Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Minor Leaguers


Spending the spring in Florida, there is a lot of talk on television, radio, and in the newspaper about the local spring training teams. They cover the players, are their stats, the schedules, the injuries, and the various teams expectations. Among the players are both “big” leaguers and the “minor” leaguers. The big leaguers are trying to get in shape for the season and keep their jobs. The minor leaguers are also getting into shape for their season and hoping to make it to the big leagues. But when I visit service businesses, I find something a little different.
In baseball, players are drafted just as we “draft” new employees into our businesses. Then the differences begin. In baseball, the new player is evaluated on his strengths and weaknesses and assigned to a farm club to improve his skills so he can play at his maximum capabilities. In many service businesses, we send the new “player” to ride along on a truck with another tech for a few days. We get a little feedback from the tech and then put the new “player” out to take care of customer problems and provide the excellent customer service we expect. Somehow we think the new player will do the job as well as we would ourselves.
We need a new paradigm; one in which we have a career plan for the new employee at least 3 to 5 years out. We do this by setting out expectations from the new employee to meet throughout their career at our company. We set increases in their income on gaining new skills that make them more valuable to the company. We expect them to achieve success in state and national accreditation such as a Master Plumber’s license, NATE certification, a manufacturer’s training program, or a degree from a college or association training program.
This career plan needs to be written and specific. It should be clear what needs to be done by the employee to move to the next level. Each level has a pay range, a list of skills need to be in that level, and what training or skills are needed to get to the next level. There is a pay range since an employee may be at a level for several years but after six months or a year has accomplished many of the skills needed for that level. There can also be automatic increases as a Technician becomes NATE certified or gets his trade licensing.
There are numerous benefits to a career plan for an employee. They know what they must do to gain a raise or move to the next level. There is a sense of a future at your company for the employee. There are some written metrics to evaluate an employee by at review time. When you hire a new employee, your company shows the employee is important and there is a future at your company.  You can direct an employee to the skills your company needs to better serve the customer and be more profitable.

Contact me if you would like a sample of a plan that you can use as a template to write your own career path for your employees.

Dan has been involved in the service business for over 50 years operating a successful plumbing heating and air conditioning business and consulting service businesses. He can be contacted at Dan@SayYesToSuccess.com.