A maintenance labor shortage impacts everyone. Construction of new offices, manufacturing plants, and retail stores hasn’t slowed down, but organizations are struggling to find skilled workers to maintain those projects.
The average maintenance professional is nearing retirement age, and by 2026, a quarter of the US labor force will be beyond 55 years old. Not many young people view the field as a viable career today, and thus, a skilled labor gap leaves many of these roles empty.
In this situation, it’s critical to not only support veteran employees in any age-related challenges they might face, but also prepare a knowledge transfer plan so that their valuable skills are passed onto a new generation of technicians. Include the following information in that plan to ensure your institutional maintenance expertise will carry on and improve over time.
What should a transition plan include?
A job transition plan offers details to develop training for newer maintenance personnel so they can hit the ground running. You may decide to add role-specific information, but the aspects listed below are vital to an effective transition.
Use our job transition plan template to onboard new maintenance technicians using accurate and consistent roles, job responsibilities, and important tasks. You can also download the Excel template below, and add your own information as you continue reading.
Summary of role and responsibilities
It’s important to start off with a clear definition of the position and summary of responsibilities written by the new hire’s manager and/or supervisor. This way, everyone responsible for the success of this role has a single description for reference.
Also, a simple breakdown of the key tasks for the new hire to complete by the end of the first week and first month streamlines the onboarding process.
Regular and recurring duties
This section should include a comprehensive list of duties that this particular role is responsible for on a daily basis, but also necessary tasks occurring weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. This gives the new hire a way to visually map out their calendars and immediately jump into the schedule.
Existing projects and deadlines
Here you will drop in projects that are already in progress or soon to kick off. Make sure to inform your new hire of the process you followed to get to the current stage of the project so they can pick up where the outgoing technician left off.
Key people and important documents
Finally, you must include a list of the key employees and peers this new technician will work with, starting with their direct supervisor and continuing the list prioritized by the people they will work alongside the most frequently. Also, be sure to include names and reference codes for important documents to maintain, such as work request forms, checklists for common tasks, or health and safety reports.
What is institutional knowledge vs. tribal knowledge?
Institutional knowledge is the collective procedures, expertise, and values of every employee who has contributed to the shared knowledge of an organization or department.
Conversely, tribal knowledge is any unwritten rules, tips, or best practices within an organization that isn’t widely shared with others. Capturing, reviewing, and codifying this undocumented information before veteran workers leave your maintenance team improves your efficiency over time.
Collect this knowledge from seasoned workers by:
Identifying and engaging those with tribal knowledge. Individually meet with your veteran workers, especially those who express intent to retire. These workers can often be protective of their knowledge, so tactfully explain how their experience can help drive efficiency and innovation for the entire company and record their best practices.
Carefully scrutinizing collected knowledge. Not all tribal knowledge is effective or safe. It’s important to capture it, but critical to vet it for shortcuts workers have utilized that could lead to problems.
Documenting, testing, and sharing institutional knowledge. You must test any tips veteran workers describe, even if it sounds reasonable and effective on the surface. Just like failure analysis, any small action on a piece of equipment can have unexpected and detrimental effects.
How do you transition jobs smoothly in maintenance?
If you don’t capture the information before experienced technicians retire, potentially valuable knowledge is gone for good. With this template and some meetings with your technicians, you have everything you need to grow your organization’s expertise and effectively onboard new hires.
You can easily disseminate this information to all your technicians by:
- Uploading the job transition plan to a web-based maintenance system (CMMS) so techs can view it consistently.
- Offering your techs a buy-in for 5 technologies that boost maintenance efficiency.
But maybe you simply need a work order system—streamline your CMMS selection process by browsing the top maintenance software products and real user reviews. If you need help figuring out which system would best fit your needs, schedule a quick call with our advisor team here, so we can help you find the best software solution for your business.