HVACR Business

MAR 2014

Help hvacr contractors master the critical components of business management.

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HVACRBUSINESS.Com 10 HVACR Business m a rc h 2 0 1 4 T his is the age-old question in our industry, and seems to be the largest quandary we hear from HVACR contractors. I think we can sum this perplexing ques- tion up with the long-standing quote: "What if I train them and they leave…. But what if I don't, and they stay?" The important part of this question and my focus for this month's column is: "what if they stay?" There are many things in our con- tracting businesses that we can control. We can control pricing; we can control the brands of equipment we sell; we can control what services we provide, etc… One thing we cannot control is if an employee decides to stay or go. We can certainly infuence this by the type of company culture we have and by invest- ing in career development. If we take the stance that our number one job as em- ployers is to invest in our people, then education and training is a no brainer. Let's look at the positives of in- vesting in training and education. Let me set the stage with the two main outcomes of education and train- ing. Education and training brings about a higher level of competency, which, in turn brings a higher level of confdence, both to the employee and the customer. The end goal in education and training is that your employees deliver products and services with confdence and expertise. 1. Competence – The defnition of competence is: "the ability to do some- thing well, measured against a standard, especially an ability acquired through experience or training". The only way to build competence is by matching ex- perience with training. Think of it this way: you wouldn't want to go to a doc- tor who only had experience. You want to go to a doctor who has both training (or education) and experience. Put in this context, it is obvious that training and education must go hand in hand. 2. Confdence – The defnition of confdence is: "a belief in your own abilities – self-assurance or a belief in your ability to succeed." You can see by the defnition that you cannot possi- bly have the confdence to perform at a high level if you don't frst have compe- tency. Using our doctor analogy, when you go to the doctor you want a conf- dent doctor that gives you a confdent diagnosis matched with a treatment regimen that will make you feel better. The fact is that you can't possibly have competent and confdent employ- ees without investing in them and pro- viding the education and training they need to deliver your services and prod- ucts to your customer's expectations. I think one of the greatest problems in our industry is that we, as an industry, look at what is not possible rather than what is possible. As long as we view edu- cation and training through this lens, we will continue to miss the boat. Our in- dustry is only as good as the product we deliver to our customers: our employees. Our employees make our company — good, bad or indifferent. So why would we, as employers, relegate ourselves to being indifferent when the only path to being a good or great company is through the continuing training and education of our employees? It is time that we ac- cept the fact that in order to have strong and proftable businesses, we must in- vest in our employees through continu- ing training and education programs. Stop and think about the possibili- ties your business has if you invested in your employees and you always send competent and confdent employees to your customers' homes and busi- nesses. Confdent technicians are just like doctors in our earlier analogy. They make strong recommendations and diagnoses based on their experience and training in a confdent manner. What customer wouldn't want to do business with that kind of a company? Our industry is starved for companies that are willing to invest in their employ- ees. I encourage all contractors in our industry to not take the short-sighted view and look at what is not possible – there are already too many of these. Be the contractor that looks at what is pos- sible by building and investing in your employees through education and train- ing. We can all agree that we will ben- eft if our industry has more competent and confdent employees interacting with our customers. In the end, every- one wins when we choose to invest. n Wade Mayfeld is president of Thermal Services, Inc., Omaha, NE, an hvacr frm with over 100 employees. Wade is both a student and practitioner of the management skills necessary to sustain company growth. Why should I invest in education and training? employee education and Training: in the end, We All Win What if i train them and they leave? What if i don't train them and they stay? Building Your HVACr Business BY WAde MAYfield PRESIDENT OF THERMAL SERVICES, INC. E x p E rt A dv i c E

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