing a program that ensures constant development of employees to fill the positions in order to minimize disruption. Best-in-class organizations have maintained their certification caliber by doing this for years.

If your health care organization has not already, make now the time to give succession planning top priority. Every health care leader from the CEO to the facilities manager faces two harsh realities in securing a high performing workforce in today’s economy:

  • Baby Boomer Retirement
  • Trained Labor Market Decline

To stay competitive, an organization must develop or improve a formal process of succession planning that includes the following fundamentals:

  • Identify key positions or roles for succession or replacement planning.
  • Define the competencies and motivational profile required for the identified positions.
  • Assess current employees against these criteria with an eye on their possible future roles.
  • Identify pools of talent that could potentially fill and perform strongly in key roles.
  • Prepare employees to transition into key roles, primarily through the right set of experiences.

These keys to success are necessary for any effective succession plan. The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) recognized this several years ago and enacted their own succession plan starting from the ground up.

ASHE realized that succession planning in facilities management was a growing issue. As a solution, they fostered a leadership development program designed to strengthen the diminishing talent pool. Working with a growing number of universities, ASHE developed a program that places student interns in volunteer hospitals to introduce the students to the field and supplement their education with real-world knowledge of health care facilities management. The desired result is that more graduates will choose hospital facilities management as a career. Additionally, ASHE is working to interest universities in health care facilities management courses as an addition to existing curriculums for a graduate career path. The program is growing, but it will take time to potentially fill the void. Even with programs such as this developing, the current talent gap remains large and justifies hospitals to focus more heavily on formal succession planning for facilities management.

Plans like the one ASHE put into play demonstrate great insight into the future of facility management. For additional insights regarding developing effective succession planning procedures or to discuss a customized plan for your facility, contact Vanguard Resources’ facility management experts directly.