How important are goals? Not general goals, like do more or spend less, but specific, numerical targets? That question occurred to me because Building Operating Management’s recent training-budget survey asked facility managers if they had goals for the number of hours that managers and supervisors receive each year. Only 25 percent said they had goals. Which made me wonder, do goals really matter?
The answer, based on the survey, is a qualified yes.
Goals don’t assure facility managers of larger training budgets or do much to protect those budgets from cuts, though on both counts departments with goals do a little better than those without targets, according to the survey.
But training programs with goals seem to produce better results, with 5 to 10 percent more of those departments reporting training-related gains in safety (83 percent of departments with goals versus 78 percent without), facility staff productivity (67 percent versus 56 percent), and cost reduction (62 percent versus 53 percent). Added gains seem to come from extra effort, not extra cash. Departments with goals get more training from vendors and in-house sources, and use online training much more.
Perhaps it isn’t surprising that facility managers with goals generally report having enough training dollars to meet their needs, even though they don’t have much more money for education. But among the departments with goals that don’t have enough money, a higher percentage report that the shortfall has a significant impact, compared to departments without targets.
I suppose it’s no shock that goals matter. After all, it’s easier to hit a target you’re aiming at. Goals offer a structured approach to education that gives facility managers one more way to get an edge.