Creating a plan for training is often an exercise in reverse engineering. We frequently begin with a vision of the finished product, and then slowly and methodically break it down to its key components. Once the vision is set, the true planning can begin.
Nexstar Network holds a conference once a year called Super Meeting. This is an event where speakers come to educate members of Nexstar about 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 week leading up to the event – is planned to the minute? The master plan breaks out all the tasks and actions required for each activity, and directs Nexstar staff to be at the right place at the right time. The end result is a seamless, one-of-a-kind event for the members attending.
To hold a successful event on this scale, a plan is not just handy; it’s essential.
Creating a training plan is similar to planning a large event. Training is a large event for your company, and requires many components to be successful.
The “Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How” of Training
Who Will Train
Every ship needs a captain. Who is yours? Any training initiative needs someone who 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 training a team exercise and use experienced technicians to train? 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 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 technical and soft skills 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? Can you afford 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
Traditional lab or on-the-job training has been a staple in training programs for decades; however, online training is both useful and gaining in popularity. 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 in? Again, what kind of commitment can be made to facilitate learning in your organization?
Why Invest in Training
Of all the questions to ask about training, this one 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 mostly over. The best way for your 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 include Service SystemⓇ soft skills training. Your NexTech Academy coach can help you develop a custom training plan that’s tailored to your business, which will help you secure your company’s future.
Planning is a Process. It’s Also a Team Effort.
Successful and thorough planning doesn’t magically happen. It often requires numerous reviews and revisions until all angles and issues are addressed, with contingency plans for unknowns.
Collaboration shouldn’t be overlooked. A second or third set of eyes studying a plan can offer a fresh perspective, revealing issues that may have been overlooked. The coaches at NexTech Academy can serve as those fresh eyes. They’ll review your training plan and point out blind spots that could potentially sidetrack your training initiatives.
Stay tuned for Law Two: Alignment. Learn the importance of aligning your management team to form a unified and comprehensive training effort.