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Excuses, excuses…

Eric Aune 1

Excuses, excuses…

What if you don’t train them and they stay?

Roundtable discussions. Town hall meetings. Education tracts. Seminars. Panel presentations. Webinars. Online courses.

eric aune 2There is no shortage of methods used to get information to contractors.  Whether it be a manufacturer, local rep, website or magazine presenting the information the end goal being sought is to satisfy the customer (us, the contractors) and for our wants and needs to be met in a way that makes us want to return.

I have been talking about training here on The Hub pretty much since the beginning. I have been the trainer and the trainee for years. What works for me might not work for you but, I can say the industry we are in has done a nice job adapting to the desires of the contractor overall. I do hold one exception to saying things are great though and that’s on the shoulders of the contractor.

I have had the good fortune of attending various formats of educational presentations these last two or three years due to my partnership of this site. However, I have been seeking training on my own for years. I feel I have to if only to remain relevant in the plumbing and hydronics business and it’s not always easy to take time out of a busy schedule to attend events out of state or even in person locally.  Webinars work well for me, especially when they can be accessed on my own schedule but I do like to attend a class or roundtable discussion in person if I’m able. What I do see though are a lot of empty seats. And that’s a problem.

I have asked you and many others, either online or face-to-face, what keeps contractors from attending the trainings and have compiled a long list of reasons, most of which are good ones but some seem like simple excuses.  Time [not having it] seems to be the biggest hurdle for contractors when considering training. Cost would be second. Business has been picking up in my area of the country and by all accounts everywhere else as well making the whole time argument even stronger I guess.

I have heard from a good number of contractors that they’re worried to invest in training their employees/techs out of fear that they will leave and become the competition. To that I say: So what! If your employee leaves you it wont be because you trained them, it’s more likely it’s because you didn’t. And besides, wouldn’t you want your competition to be competent and on the same page? I say everyday that I wish I were bidding jobs apples-to-apples due to a lot of my competition not working with the same knowledge of our systems as the rest of us.

I heard an ad on a local radio station for a ski and skate shop that has been in business here in Minnesota for more than thirty years where the owner is testifying to the skill and knowledge of his employees: “Some businesses are worried about spending money to train their staff in fear that they will leave them…My fear is that if I don’t train them and they stay.”

I couldn’t agree more.

So, what is it that keeps you from attending training? What was the last reason that kept you away from the latest educational series/class/webinar/discussion?

Next week I will be attending an event in Vegas hosted by a major manufacturer where breakout educational sessions are offered. It’s not a sales pitch as much as it is an answer to the demands of us contractors for more training. I haven’t been to this event in the past but I’m told attendance is quite good. I sure hope there aren’t too many empty seats left out of fear of future competition. I’ll give a recap of the event in the next few weeks, if you’re going to be there I’d enjoy meeting you if we haven’t met already. Please introduce yourself; maybe we can have an adult beverage!

Eric Aune

2 Comments

  1. Geri Kostello
    Geri Kostello04-30-2014

    Aside from the scholarships that BrassCraft is providing to schools right now, we are also giving out free plumbing pro bags to apprentices graduating this year to become journeymen. I have bags going out to about 8 different schools now, but I was wondering if Eric knew of any avenues that I am missing for this free bag. It is a very high quality plumbing bag with a 5-year warranty. We just want to welcome the graduates into our world of plumbing.

    • Mechanical Hub Team
      Mechanical Hub Team05-05-2014

      Hi Geri,

      Thanks for your comment! And thanks for keeping our new trade pros in your sights! I think what you’re doing is great, maybe we can work together to expand to more schools? I know there are a lot of local and national training programs that would likely be interested. Also, our visitors here may be a great resource to identify possibilities. Let’s connect through email or conversation and see where we can take this.

      Eric

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