Training and development in FM
Satinder Pal Singh spells out the importance of training in FM
Over the past 10 years, the UAE has experienced an increased growth in construction of hotels, office buildings, shopping malls and tourist attractions, and therefore the demand for facilities management has also increased.
Facilities management firms across the region have recognised that cost is a key driver in the delivery of the service, and the importance of training and development of their staff is a crucial factor in providing more sustainable, cost-effective and long-term solutions.
Training and development is the backbone of the FM industry. It is important to ensure that the staff is adequately educated in health and safety, hard and soft services and awareness of life safety equipment, procedures and government legislation.
To maintain organisational development in the UAE, FM firms are investing in enhancing skills and knowledge of employees.
Adequately trained competent personnel will improve the image of the company as well as the industry. But this comes at a cost: with the ever-increasing competitiveness in the current market and the end user driving down cost, training is difficult to budget.
The cost is a major challenge — investing in staff development might not be at the top of the agenda for businesses struggling to survive the current global financial crisis, but perhaps it should be.
Research shows that organisations which do not train and develop their staff are two-and-a-half-times more likely to fail than those that don’t. After all, it is competent, committed staff that enables companies to secure a competitive edge.
Facility providers mainly source their technical resources for the UAE market from countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
It is a challenge to bring so many cultures together under one umbrella and to get them to work to the local and international standards, as they are all from different backgrounds, qualifications and attitude.
Training is essential to every employee as it allows them to communicate with a wider range of people and end users. This helps improve the productivity and service, reducing breakdowns and reactive maintenance.
Trainers are available in the UAE but the full range of teaching required for the industry is difficult to obtain. The obvious gap that has evolved in bringing technicians, cleaners, supervisors and managers up-to-date with local health and safety legislation, understanding and awareness of rules and regulations is very difficult and expensive.
Perhaps the most positive benefit of investing in this aspect is getting better employees. A company develops the potential of a staff member, and part of the way improvement is encouraged is through this process. Often, good training is just as important as a good benefits package.
For employers, doing so allows them to locate a wider range of people with the kind of outlook that matches the business’ mission statement. The right kind of perspective is a hard thing to cultivate, whereas workplace specific proficiencies are easier to nurture.
The other advantage employers should bear in mind is that this process offers them an improved retention rate. Employees are more loyal to companies that value their growth and want to cultivate it, and provide a better performance and decrease the rollover rate at any organisation, no matter how small or large.
If an employee thinks a firm values him or her, that sentiment will go into whatever the organisation is designing, selling, or manufacturing.
However, the kind of training an employee receives is very important. Allowing a staff member to simply pass through a sort of substandard course does not ensure improvement.
Every single part of the management at a company must completely sustain the instructions. Otherwise, there is no point in wasting even a shoddy effort at training. Cheap efforts at doing so will result in cheap work quality.
This means spending a bit more money. Excellent drills emphasise a correlation between personal development and official evaluations, allowing an employee to discern that career growth and success means evolving expertise with training.
About the author
Satinder Pal Singh is general manager – operations for EFS Facilities Services