Handling facilities management staffing as a facility manager is a career choice that has many perks but also many responsibilities. When a facility is not properly staffed, or is “short-staffed,” the entire building and operations of the building suffers from maintenance problems.
Let’s take a hospital for an example. Under staffing, or short-staffed facilities leaves the door open for patient neglect, stressed workers, error, and perhaps worse: abuse. It’s been documented that many nursing homes in the United States suffer from this issue.
According to Nursinghomeabuseguide.org, a staggering 90 percent of nursing homes are understaffed. Nursing home neglect has resulted in patients’ hygiene not being properly tended to — this includes grooming, changing of clothes, bathing, oral hygiene, and other basic physical needs. The negligence of physical needs also results in such things as patients developing bed sores from being left in a sedentary position for too long, and pressure sores.
There have also been reported cases of feeding negligence where nursing home patients are not regularly provided food and water, and in worse cases, medication.
When there’s an issue of understaffing in schools, classrooms are generally overfilled with students, which leads to students not receiving the proper attention needed to learn productively. In 2016, a lawsuit was filed alleging that an 8th-grade math teacher walked away from a school in Detroit over the overcrowded conditions and alleged lack of support, and upon leaving one of the 8th-grade students begin to teach the class instead. It’s the overcrowding in classrooms that oftentimes adds the fuel to the flames of teacher strikes, and school conditions only become worse.
The examples above merely highlight some of the catastrophes that can occur when an adequate facility manager is not in place to provide needed staff.
Facing Challenges of Management Staffing
According to a 2015 survey done by Health Facilities Management magazine, 44 percent of surveyed businesses admitted to not having a succession plan in place to replace staff that moves on from their position. In other words, there’s no grooming for the next key players for their facility operations.
For anyone considering a career as a facility manager, one key thing is to plan for the future. This includes training skilled workers to fill positions, if possible, immediately after a turnover. This job can be outsourced to a staffing agency for quicker results. A good staffing agency has all the resources at their disposal to vet and quickly supply qualified workers to fulfill staffing roles at your facility. This will save you time and money in the long haul.
Another thing that’s smart for a facility manager to do to avoid understaffed conditions is to keep a tab of positions that are needed or unfulfilled, and prepare to present it when your company’s budget cycle comes around. Oftentimes, under staffing is due to budget constraints. If you build your case early, on the absolute importance of having a certain number of staffing available, it’ll better position the company to plan ahead financially so that need can be met.