By Dan Clapper
Incorporating an in-house training program can be an essential step toward success for facilities management teams. Effective training allows companies to recruit from a wider talent pool. You can confidently hire hard-working employees—regardless of their experience or skill level—when you have the tools to get them job-ready faster.
By establishing training as part of your company’s culture, techs can continue advancing their skills. Investing in ongoing training opportunities provides crucial upskilling for your current techs so they’re up to date on safety standards and industry best practices. In addition to ensuring your team’s skills are current, ongoing training helps retain techs who are more likely to remain with companies that invest in their careers.
This cycle of recruiting, ramping, and retention is key for growth in a range of industries that rely on skilled workers. It is also, unfortunately, a persistent challenge for those in facilities management. A chronic shortage of experienced workers has placed enormous pressure on productivity.
Mastering the recruit-ramp-retain cycle through effective and scalable training can help you overcome this ongoing labor shortage. Training can be one of the best methods to quickly prepare and accelerate the skills of new techs. It can also help you cross-train existing techs so you can dramatically improve overall performance and ensure efficient and smooth business operations.
Creating In-House Training Programs
Designing and successfully implementing in-house maintenance training can be a challenge for most facility management leaders. Even though it’s fundamental to success in the modern landscape, many decision-makers don’t know what effective, scalable training consists of. They’re frustrated by the situation but don’t know how to turn it around.
That’s why innovative, immersive learning platforms for facilities maintenance workers have emerged as an ideal solution. Here are three ways you can use these platforms to meet urgent labor challenges:
- Make training accessible: Digital platforms reduce the friction that can disrupt traditional training methods. With 24-7 accessibility, employees can thread their training through workflows, taking advantage of downtimes and maximizing productivity during periods of high demand. Digital platforms offer employers and managers transparency to assign courses, track training and assess team members as they advance their skills.
- Make training a priority: Schedule blocks of time for training throughout the week. Encourage employees to engage with the resources available. Monitor their progress and reward results. Demonstrate the value of training by investing in it, taking it seriously, and recognizing team members’ accomplishments. Encourage round-the-clock learning, but make sure employees are compensated for mandatory training.
- Make training flexible: Every tech is at a unique point in their career. One-size-fits-all training doesn’t work for most people. New techs need the foundational knowledge that will help them operate autonomously. Experienced techs should be up to date on evolving best practices and changing regulatory standards. All workers need to know how to work safely and compliantly. Each tech learns in different ways. Some are visual, while some learn best by listening or watching, and others benefit most from hands-on experiences. Make sure a variety of possible interfaces are available.
Whatever training program you decide to implement, it’s important to know why you’re doing it. Training just to train won’t drive results. The reason we train is to instill the skills technicians need to help companies operate more efficiently.
Training itself is not a magic bullet for building the best team. Effective, targeted training that accelerates ramp time and improves performance is one of the most powerful tools facilities management professionals can employ to meet the challenges they face.
Digital learning platforms can provide unique flexibility. Training programs can assess an employee’s skill level and be personalized for their unique learning needs. Training schedules can be threaded throughout a company’s workflow. Learning from experts simply becomes part of the job.
Not only is this kind of flexible, customized, online training the most efficient way to match educational content with a range of experience and learning styles, but it’s also a critical tool for connecting with young talent and efficiently preparing techs for the job.
Clapper is commercial HVAC and facilities maintenance market director for Interplay Learning, the leading provider of online and VR training for the essential skilled trades. He has more than 25 years of experience in HVAC service and installation, wholesale sales and distribution, and manufacturer training.