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News & Press: OTF News

Training New Employees

Tuesday, April 29, 2014   (0 Comments)
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Written by Rob Palmer
President & Owner, Weed Pro

Throughout the years our training programs have changed significantly based on feedback provided by the new employee, the training staff, and from surveying our production staff for the positives and negatives of our existing training program. Amazingly, the most significant changes we made were not necessarily in the training program itself, rather they were in the INTERVIEWING and HIRING process. Secondly, we learned another valuable lesson- COACHING, that we have since adopted in our new employee training program concept.

For starters, we place the highest importance on hiring people who demonstrate good interpersonal skills and have the ability to engage our customers and develop relationships. Warmth and Competence are the 2 most important factors we use throughout our hiring process. Technicians must be able to build trust with the customer because our success is predicated on them maintaining the lawn properly during the weeks between applications. Before a technician makes his first visit to a customer’s lawn, each new technician goes through customer service training and is briefed on their customer service goals and metrics used to measure performance.

Once we have hired right, the goal is to begin the process of coaching. While training and coaching sound similar, coaching our staff implies more of a team effort to bring the new technician up to our standards. We have a dedicated 2 week training program teaching the application techniques used to perform the job. Additionally we begin teaching the fundamentals of good agronomic practices. We have found it to be easier to break the agronomic coaching into 6 phases based on the season. This allows the new technician to learn over the course of the season and apply what they have learned with the realities on the turf.

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