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.


What Does Facilities Management Have to do with Emotional Intelligence?!

Call It touchy-feely, call It new school, call It ridiculous, but don’t call It unnecessary: What is It?

It is Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is a required competency to work successfully in healthcare facilities. It may not have been even 5 years ago, but it is now.

So what is emotional intelligence? It’s defined as the ability to monitor your own and others’ emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use information to guide thinking and behavior. It is not reactive or emotional.

Healthcare, which provides a safe and healing haven for patients and their families during the most trying times of their life, is prone to feature emotional responses from those who step into a hospital. Emotional intelligence is the ballast needed for healthcare employees in this stressful environment. There are five elements to Emotional Intelligence:

  • Self-awareness
  • Motivation
  • Self-management
  • Social skills
  • Empathy

Increasingly, organizations are calling for and identifying emotional intelligence as a necessary tool needed in an employee’s personal toolbox. Whether you are a manager directing power plant employees or an HVAC technician who needs access to an occupied patient room to address a set-point issue, emotional intelligence is necessary for the thorny situations encountered.


What’s in a title?

Title: A title is a prefix or a suffix added to someone’s name in certain contexts. It may signify either veneration, an official position or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may be inserted before a last name; some titles are hereditary.  

Source: Wikipedia

We speak with scores of healthcare management professionals on a weekly basis. In doing so, we are able to decipher the latest healthcare industry trends.

During these conversations, we cover a wide variety of topics, from the personal to the professional, from locations they would most like to work to resume upgrades to child care issues they face about taking their next position. Each conversation brings a potpourri of candidate topics that are as unique as the person to whom we are speaking.

Lately, a new healthcare industry trend has emerged: The Changing Job Title. As healthcare organizations reinvent themselves, some are creating flat organizations: That is an organization that has few or no levels of middle management between staff and senior executives.

Resultantly, some professionals who have previously had the title of Director now find themselves reinvented, with little to no change in responsibility, as Managers. With the downward propagation, some Managers become Supervisors.

And yes, when a job title changes to a less sexy title that connotes decreased responsibility, a passionate response is evoked from the job holder: Job titles matter to the holder of the title and they matter to Human Resources departments when they review candidate credentials.


Where a title matters

Titles matter when you are attempting to take the next step in your career progression. If a job is posted as Director level, with Director level experience required, a resume showing a backward career progression from Director to Manager may be summarily dismissed with little to no review. If your job title does not match the scope or accountability of your position, it is incumbent upon you to convey the scope of your role. This conveyance can be difficult when a typical resume review takes less than 17 seconds to perform, but it is your challenge.

It is yet another reason to work with a recruiter specializing in healthcare facilities management. We will take the time to get to know you and your career progression, and can represent that to the healthcare HR departments we work with on a daily basis. So, we ask you, how important is your job title? Has your title been downsized without a corresponding reduction in responsibility and accountability? Give us a call to discuss this healthcare industry trend.


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