In today’s competitive hiring climate, health care facilities professionals require an intentional, proactive strategy to gain an edge over other industries when recruiting quality technicians. To avoid losing talent, hospital facilities managers also must develop a clear, objective career path for each trade that empowers employees to grow their respective skill sets and reach career goals.

Facilities leaders should regularly review and update their department’s job descriptions, similar to their management plan review process. By updating outdated, inconsistent job descriptions with newly defined competencies and minimum required skill sets, both new hires and existing employees clearly understand what is expected of them. This, in turn, removes the guesswork from specific assignments for each trade, leading to less division and more collaboration. 

In addition to consistent competencies, other considerations could include lowering the job qualifications for certain trades so that a high school diploma is no longer required for painters, maintenance mechanics and plant operators. This decision opens opportunities for new hires with quality experience gained from construction experience or family-owned businesses. Another consideration is the inclusion of “other duties as assigned” in all job descriptions. This decision not only establishes expectations for technicians to be flexible during emergencies or when short-staffed, but it also engenders a patient-centric culture within the organization. 

When initially updating existing job descriptions, health care facilities leaders should meet with their front-line staff to fully understand their everyday activities and identify inconsistencies with their written job descriptions. 

Leaders should also create a model that supports career growth at every level of the organization. A tiered general maintenance model for roles (e.g., tech 1-4) is an effective and proven method for creating this growth potential. 

It’s also important to standardize competencies across the department by using the same language and format. Competencies should be detailed enough that they can be trained, demonstrated and verified. Good industry practice is to include between eight and 15 detailed competencies per job description.

Although the initial review and revision process can be time-intensive, it’s worth the effort to thoughtfully craft contemporary job descriptions. They are the framework to close the workforce gap through targeted recruitment and retention.