Training is instrumental in getting your snow and ice teams ready for winter. However, is your training regimen effective at preparing your workers and service providers for the rigors and challenges of snow fighting?
Are those hours of lectures hitting home?
Will those PowerPoint presentations be enough to ensure your level of service will be executed correctly during a real-world winter event?
Where do you weaknesses lie?
Based on their own training trails and errors, Zack Kelley, director of operations at Sauers Snow & Ice Management in Philadelphia, offers some common mistakes snow fighters make when they approach educating their workforce about successful and safe winter snow and ice process and procedures.
Mistake No. 1
You Think You Know What You Want To Train On
For most snow contractors this seems like common sense: You push snow, therefore you need to show your workers and service provider how to push snow. However, Kelley says your training needs to be broader than just the operational do’s and do not’s.
“Train on the ASCA Industry Standards but broaden it to include who you are as a company – your core values and your culture – to everyone, whether they’re full-season or a winter service provider,” Kelley says. “
Mistake No. 2
Not Dedicating Enough Time To Training
As a snow professional, you can never devote too much time, energy, money or resources to training. In fact, just when you think you’re doing enough you can reevaluate your approach and realize it can be better.
“Increase the amount of time spent on not only training, but also in preparing the training,” Kelley says. “Right now (in May) we’re discussing our training for the coming fall. We are actively planning, scheduling, and building that curriculum right now.
“It can not be done in a week or in two weeks,” he adds. “You really need several months to put a comprehensive program together.
Mistake No. 3
Assuming Your Training Is Good … For The Next Year
You’ve developed a training regimen that goes off without a hitch and proves to be very successful for the ensuing snow and ice season. So why change anything?
“No matter how good your training is, it can be better,” Kelley says. “As a company, push yourself to think outside the box and develop different ways to train.”
Remember your audience and the fact that you wouldn’t train an office employee the same way you’d train an individual on a shovel crew.
“Always be prepared to think about how you can more effectively train your team,” Kelley says.
Get creative with your training and don’t rely solely on lectures. Instead, get employees and service providers outside and moving,
“For example, we train on our mobile app and when we do this it’s typically sunny and 70 degrees,” Kelley says. “But we still do a mock training event. We get everyone together and put up on the screen that it’s a snow event and this is what’s going on. So, go outside and show us how you’ll document [the event] using the app.
“We could stand at the front of the room and talk about using our mobile app forever and it might not make sense to people,” Kelley adds. “But if we do it in person, hands-on and we think differently about how to train these people then it’ll be more effective.
“Go out into the field and show your team how you want them to stake a site if you want it done the right way,” he says. “Just try something [new] and don’t be afraid to just go for it.”
Mike Zawacki is editor of Snow Magazine.