Creating a plan for training is often an exercise in reverse engineering. This begins with the vision of the finished product and then slowly and methodically breaking it down to its key components. Once the vision is locked in, the true planning can begin.

Case Study:
Nexstar Network holds a conference once a year called Supermeeting. This is an event where speakers come to educate members in various aspects of their business. The crowd of members can easily number between 800 to 1,000 participants in addition to staff attending.
Would you be surprised to learn that the entire event, even the days leading up to the event, are planned to the minute? This plan is known as the Timing and Action Plan. It breaks out all the tasks and actions required and allocates resources (Nexstar Staff) to the right place at the right time. The end result is a one of a kind event for the members attending.

The “Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How” of Training

Who Will Train

Every ship needs a captain; Who’s yours? Any training initiative needs someone that will own and oversee the process and progress of the training. Who in your organization has the ability to explain things and has the patience to work with inexperienced apprentices? Would it make sense to make this a team exercise and leverage experienced technicians? Who in your organization is seeking more responsibility and is eager to contribute? Those individuals might be the perfect candidates to oversee an initiative of this magnitude.

What to Cover

This question isn’t as easy as it sounds. Technical training can take many directions, so determining where to begin is important. Foundational or fundamentals training is always a solid choice. Ideally, a training program should build upon itself and help reinforce earlier learning so that the students can understand why things work the way they do. Soft skills training is another layer to consider in any well-rounded training program. The fact is, the most successful technicians are those that are skilled in the technical aspect of the trade with the ability to communicate effectively with customers, so both are important.

When to Train

What kind of time commitment can be made for training? Let’s face it: technicians in training aren’t generating revenue for the company or themselves. How much time can you afford? Is that one training day a week, or one day each month? Keep in mind that training is preparing for future needs. What commitment are you willing to make (and keep) for the future of your business?

Where to Train

You may think this is a no-brainer, but with technology today, virtual learning isn’t something to dismiss. Traditional lab or on-the-job training has been a staple in training programs for decades; however, a fresh approach can definitely be useful. Are you set up to offer online training? What would an in-person training space look like in your shop? Do you have equipment that could be repurposed for training purposes? What is the best environment for your students to learn? Again, what kind of commitment can be made to facilitate learning in your organization?

Why Invest in Training

Of all the questions to ask, this is the easiest to answer. Training your team helps to secure the future of your organization. The days of an experienced technician walking in your front door looking for employment are over. The best way for a company to prepare for and meet the needs of future growth is to train your own team.

How to Train

The team at NexTech Academy has developed technical training programs for the Plumbing, HVAC, and Electrical trades. These programs focus on residential service and replacement, and they also include Service SystemⓇ soft skills training. Your NexTech Academy Coach can help you develop a training plan custom tailored to your business so that you too can secure the future of your business.

Planning is a Process and is a Team Effort

Successful and thorough planning does not happen in one sitting. It often requires numerous reviews and revisions until all of the angles are addressed, often with contingency plans for unknowns. We’ve all been there when plans go sideways and the creativity kicks in. Unfortunately, those decisions aren’t normally the best that could be made; they’re just the best that could be made at the time. A sound and solid plan will take those surprises into account and offer a predetermined response should they occur.

Collaboration can’t be overlooked either. A second or third set of eyes studying a plan can offer a fresh and unique perspective, revealing issues that may have been overlooked. The coaches at NexTech Academy can serve as those fresh eyes to review your training plan and to point out blind spots that could potentially sidetrack your training initiative.

While taking enough time to plan is the precursor to successful training, we will be sharing nine additional laws of our program. Stay tuned for Law Two: Alignment. Learn the importance of aligning your management team to form a unified and comprehensive training effort.

For more information on NexTech Academy or other NexTech Academy products, visit our website or reach out to your NexTech Academy Coach. They can be found on your Nexstar Member home page.

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We have been working hard on improving NexTech Academy, making changes to the program that will reduce the operating expenses. We updated pricing in September 2019, and we are launching new training resources to Nexstar Network members in Spring 2020.

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