Ask anyone who owns an HVAC, electric or plumbing business what their biggest challenge is, and their response is almost always the same; recruitment.

With each passing year, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to attract young adults into the skilled trades. So what’s a business owner supposed to do as the candidate pool shrinks? How are you going to address the void between needing to hire more people and only wanting to hire quality people?

Our advice, keep your standards high. Hire the best, even if it means paying more upfront to attract them. Often times, this larger than expected investment pays off.

Always remember, you don’t need bodies, you need quality employees. Taking a chance on a candidate that doesn’t meet your expectations rarely works out. More times than not, they lead to wasted time, money and negative experiences with customers, vendors and colleagues.

While it might feel contrary to the goal of growing your business, employing fewer top candidates can be more successful than building a larger team of marginal candidates members. Good people are more productive, better learners, savvy with nurturing customer relationships and understanding that their success depends on the company’s success.

Set effective goals when hiring for success.

Goal setting is a vitally important tool for technicians, but it’s just as important for HVAC, electric and plumbing business owners—especially when it comes to the hiring process.

There’s a NexTech Academy course entitled, “Skill Assessment: Goal Setting Assignment.” While it was created for technicians, business owners can benefit just as much when they apply the lessons to the hiring process.

The Skill Assessment: Goal Setting Assignment lesson discusses the importance of setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based). When you create a SMART goal for hiring and overlay it with your candidates, it’s much easier to stay focused on finding the right mindset, work ethic and personality. A SMART goal for hiring clarifies who you are looking for, how realistic it is to find them, how important they are as a need and a timeframe in which you should be able to find them.

Using this type of process and goal setting can help you to avoid making hiring exceptions for less qualified candidates that are likely to be detrimental to your operations.

Good candidates make great employees.

Finding the right candidate shouldn’t always focus on their current skill sets. You should be more interested in their mindset. When you identify a candidate that wants to succeed and be part of your organization, you can train them into a fantastic HVAC, electric or plumbing technician. All it takes is NexTech Academy.

At NexTech Academy, we believe you can’t teach want-to, but you can teach how-to.

NexTech Academy online vocational training allows your new hires to learn at their own pace. They can take lessons when it works best for them and take advantage of video courses they can watch and rewatch as needed. The topics from NexTech covers the gamut of what a technician needs, from hard skills to the soft skills that will help them read body language and address customer concerns.

NexTech helps build and lead your employee training.

NexTech Academy is not a one size fits all program — it’s a tailored solution that matches your business needs to the available curriculum. When you set up your NexTech training program for your new hires and existing technicians, you’ll have the help of a NexTech coach. This person will work with you to understand your needs and implement a training program for your employees.

Track new hire progress.

As your new hires advance through the NexTech Academy curriculum, you’ll be able to monitor their progress. This allows you to make sure they are meeting the goals, timelines and objectives you set forth after hiring them. It’s just one more tool to make sure good hires grow into great technicians.

NexTech 2.0 makes new technicians become their best.

Even if you’ve used NexTech Academy in the past to train employees, you can’t imagine what’s in store for your new hires right now. The new, NexTech Academy 2.0 has just launched, and it provides a richer, deeper and more effective learning program than before.

So much more than a new name, NexTech Academy 2.0 is built on an entirely new platform. This makes the program more accessible, customizable and manageable. The NexTech Academy curriculum still consists of the best practices of Nexstar Network members as well as must-know skilled trade information. And lessons are still presented in video format, along with interactive reading assignments.

The improved NexTech 2.0 is everything business owners valued about the NexTech Academy, plus all the things they hoped it would become and offer. We feel it’s the industry-leading online vocational skill training program.

The path to the upside is worth it.

A successful company begins with its people. Even when labor is short, you can’t make compromises with new hires. Find the right candidates and build them into the best technicians they can be. Use the power of the NexTech Academy 2.0 curriculum and see how better training can help make up for technician shortages.

If you’re interested in helping new plumbing technicians becoming better at their job by increasing their talents and improving soft skills, suggest training form NexTech Academy. Get them started at our student experience page or call us at 651-426-2000.



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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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