The Close Up

Columns - Guest Column

An under-utilized resource, a video training regimen may be the key to preventing needless mistakes and unlocking greater profitability.

October 27, 2022

© Robert Kneschke | AdobeStock

As winter rapidly approaches, a single element will determine how well companies perform this season. While equipment, materials, and contracts are already (hopefully) under control, the training of field employees remains the biggest factor in many companies’ performance.

With the current labor shortage, it’s clear many of this winter’s employees are snow industry rookies. Gone are the days of experienced and overqualified candidates. Today’s great snow companies will be built on their ability to train anyone, regardless of experience or education, to efficiently deliver on the promises made to customers.

Unfortunately, many teams feel too consumed chasing contracts, creating snow response plans, finishing out fall cleanup, or simply trying to hire more people to train all of their people as well as they should. Even those companies that do manage the time, expense, and energy to create a season kick-off event discover the limitations of training teams for only an hour or two. They focus on specifics of sites, processes, or communication but fail to have enough time to discuss the very basics of snow event types, an overview of equipment, how to personally prepare for snow operations, or any industry overview.

This problem affects junior workers the most because they often aren’t sure working in snow removal is a viable career path. Likewise, they are the most prone to make costly mistakes that could have been avoided or quit out of frustration.

The key to delivering the education employees need affordably and efficiently is to leverage technology. By augmenting in-person training with on-demand videos, every employee can learn at their own pace, on their own time, and without distracting managers from the important work they’re doing every day. Here’s the best way to get started.

Start Small. Introduce video training with the most critical info everyone needs to know when working for you. Focus on the critical points of failure for new hires who miss the pre-season kickoff meetings – expectations, communication, personal storm preparation, and industry orientation.

Keep Field Training. Attempting to convert the entire training process to video-based education is a recipe for disaster. Keep field training as part of the process, particularly for concepts that are best demonstrated hands-on like equipment operation, maintenance, and cleaning. Video training is an ideal tool for conceptual training points like processes and site engineering.

Leverage Existing Support. There are plenty of resources for great video training already created that save time and expense. Check vendor and manufacturer websites to curate the best training for equipment fleets. Enroll employees in video certification training offered by the ASCA on courses such as liquid deicing or sidewalk management. Or check out GrowTheBench.com for courses on communication, pre-storm prep, and rooftop snow removal.

Get Started Now. Making an investment in virtual education will pay dividends for seasons to come.

Even a single video as a company introduction saves time, adds training consistency, and helps employee retention.

Likewise, consider the 2022 Snowfighters Virtual Bootcamp, Nov 7-18. For $75 per team of 10, we have six on-demand training sessions covering snow industry basics that require only 15 minutes per day. Plus, there will be four live webinars with individual Q&A. For sign-ups, go to Bootcamp.GrowTheBench.com

A frequent Snow Magazine contributor, Neal Glatt is a snow industry veteran as well as a John Maxwell Certified coach, speaker, and trainer.