Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Training and Today's Employees

I have noticed a little shift by some owners over the past few years when it comes to who really is the boss. They appear to be confused on how to act in their position as someone who is in charge. Many of them are reluctant to require their employees to attend training meetings, because it is “different” today. They do not want to go out at night, or give up some of their personal time. Well I maintain it is not different, they work for you, and they will do what you ask of them or they can quit. I do not know where all of this started; perhaps it was the “Just do you own thing man 60s”. Or perhaps it is the result of some of our modern society setting the bar lower and lower for their schools, politics, and personal lives. Or perhaps they have skated by for years putting out very little extra effort for anything the do, and still getting rewarded. Whatever it is, it is flat wrong.

When I came up 50 years ago, things were much simpler for sure. Plumbing fixtures and faucets were chrome and white, with just a few manufacturers. Furnaces were up-flow, down-flow, or horizontal, and 60% efficient, period. Materials on the plumbing side consisted of Lead & Oakum Cast Iron, along with galvanized pipe period. Look at where these things are today, there are now hundreds of different manufacturers, materials, models, and choices. Anyone who is trying to work with, repair, install, and/or sell them today is required too have more training, job-skills, and current knowledge than we ever did in the 50s and 60s.

Now we can talk about what it will take too participate in “Going Green” like so many other companies are doing, along with keeping up with the EPA requirements, as well as following the thousands of on-going Federal, State, and Local government regulations coming out every year. So just how much more training is involved getting up to speed with all of these things? Next we can touch on your people having all of the training and Sales Skills required too be successful in today’s multibillion dollar Service and Repair industry. Not having them is really not an issue……….right?

Should you be content in sending your employees out there lacking the skills and knowledge they must have to compete in today’s market? With the Internet available too everyone today, the consumers can research everything I have listed. What happens when the consumer asks the Tech a question about a product or service they looked up on the Web, and the Tech just gives them a blank stare back with no answer? ……No sale! To me, it is a no-brainer; more not less ongoing training is required of everyone involved in the industry today, pure and simple.

Just my old school thoughts,

Gene B


  1. Gene, I agree with you regarding employee attitudes towards extra training efforts.

    In every city I visit the subject of employee training is raised. Owners comment that turnover is high when training apprentices and other employees because company loyalty simply does not exist with the new generation rising in our ranks.

    However, that does not suggest that we ignore training and its associated costs. We must recognize the need to replace the large group of older workers who will be retiring within the next few years.

    The most frequent comment I hear is, “If I train them and they leave, I lose.” My response, “What happens if they stay?”

  2. A prerequisite for employment in an upscale company should be the desire and subsequent actions of the individual to develop on a professional level.

    Envision the majority of your coworkers possessing the desire to grow and taking action to do so. Call them piranas.

    Take new coworkers, those on the fence or those who do not possess this desire and dip them into the river where your piranas are swimming. If you pull them back out and they have meat on their bones, work with them. If they have been stripped of their meat, throw their carcass to the street...let your competitor-vultures have them.

    It just takes one enthusiastic coworker to infect an other with their drive. Build upon these individuals and support the heck out of them. Purge all others as fast as you can. And do not hesitate for even one minute in the thinking, "yeah but, they have talent." It is impossible for this talent to overshadow their backward-thinking mentality. Deep down,you really know this.

    I mean the following in the most respectful tone and manner that I can conjure...if you are an owner and have a passion to improve, to grow and to gobble up new technology, and you cannot seem to get your coworkers to feel the same way, consider selling the biz and hooking up with an owner who has seemed to find a way to do so. You'll be more happier than you ever dreamed possible.