Creating a secure learning environment for students should be the overarching goal of any educational institution. This can be ensured, in part with good quality security systems and infrastructure. What plays an even bigger role, however, is the staff employed at schools.
Specifically, in the case of facility management, the staff deployed should not only be technically capable at their jobs but should also hail from a secure background. It is important to remain aware that the employees walking in every day are all potential risks to human security, electronic information and your institute’s reputation.
How much time and resources should you invest in hiring your facility management staff? They are indeed responsible for making day-day decisions for your building maintenance and also bring their own expertise to your institution. Their support is often what determines whether facilities are run efficiently and safely.
Most importantly, these staff members work amongst children, teaching staff, and other employees every single day. True for any business, risk prevention is always cheaper than damage control. Thus, hiring the right person for an FM job is equally important
Today, hiring and screening new employees involves many crucial steps, ones which are aimed at creating more secure educational institutions. Let’s take a closer look at these-
The evolution of hiring
Hiring has now become a multi-dimensional process. Recruiting employees for different facets of facility management has changed significantly over the years. Until a few decades back, maintenance work was simply categorized as “basic labour.”
Today, thanks to the integration of softwares in facility management, recruits must now be capable of handling a computer system and at times, skilled in basic coding too. For instance, heating and cooling systems in a boiler room are now operated via software, which recruits need to be well-versed with, in order to work in such spaces.
Setting the right employee expectations
A job description is central to the hiring process as it sets out the skills and knowledge required by an individual to integrate into their role. It must include a list of formal duties and responsibilities, physical requirements and working conditions.
In order to include a background check at the recruitment stage itself, job descriptions today also include educational requirements, equipment knowledge, credentials and licensure. More importantly, this sets clear expectations between the employer and a potential employee.
Today, companies look beyond just skills when they hire new people. Facility managers in schools must be cognizant of the kind of people they are bringing into their teams. They typically hire across a vast range of roles, such as security guards, cleaning staff, technical workforce, and nannies.
These staff members must respect the institution of the school and be committed to the safety and security of school children and teachers. Therefore, the extra time and training that is now provided to newly recruited team members ultimately pays off.
A thorough review of references
Any applicant who is interested in joining an integrated facility management company must provide reliable references as part of their applications. This includes verification from those who have worked with the individual at their previous job and their previous employer. References provide a valuable second-person viewpoint on all the information that the applicant has included in their resume and interview. Each reference must be reviewed thoroughly before proceeding toward the next step in the hiring process.
A few applicants also choose to providecharacter references. These basically vouch for their interpersonal skills, their overall character and personality traits. People who have known the applicant for a long period of time and have interacted plenty are usually good choices for character references.
If an applicant’s professional and character references are both favourable, it naturally increases their chances of being selected. In other words, references are often a holistic representation of an individual and must be considered with care during the hiring process.
Going beyond a basic background check
As mentioned earlier, the thorough cross-checking of references goes a long way in the hiring process. However, in the case of people who are going to be working around children, it is extremely important that their criminal records are verified.
In case any potential employee has been convicted of a criminal offence in the past, then significant proof must be obtained regarding the clearing of their charges and the year the crime took place.
It also helps to periodically update these records even after someone has been hired. The school has every right to ask for regularly updated criminal records for their supporting staff members and it is the facility management company’s job to keep tabs on their immediate staff to provide this information.
Other important areas of employee verification include drug testing, address verifications and employment history.
Celebrating your staff
Once hiring is wrapped up successfully, it is important to ensure that the employees who have been brought into the company continue to stay on. Since facility management is so heavily team-driven, it is often demotivating to not receive the recognition one would like, as an individual employee. Staff members make an immense contribution to the efficient functioning of an entire school campus.
For this reason alone, they must be celebrated. Their efforts can be rewarded through employee recognition programmes. Members can be compensated in monetary terms, in the form of a yearly or quarterly bonus. They can also be given thoughtful gifts like flower bouquets, candles, and special books.
Such gestures create a lasting and positive employee-company relationship, and can ultimately help create better retention rates within the facility management company. Ultimately, this also ensures good quality of staffing in educational institutions and reliable members who choose to stay on with the school for years.