For pest control companies growing through mergers and acquisitions, effectively training the new technicians on your team is a critical component of achieving success. Technicians joining you from another company will likely have their own way of doing things and may be unfamiliar with the way your company operates.
To maintain consistency across the brand and ensure a high level of service, it is critical to train technicians on your company’s processes and products, and quickly.
With that in mind, here are three tips for effectively training technicians during their first 60 to 90 days with your company.
1. Establish a Mentorship Program
Within the first week of employment, each technician gained through a merger or acquisition should be paired with a more experienced technician who can be a mentor out in the field. Pair up technicians based on their tenure, or time in their current position, as well as their specialty, whether that is pest control, lawn care or wildlife removal/exclusion.
During this time, the technician from your original team can share best practices and determine any differences in the way the new technician delivers services or treatments. For instance, the established technician might ask the new technician what he or she uses to control ants. If the new technician doesn’t give the correct answer — according to how your company does things — the mentor can coach him or her through the standard operating procedures.
Many times, technicians will find that their practices are similar. However, there are subtle differences that must be addressed to ensure consistency among all of your team members.
Depending on the new technician’s skill level, this program should last between two and six months. As technicians begin to learn best practices and use them consistently in the field, the level of oversight should gradually decrease until they are out on their own. The timeline also will depend on their division or specialty. For example, termite treatment and lawn care are much more involved than general pest control and may take longer to master.
2. Administer Skills Assessments
Within the first 30 days of employment, new technicians should be evaluated to determine their skill level and the level of training and oversight they may need. This can be included as part of the mentorship program, or administered on its own. Either way, technicians should be assessed before they are sent into the field on their own.
One way to complete this assessment is to have a manager accompany the technician in the field to review several aspects of service, including customer service, safety and technical competencies.
Assessing technical competencies means ensuring that technicians know how to read labels; understand what the target pests are and how to treat them; know how to mix, carry and store products; and are experts in the correct dosages for pesticides and fertilizers.
During this assessment, the manager can identify areas where additional training is needed.
3. Tailor Programs to Technicians’ Experience
While an overall training program for pest management technicians should be standardized, it should also be tailored to each individual’s level of experience. For instance, if a service technician joining your company has 15 or more years of experience, you may start his or her training program at a higher level than someone who has less than two years of experience.
Determining where technicians should begin their training will depend greatly on the results of their skills assessment, which should be given to all technicians regardless of their experience. Based on this assessment, managers can determine whether the individual’s skills are at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level, and can then outline the appropriate training program.
For technicians at the intermediate level or above, mentorship programs should be brief. Instead, focus their training on building skills through attending educational sessions and improving upon current skill sets.
Remember that while training during the first 60 to 90 days of employment is critical, it should not end there. Ongoing training is important to the success of any pest control company, whether it is experiencing growth organically or through mergers and acquisitions.
The author is COO of Environmental Pest Service. Environmental Pest Service is the parent company of Arrow Environmental Services, Bug Out Service and Skyline Pest Solutions, offering a variety of pest control, lawn care and wildlife removal/exclusion services throughout Florida and Georgia. Learn more about the firm at www.environmentalpestservice.com.