Job changes, personal growth require re-training

March 25, 2016
Re-training staff members is important not only when they change job duties, but when the training program itself is updated with new material.

Because I work with shop owners and managers, a discussion on training often takes place. Either they had training or they need training, but the conversation changes when I talk about re-training. 

I get a puzzled look and comments such as “I already took that course once, why do I need to take it again” or “He learned about that when he was an estimator.” When I see plaques showing completion dates 10 years in the past, I ask them if they are holding the same position as when they took the course. The answer is generally no, hence the need for re-training. Certainly the training has been updated during the last 10 years, but a position change also puts a different view on the material.

As you change positions and grow into more responsibility, your perspective changes. Let’s say you took a customer service course as an estimator. In that course you probably focused on how to provide the expected service during the estimate process. Now you’re a manager. If you were to take the course again you would probably focus on parts of the course that related to maximizing customer service to achieve the highest possible customer satisfaction index (CSI) score. As you grew into the manager’s position from being an estimator your area of responsibility changed, and so did your focus on customer service.

The same theory applies if you took a cycle time course as a body technician, but after being promoted to production manager your viewpoint is different. As a technician you concentrated on the repairs in your stall and that was the height of you worries. Now you’re responsible for the repair flow of the entire facility. You look at the material presented in the course differently because your outlook and responsibilities have changed.

Regardless of your position or if you have been promoted, things change and your training should be updated routinely. If you looked back at your business as recently as five years ago and then looked at how you operate your business today, you would visualize multiple differences. If you don’t keep up with current training, your business will not reach its full potential. Training has to be continual and you need to recognize that as your responsibilities increase you need to review the related training. Asking somebody to perform at peak levels with old training is setting that person up to fail.

The most important facet of re-training is certification training. Almost all training providers offer refresher courses. Using them to keep you and your shop up-to-date is very cost effective.

The Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) has annual requirements that you can monitor through a training plan in my I-CAR®. my I-CAR allows you to select a role, determine the relevant courses and develop your plan.  

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has more than 40 certifications covering all aspects of automotive repair. They have myASE that helps you track your certification and allows you to schedule recertification. OEMs have training standards and if you work for a dealer, you must maintain specific training levels to receive and maintain warranty repair certifications. Paint manufacturers also update their training regularly to ensure users are aware of product advancements so it’s important to discuss training with your jobber and manufacturer. 

During the last several years in an effort to reduce training requirements to maintain certifications, many providers have aligned with I-CAR. This alignment allows you to take OEM or paint manufacturer related courses and apply them to I-CAR certifications and vice-versa. This has helped many repair facilities stay on top of their game while minimizing expense.

Most of the training providers have methods to track training and I recommend selecting one of them to ensure you stay current. Tracking your training will also allow you to schedule your employees throughout the year avoiding the end of the year training crunch most shops go through. This also helps you develop a budget that you can amortize over the year rather than taking big hits in one or two months.

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