One of the most common dreams people have when they dream about work is being unprepared for a task. If they work as a teacher, it might mean not knowing their lesson plan. If they’re a politician, forgetting the words to a critical speech. An actor may dream of forgetting lines.
Imagine if you’re a technician and you dream that you are in a home and you can’t fix a broken panel, can’t repair a water heater, or you have no idea on how to take apart a specific cooling unit. Worse? What if this isn’t a dream and you harbor these fears not knowing what kind of call you’ll go on next.
Believe it or not, this might be going on in your business right now. Your employees have the best intentions and they want to do their best work. However, they arrive at your shop with varying degrees of experience.
Many vocational training programs teach commercial and new construction as well as residential, so your employee might not have many hours of hands-on experience to be confident on specific tasks. Other employees may have received their education in a different part of the country, so they are less experienced with the systems and working conditions that exist in your community. Some folks may have learned on the job and they picked up a few bad practices along with lots of good ones.
All of this being said, you don’t want a good employee to quit because they are afraid to ask for/admit they need some training.
What can you do about it?
1. Create a safe place to talk about it
If you’ve noticed that there have been call-backs or customer frustrations with work that’s been completed, you need to create the right environment to talk about it. Identifying why and where the employee needs help is the first step.
Approaching them from a place of respect and understanding will go a long way. Blaming won’t. It’s hard for people to acknowledge they need help and the last thing they want is to feel incompetent. You can make the conversation easier by listening and encouraging them to fill in their knowledge gaps.
2. Create a plan together
Beyond assessing what they need to learn, you’ll want to get clear on specific tasks and what your company and the local code expects when it comes to completing them. You might want to start out pairing the employee with a senior technician that has expertise in the task identified. Employees learn 20% of what they need to know from collaboration and feedback from colleagues, so having your team share knowledge is a cost-effecting, practical and beneficial way of facilitation meaningful learning.
Beyond shadowing other employees, make sure you’ve given the employee the opportunity to perform the task in a practice environment. This will help them build confidence before they are working with homeowners.
Skills-practice is a key tenet in the NexTech Academy curriculum. We know that many people in the trades identify as tactile learners. This means they learn best when they are trying things out as they are learning. Although NexTech is an online technical training program, students receive step by step guidance, so they can apply their knowledge as they learn and build on their skills as they advance in the program. This keeps training relevant and rewarding.
3. Evaluate their progress
Make sure that your employee is using the skills they’ve learned after training, so that knowledge decay doesn’t set in. During your weekly check-ins review any remaining questions they have and ask them to reflect on service calls where they’ve had to perform the tasks.
To sum up, technical training can prevent you from losing good employees. You are the catalyst for making training happen.
How can technical training work in my business?
If you’re looking for more tips on how to make technical training work in your business feel free to reach out to the NexTech Academy coaches. Our coaches are experienced professionals who have worked in the industry and understand the challenges you face when recruiting and training new technicians. They will work with you to help facilitate enrollment and navigation of our online vocational training program and can help with teaching strategies for skills assessments. When you need support, NexTech Academy coaches are here to help.