Is Your Business Ready to Revamp Its Training Program?
By Evelyn Long
Many landscaping and horticulture companies don’t have a training program in place. However, proper instruction and knowledge assessment are essential for employees who want to safely and successfully complete tasks and improve job-specific skills. A comprehensive training program is also important to keep everyone up to speed on new technologies, equipment and protocols.
Prepare for the spring season and revamp training programs with these helpful tips.
1. Survey employees
Before revamping a training program, it’s wise to determine what employees already know. After all, there’s no point in wasting workers’ time by covering topics they’re already familiar with. If a company includes information that is too basic, they’ll be unlikely to continue training.
One of the best ways to figure out what topics are most relevant is to survey employees. Have them fill out an anonymous questionnaire that quizzes them on workplace safety, skills and preparedness. Ask them where they feel resources are lacking and how they might go about learning new skills. Then tailor the program to fit workers’ needs and fill in knowledge gaps.
2. Provide flexible growth opportunities
Use the survey information to provide flexible growth opportunities for everyone. Adopt both in-person and mobile solutions so workers can engage with the learning opportunities that work best for their needs. Making resources readily available in this way will make employees more likely to engage with them.
Landscape and horticulture industries must also comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Therefore, employers should also provide all OSHA training modules to ensure everyone fulfills all legal requirements.
3. Hold weekly or monthly meetings
Regardless of whether employers require workers to complete supplemental training or not, they should still hold weekly or monthly meetings to touch on certain topics and convey pertinent information.
Supervisors can hold these meetings before beginning a day’s work to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding safety precautions and potential hazards. They might even use this time as a short refresher course on tracking fuel costs, logging operating hours or safely using equipment. This can keep daily maintenance responsibilities fresh in workers’ minds.
4. Measure results
Once an employer has a training program in place, they may think their work is done. However, the most important part of initiating a program is finding a way to quantify and analyze results. How many workers are completing certain modules? Why aren’t any of them passing safety training? A closer look at test scores may reveal some clues.
Maybe the program itself isn’t as comprehensive as it first seemed, or perhaps employees don’t have the adequate background knowledge to succeed in more advanced topics. As supervisors measure results, they can modify the program to ensure everyone has the tools to successfully complete training.
5. Reward additional credentials
Incentivize employees to acquire additional knowledge and credentials by rewarding them for the time they spend training. Offering raises, bonuses and certifications are all good ways to invest in workers and show them appreciation.
Employers might also publicly recognize those who do complete different programs. Doing so will remind others that recognition is only a few modules away. Plus, they’ll see that their supervisors value knowledge and safety. If they want to succeed within the company, they would be wise to engage with the training program.
6. Keep growing
Managers and employers may be more excited about a revamped training program than employees. In most cases, this is because those who hold higher positions within the company don’t have to use the program. This lack of engagement from senior staff will make training seem like a chore to employees.
Therefore, everyone must continue to learn and grow, even the business’s owner. Doing so will keep the company one step ahead of its competitors and set a good example for employees who are lower on the corporate ladder and make up the organization’s backbone.
When leaders invest in their employees, great things happen. Workers will learn to complete tasks on their own, take responsibility for their actions and succeed without supervision.
Eventually, training will produce people employers can rely on day in and day out. Building this trust will allow owners and supervisors to delegate tasks and focus on the bigger picture of innovative and effective leadership.
Evelyn Long is a writer and editor focused on home building and construction. She is the co-founder of Renovated, a web magazine for the home industry.