Checklist: how to build the best facilities management team

10 steps to help you recruit and retain the right staff for your facility

In the critical environment of a data center, a strong facilities management team can be the difference between operating smoothly and experiencing disruptive outages and service interruptions. These 10 steps can help you recruit and retain the right team for your facility’s needs:

1. Establish clear, detailed job descriptions for each job role on the FM team.

Each member of your facilities management (FM) team will have distinct responsibilities in the data center. For example, direct managers need to understand how to manage critical environments and the individuals who work there, whereas operational engineers must have in-depth knowledge of the data center’s equipment and how to operate it properly.

2. Determine required certifications for each role where applicable.

For each role on your FM team, determine whether it’s useful or necessary to require that employees obtain certifications before or after joining the organization. Depending on where your data center is located, local certification requirements may vary. 

3. Define criteria for evaluating candidate credentials and soft skills. 

In critical environments, minimizing risk is a top priority. When evaluating candidates’ experience and credentials, consider how their qualifications speak to their ability to manage risk. You may also want to prioritize candidates who demonstrate prior experience with or interest in data centers and other critical environments and who display a strong ability to learn. 

4. Tap into existing pools of qualified candidates.

Some backgrounds lend themselves particularly well to working in a data center. Military veterans, especially those who have served in the Nuclear Navy, make great candidates for FM teams. Keep in mind that receptivity to training and the ability to learn is more important than advanced degrees or other academic credentials in this setting. 

5. Build facility management career paths that provide opportunities for advancement.

In a highly competitive labor market, any employer needs to demonstrate opportunities for employees to grow and advance in their careers—and data centers are no exception. To attract and retain qualified team members, make sure that each role on your facility management team offers a path for growth and advancement. 

6. Conduct a skills assessment for each new team member.

In addition to verifying that team members possess the knowledge and skills they need to do their jobs, a comprehensive skills assessment can reveal whether they’ll need any immediate upskilling to perform their role and what kind of training they’ll need to succeed in the long term. 

7. Create a robust training plan for each job role.

Even employees with previous experience in data centers need to learn new skills according to your facility’s unique needs and grow in their roles. Data centers should establish a detailed training plan for each individual. They may also want to appoint a training manager to ensure that each team member receives the needed training. Alternatively, a qualified FM partner can provide training plans and platforms. 

8. Provide ongoing training and upskilling by role.

Data center FM team members should receive ongoing training according to the training plans for their roles. Training programs can be managed in-house by designated data center staff members or by an external FM partner with demonstrated expertise in data centers. 

9. Leverage technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) to enhance the recruiting and training processes.

Advancements in technology offer exciting developments for data center FM teams. As AI technology improves, data centers can use it to evaluate applicants and identify qualified candidates more effectively and efficiently. In addition, VR and augmented reality (AR) introduce new possibilities for highly interactive, robust training experiences. 

10. Consider an FM partnership to gain access to a qualified team.

Recruiting and training qualified individuals to operate your data center can be challenging and time-consuming. A knowledgeable, experienced FM partner can take the recruiting process off your plate by staffing your data centers with qualified FM teams. Additionally, the strongest partners have robust training programs and may invest in apprenticeship programs and college partnerships to grow the pipeline of qualified candidates.

Data center staffing is highly specialized and essential to keeping critical environments running smoothly. Whether you elect to tackle staffing internally or work with a partner who can deliver qualified candidates and manage robust training programs, these ten steps can help data centers recruit and retain the right FM teams to support their operations.

To learn more about finding a valuable FM partner for your data center, click here