The Facility Pro’s Toolbox
We care about your healthcare career.
And because we work daily in healthcare facilities management and healthcare facilities management only, we want to pass along some recommendations that can help you navigate these turbulent healthcare times.
Here’s our first: Take inventory of and develop the tools in your personal toolbox. Not the toolbox that contains screwdrivers and drill bits and wrenches, but the one that is internal to you. The one that holds your soft skill competencies, or your ability to speak, listen, communicate, write, and collaborate. Your next healthcare hiring opportunity may be contingent on honing these skills.
A trusted and reliable professional partner, not a cost center, is necessary for 2020 success. As you consider your toolbox, view filling it through a particular lens framed by external forces:
- Your organization
- The job market
- Your career aspirations
It’s rough out there
These are challenging times to work in healthcare facilities.
No matter your role, you are likely beyond maxed out, and you probably have little time to think about big-picture items related to your career and your organization. It’s an unfortunate reality of healthcare facilities. Employees work harder than ever, with fewer resources available, while under pressure to work well and quickly.
What’s lost as professionals work longer hours with little downtime? The ability to strategically consider your career.
To develop your toolbox, consider your organization and your role in it. Whether you are a director, manager, supervisor, or tradesperson, you will benefit by answering the questions below. Get comfortable and find a quiet space, then answer these three questions:
Q1: What does my organization value in facilities?
Empty your mind and write down what you believe is vital to the organization. All thoughts are valid. Use a notebook as you brainstorm, not a computer: Notebooks help connect random thoughts from your brain to your paper. Determine what you believe the organization values and perform a self-assessment to understand if your skillset and values are suited to the organization.
Organizations change. You do, too. What you value and what the organization values may be at odds. Values are an essential but often overlooked career component. They are not a touchy-feely concept. They are a real component of how you work and the environment in which you will work well. Assess if your personal and organizational values align.
After answering this single question, you may find it is time for you to seek a new employer.
Q2: What would facility customers say about the department?
Losing the big picture in the chaos of day-to-day operations is easy. It is easy to forget that Facilities exist to provide a healing environment for patients, a mission-critical service that results in safe and effective care for patients and families.
There are many prospective questions and answers to consider about the department:
- Are we the problem-solvers?
- Do we exist down there, with there being the basement?
- Are facilities a respected partner that creates value?
- Are we a cost center that the C-Level cuts money from first?
- Do issues swim on in facilities, a bottomless abyss where problems are never solved?
Answer these questions honestly. After you do, take your brainstorming output on the road and ask trusted hospital customers what images come to mind when they think of the facility department.
Hopefully, the department has effectively articulated its value to the larger organization. If your department is like most facilities departments, we suspect its importance has not been articulated to others, a realization you may find as you speak to hospital customers.
Q3: Do I know what my manager expects of me?
It’s essential to ask this question last. The answers to your first two questions will play a role in framing expectations, and perhaps unlock new thoughts concerning your relationship with your manager.
Recently I spoke with an employee who has not had a face-to-face performance appraisal in more than 20 months. That’s troubling. Employees and managers must have aligned expectations for effective job performance. Without this foundation of understanding, employee dissatisfaction, disengagement, and departure will occur.
With the pace of healthcare change, aligning expectations and values should be a yearly exercise between employees and managers, independent of the Performance Appraisal Process. Level Set so that expectations are understood, clear, and in support of organizational and career goals.
For more on Level Setting, please see https://gosselin-associates.com/education/beyond-competency-curriculum/