Inspiring Students to Fill the FM Gap



Summary:

On this episode of FM Evolution, hosts Shawn Black and Randy Olson sit down with Jim Zirbel, a chairman at FM Pipeline Team, Inc., an organization that aims to engage, enlighten, and energize the next generation of facility management professionals. Jim's focus is on organizational governance and policy implementation as the FM Pipeline program grows across the United States. Throughout the episode, Shawn, Randy, and Jim discuss the program FM Pipeline offers and the talent gap in the FM industry.

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Shownotes:

(1:02) Introduction to Jim

(8:13) Feedback on the FM Talent Gap

(12:05) Solution to the FM Talent Gap

(23:41) Process of Becoming an FM Professional

(26:50) How FM Professionals Are Giving Back

(29:15) Closing Thoughts

Links:

Shawn Black

Randy Olson

Jim Zirbel

FM Pipeline

Quotes:

“The organizations that invest in their people and provide professional development are where they want to be. They want to grow. They want to be better at what they do. They want to gain confidence. They want to gain credibility.” - Randy Olson, (9:49)

“I would contend that a high number of FM professionals that are looking at different careers, jobs, or employers are looking for organizations that value them. That helps train them. That helps keep them current.” - Jim Zirbel, (13:26)

“Our program is a scaled solution and we ran into the problem in the high school space of if we’re going to create something that populates these further programs, we better have something that is solid.” - Jim Zirbel, (15:49)

“This program encompasses everything the facility manager needs to do on a daily basis across all the technical and functional skills. And then the soft skills, those communication skills, innovation skills, the ability to collaborate, and sustainability.” - Randy Olson, (24:23)


Inspiring Student to Fill the FM Talent Gap

On this episode of FM Evolution, hosts Shawn Black and Randy Olson sit down with Jim Zirbel, a chairman at FM Pipeline Team, Inc., an organization that aims to engage, enlighten, and energize the next generation of facility management professionals. Jim's focus is on organizational governance and policy implementation as the FM Pipeline program grows across the United States. Throughout the episode, Shawn, Randy, and Jim discuss the program FM Pipeline offers and the talent gap in the FM industry.

The Importance of Professional Development Opportunities

During the pandemic, the FM profession lost a substantial amount of qualified employees with years of experience and expertise. A resounding factor in this mass exodus was that a large number of individuals retired during that time. As a result, fifty-four percent of FM employers are expecting to have open positions this year, and sixty-six percent of people currently working in the FM profession are looking for a different job.

“The organizations that invest in their people and provide professional development are where they want to be. They want to grow. They want to be better at what they do. They want to gain confidence. They want to gain credibility.” - Randy Olson, (9:49)

This leaves FM leaders with the task of finding competent individuals to replace those that have left. Two ways FM leaders can accomplish this is by providing professional development opportunities for newly hired employees or by hiring individuals who have completed training programs that have exposed them to real-world experiences. However, both of these solutions depend on there being resources available that allow FM professionals to stay up-to-date on global industry standards and practices.

“I would contend that a high number of FM professionals that are looking at different careers, jobs, or employers are looking for organizations that value them. That helps train them. That helps keep them current.” - Jim Zirbel, (13:26)

Improving the FM Industry One Student at a Time

If the FM industry doesn’t find ways to continuously develop its already existing professionals, along with training incoming professionals, the industry will be stuck in a revolving talent gap door. The solution to this is to create a program that recruits from student bodies as young as grade school. This is because it’s easier to start training industry professionals early rather than them entering pipelines as adults and obtaining certifications after they’ve already been in the industry.

“Our program is a scaled solution and we ran into the problem in the high school space of if we’re going to create something that populates these further programs, we better have something that is solid.” - Jim Zirbel, (15:49)

The best way for programs to succeed is by building industry partnerships so that students can graduate to become employees and then keep developing into lifelong learners. There will always be a next step when it comes to FM professionals continuing their education, no matter how long they’ve been in the industry.

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