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It’s good to have expertise – understanding recruitment in the cleaning and FM business

morna-Metzger-Recruitment--high-res235Morna Metzger of Metzger Search & Selection shares insights on how easy it is for the employer and the employee to be ill-matched due to lack of data and analysis during the recruitment process.

Seeing the wood for the trees
There’s nothing like having an expert on the team, and that includes having seasoned know-how on your side when recruiting. Finding individuals for management appointments within cleaning and FM businesses is challenging at best. Curriculum vitaes (CVs) are frequently misleading or open to misinterpretation, something that a skilled consultant will clarify prior to interview. In turn, an employer’s job specification can be prescriptive giving little insight into the business, its culture and positioning. The end results may not be so promising: an employee finding themselves, in practice, in a role that bears little resemblance to the job specification. Furthermore, the employers may also find that the candidate is not compatible with their business culture, in other words, the chemistry isn’t right.

A skilled recruitment consultant, with sector expertise mitigates these pitfalls. They ensure that your business sets out the job specification factually and accurately, and can assess candidates and their CVs analytically, saving both time and money. They will match the skills and experience of candidates to the job specification, but also establish the candidate’s motivation for seeking a new job. A recruiter can also match the personality and characteristics of the candidates to the nature of the business.

Bridging the gap
‘Poaching’ a skilled manager from a competitor is not always the best route to finding the right candidate for the job. At Metzger, after years of experience, we have diversified our methods, ranging from database searches to looking at completely different sectors to find that one talented individual that is sought. For us, the process starts by identifying the precise skill set that your job specification requires and the range of broader experience needed on our meticulously researched database. We know from experience that it is quite common for a person with leadership skills, who has managed a team of people using (for example) advanced communications techniques, to be an entirely suitable candidate for a role in a totally different industry with similar requirements. We can often find the technical knowledge and people skills necessary for an FM manager in someone who has been an army officer, or a senior manager in telecommunications, for example.

This approach, where we ‘bridge the gap’ between one industry or discipline and another often results in a successful mixture of skills and perspectives that enhance the fulfilment of the role on offer. The ideal shortlist could easily be composed of conventionally sourced candidates from rival organisations and people identified on our database through the above mentioned technique. However, none of this works without a solid foundation of research and acquisition of pertinent and detailed data.

Background knowledge
Many businesses and organisations use contractors to deliver cleaning and/or Facilities Management services. If the executive you seek will be required to oversee contractors, he or she will need to be knowledgeable about employment law and about the legal distinctions between contractors and sub-contractors when amending contracts or terms.

If your business has an HR (human resources) department, then such legal aspects are likely to be handled by them. If not, then candidates may well need to understand employment rights and the issues that arise when your organisation undertakes a maintenance or cleaning contract.

If there is a planned acquisition by a cleaning or FM contractor of the organisation’s existing cleaning or FM staff, then you need to find a candidate with knowledge of and experience with the TUPE regulations (Transfer of Undertaking -Protection of Employment –  Regulations 2006). TUPE governs what ensues when an organisation decides to outsource its FM or cleaning (or any other service formerly carried out by employees). The employees who formerly carried out the tasks being outsourced must be transferred to the contractor with no loss of remuneration or employment rights. However, this is a simplified explanation and the practical execution can present complications that the new manager must be able to understand and apply successfully.

Benefits to existing staff
Existing managers and team members with extensive experience of the organisation’s operations will know the abilities, qualifications and experience that the business needs to find in a candidate for a key role. There’s no reason not to ask for their input in providing valuable insights; it could be that one or more of them should be considered as candidates for the job as well. Being part of the pre-selection process and defining the job specification is not only good experience for your existing team but it will give them added reassurance that they are valued in the business.

However, it is also important to have an independent expert eye involved in the candidate search. The role of a skilled recruitment consultant is knowing enough to identify the issues that could arise for whomever is appointed to a post, and to find candidates capable of guiding the organisation through those issues.

There are several executive search organisations in the market, each of which has a degree of specialisation in one area of industry or another. It is for you to decide which to approach to help you find the candidates that your business or organisation needs for its next stage of growth and development.


About Sarah OBeirne

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