From recognition gap to the insufficient skilled facilities managers and other professionals needed for effective solutions delivery, players in the Nigerian Facilities Management industry cannot continue to wait for the formal institutions of learning to produce professionals through undergraduate courses. The industry is thirsting for skilled Facilities Managers. The supply remains low to the demand every year. This has been the main reason for companies in the industry to create FM Training as part of their solutions.
In the last 5 years, Alpha Mead and Max-Migold have been the vanguards for FM training deepening in the country, supplying required skilled practitioners to other companies within and outside the industry. Since June, 2019, the two companies have been engaging the public, especially existing and prospective FM professionals on the need to acquire necessary skills and learn the emerging ones based on the global best practices.
This piece offers insights from the data generated from the companies’ engagement with the prospects between July 1 and August 12, 2019. During this period, 58 posts and 115 reviews from the trainees were analysed. The emerging insights point out appropriate marketing practices considering the prospects’ emotions and cultural norms. This line of argument was chosen because of the need to properly communicate the benefits of varied FM courses to individual and organisational buyers.
Strategic Intents and Message Construction
The two companies’ strategic statements indicate that they came into existence because of the need to engage the right people, to apply the right processes and to deliver value to users and other stakeholders in the built environment. When this was subjected to emotional analysis, the result indicates that the companies are more confident in their vision and mission statements than being happy about their intents. One of the reasons which could be adduced for the low happiness is the expected level of commitment to the clients’ cause and societal growth. This is equally anticipated to reflect in the communication engagement to various stakeholders.
Like other FM solutions, communicating or marketing requires an understanding of the prospects’ respect for authorities, believe in experts, seeing the benefits or values in courses being sold by the companies and the end results of being equipped with the courses for the industry growth. This is captured under the PCI Index. Another index is MLO. With this Index, the companies are expected to develop messages that resonate with the individual and corporate desire to be the best and have reasons to connect with their previous activities along the learning or skill acquisition curve.
Career growth, valuable skills acquisition, and valuable skills and knowledge offering are used mostly within MLO Index, personal benefits, authority-in-content, competent facilitators are better than others within the PCI Index. These insights have many implications for the companies and the industry.
While the prioritisation of career growth, valuable skills acquisition and valuable skills and knowledge offering are good, it is instructive to note that low interest in creating and disseminating contents that establish improved corporate performance and new opportunities for the trainees would facilitate perception of the FM training as insipid for operational efficiency and job opportunities expansion. The low interest in connecting training of the prospects with the industry growth has indicated that overcoming the recognition gap would remain take years to subdue.
What Happens When They Cross the Line?
As pointed out earlier, communicating the FM Training and its benefits is best understood within the companies’ strategic statements. Modelling of the statements with the specific consideration of emotional appeals and language tone employed by the marketers shows that the statements reduced the PCI Index by 3.5%. A similar result was obtained for the MLO Index. A 6.8% reduction was found. These indicate that marketers did not develop sufficient messages that resonated with the statements during the period.
Post-Training Behaviour: What is in it? What is at Stake?
It is a norm that trainees would express their feelings about the course contents, facilitators and learning environment. With this belief, analysis was conducted using reviews collected from the two companies’ Google Business Pages, the results indicate that the level of happiness of the participants connected with content quality and competent facilitators, and confident about their views on the enablement than the good facilities and learning environment, and delivery strategy. Analysis further suggests that the trainees had a different confidence level in satisfaction enablement. In this regard, trainees’ confidence in content quality, competent facilitators, good facilities and learning environment and delivery strategy differed. The highest confidence level was 99%, while 55% was the lowest.
Despite this, analysis reveals that the trainees were not comfortable with their satisfaction within the PCI Index. A 27.2% reduction was found in their evaluation of the indicators within the Index. This is quite different from what was obtained for the MLO Index. The higher they perceived career growth, valuable skills acquisition and offering of the right skills and knowledge as benefits, the more they rated the enablers –content quality, competent facilitators, good facilities and learning environment and delivery strategy. With these insights, the companies need to train the marketers on PCI and MLO Content Generation and Marketing Strategy towards the attainment of their mission through the training solution.