Attract, Keep & Motivate Employees with Training & Incentive Programs

What do employee training and incentive programs have in common? They are both highly effective ways for companies to attract, retain and motivate workers. Plus, they can also boost productivity and profitability for your company. In this article, we discuss how employee training and incentive programs can benefit your business, as well as provide plenty of resources to help you develop and grow your own programs.

Sales Training Program At Local Plumbing and Heating Company Pays Off
At 7:15 every Wednesday morning the technicians at Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. in Broomall, PA, gather to watch sales training videos for 45 minutes before normal working hours begin. According to Director of Operations Michael Henderson, the training videos – Tec Daddy's Service Technician Survival School on DVD – cover such topics as customer relations, speaking to customers, how to best represent yourself and your company, and the purpose of a tech's job.

"The videos tell techs how to give customers options," exemplifies Henderson, "Not just solve problems." In other words, he explains, instead of simply doing the repair they were called to do, his techs are now providing options for a better fix or, in some cases, equipment replacement. Now 15 weeks into the 52-week training program, Henderson says, "We're seeing phenomenal results and our investment is already paying off." He adds, "Even in these tough economic times, we're definitely increasing our sales."

Not only do technicians at Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. get customer service and sales training, but they also attend technical schooling and seminars, such as those conducted by heating and cooling equipment suppliers. Henderson views this type of technical skills training as a good investment for the company, as well.

Weinstein Employee Training & Incentives Survey Results

Last month we surveyed our readers about their employee training and incentives programs. Here's what respondents had to say:

50% offer employee training. The types of employee training programs offered by these companies include:

    - New employee training (28.6%)
    - On-the-job training for employees
       by other employees (28.6%)
    - Outside training through
       professional trade organizations
    - Other training (14.3%)

25% offer an employee incentive program. The types of employee incentive programs offered by these companies include:

    - Sales/customer service incentives
    - Other incentives (66.7%)

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey.


Well-Trained Employees Are Key to Success
As Mike Henderson knows firsthand, well-trained employees are a key to business success. In addition to providing them with needed professional and technical skills, training also shows your employees you are willing to invest in them and their future with the company. In this way, training programs can help:

  • Improve employee job satisfaction by challenging them to learn and get more involved in their jobs.
  • Reduce turnover rates by providing employees the guidance they need to succeed and advance on the job.
  • Recruit employees who value the opportunity to get new skills for career advancement.
  • Increase productivity and, ultimately, profitability by helping employees learn new job skills and often improve their efficiency, as well.

Incentive Programs Boost Morale and Motivation, Too
Employee incentive programs tend to yield similar results to training in terms of boosting company morale, employee motivation, as well as overall productivity and performance.

At Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc., employee incentive programs are offered regularly for different products and promotions with a small cash bonus as a reward. Henderson notes that it's important to make sure that it's not a "real big incentive," so employees won't be tempted to sell products and services to customers who don't need them. For example, Henderson has an incentive program in place for selling plumbing, heating and air conditioning maintenance packages. This program helps motivate the techs to sell these packages to customers, who also benefit from service discounts.

Types of Rewards and Recognition Programs
Although bonus pay is always a popular incentive, other kinds of rewards can be used for top performers, as well, such as time off and prizes like tickets to sporting events, gift certificates to local restaurants and gas grills. Be sure to keep the incentives top of mind and motivation high by using signs and emails to remind employees of your program's rules and rewards.

In addition to individual sales and referrals, other types of recognition programs to consider include:

  • Longevity: Recognize employees with a work anniversary celebration and awards commensurate with the years they’ve been with the company.
  • Time Management: Base bonuses on employees finishing jobs under the estimated time budgeted.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Conduct customer satisfaction surveys and reward the tech with the highest rating.
  • Peer Recognition: Let employees determine who should be recognized for their hard work.
  • Multiple Site Competitions: For companies with more than one location, host a competition with the winning group getting a pizza party at the end.

By taking an innovative and proactive approach with ongoing employee training and incentive programs, you’ll find it’s easier to hire, train and keep high-quality workers, adding to your company’s success and bottom line.


Employee Training Program Resources

Thanks to online courses and training programs on DVD that are specifically designed for the plumbing and HVAC industry, providing employee training can be both affordable and convenient for companies today. In addition to the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association Web site that offers various training programs and materials, check out the following links for more information and resources:

Charlie Greer's HVAC Profit Boosters, Inc.

Big Time Business Development Services

Professional Equipment

Elite Software

The HVAC Source

Education Online Search

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Education Portal links to education and training services in the U.S.