In today’s constantly shifting economic times and rapid technology advancements, it is critical for integrators to gain new skills and new knowledge.To achieve such societal needs for installed technologies, companies must continually invest in employee education and training activities.
Many installers obtain industry certifications from ESPA, CEDIA, ETA International, InfoComm and others to show their knowledge of skills. This opens up for additional training to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or additional certifications.
Training helps to ensure employees know what is required of them, and also makes introducing new skills or technologies much less complicated. Quality training also helps employees feel they are valued by the company because it demonstrates the company is investing time and money into their professional development.
Installers gain knowledge through a variety of outlets:
Hands-On and In-the-Field
Installers usually work with a small group of two to four people for each project or job. This allows for greater teamwork development and continued learning from one individual to another. Many learn best with co-workers and in the group atmosphere. The downside is it slows down work of the experienced installers.
Some businesses create relationships with local schools to allow students to receive the hands-on knowledge as interns before completing academic training. Students are able to gain an upper hand because of the skills retained and the network of contacts. Typically interns are a very low cost for businesses and can help identify potential employees.
Are you a business that integrates training within your development plan each year? It is essential for integration businesses to do so to stay current with rapidly changing technologies. Unlike the past where travel and time away were required, learning can take place with minimal or no travel time or cost. Online training opportunities are rapidly increasing, providing many benefits, including allowing employees to study at their own pace, anytime and anywhere.
Vendor-Specific Instructional Guides and Training
Most manufacturers include specific guidelines or instructions for their products and installers can learn just by reading through these documents. In addition, manufacturers offer live training at industry events, corporate training centers and road shows. Some have started to go online with webinars and online courses. However without verification testing, installers may miss important key facts about the technology itself and their products.
Everyone has their own way of learning. Businesses need to find out what works best for their team members. It is vital training be treated as a critical component within the business structure. Continuing education keeps everyone on the same page and eliminates gaps in knowledge. It also allows management to set expectations and goals. For example, an integration company wants to offer home networking, however only one installer knows how to perform this task and that installer is busy on another project. What should a company do if a skill is needed for two projects at the same time? The answer is to make sure several installers on the team know the technology. It makes for more proficient, successful and profitable projects.
Employees need to keep up with technology and truly comprehend the principles of each technology. This makes their work go easier and faster. Proficiency increases when installers know, REALLY KNOW, the technology. This improves productivity, ensures fewer mistakes and eliminates trial and error guesswork. Installers who are more proficient can finish jobs faster allowing themselves to move on to the next project in a timelier manner.
Remember, continuing education does not necessarily mean just the pursuit of more formal degrees. Individual courses, certificates and professional certification programs lasting anywhere from a few days to a few months are available through a myriad of public and private institutions, and, increasingly, online. Continuing the education of employees can raise the bar and give bragging rights to businesses. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, in fact with the plethora of options out there at events, conference, vendors, and especially with online education, ongoing training is becoming the new necessary trend.