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Taking on More – A guide to growing your Maintenance Department professionally

In a previous article, “Understanding your Internal Strength and Potential”, you were given a few of my thoughts on what you might do to see the strengths of your maintenance staff. Once you know the talent and ability of each of your assets (staff), there are a few more exercises that you will need to do. First, take the talents and list them out, not by individual, but as a total team. Second, make a list of areas that are weak or non-existent in regards to in-house maintenance required to maintain your facility. Third, determine if you are going to train your staff or utilize a contractor. There are additional steps that need to be taken after these, but that will be another article.

First Step – Listing out the talents of your staff

Talents are what an individual already has as a natural ability. These are things that can be honed to bring accuracy to a task or action. You always hear in sports that an athlete has a “Raw Talent”. That could make him one of the best at his position if he works on it. It is harder to see talents in your staff if you just focus on what they have done while working at your site.

Realize that talents don’t line up exactly with tasks needing to be accomplished. An example might be an employee’s talent with wood working (carpentry) and a “carpentry project” replacing an exterior section of stud wall to install a window and door. Carpentry usually refers to working with wood to make something. A wall installation has numerous items that are not carpentry, but fall into other trades. Just a few are: Electrical, door/window installation, Drywall, weatherproofing, exterior finish and painting. Don’t expect someone that has a few of the talents to perform as if they have all the experience needed. As you make the list, you may have the talents needed for a project, but only by utilizing 6 different staff members. It may be a task that only 2 would typically be assigned to do. As you look at the talents, they should be specific to what level of expertise the individuals have. Example: Changing out a light switch is not the same as a new electrical installation of a light and switch. Do not overestimate the ability, confidence or experience of your workers, because that could set them up for failure. The compilation of the talents within your maintenance staff may take a while to finalize, but accuracy of the abilities is the key. It will provide the direction between your in-house staff or an outside contractor for the work.

Second Step - Weak or non-existent areas

Areas that are weak or non-existent are usually found by visual inspection of work, feedback from internal customers (staff, residents, visitors, management, etc.) or the amount of contracted services you utilize. Add all of these up and you will have a good list to start with.

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