I have always believed that training is critical to the success of any organization. Our sales team, for example, goes through an eight-week training program in Atlanta and the operations managers do four weeks. We also conduct field training to ensure the classroom training is applied on the job. Train, track and follow-up are the three key pillars for effective training.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Words of wisdom! From the very beginning of IST we had our employees develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) both at the site level and the national level to ensure we do things according to the book. We even reward our employees by paying them $10 for every procedure they either write or update. If it’s a national procedure, we pay them $25 for each procedure developed or revised. The point is that our employees are intimately involved in the SOPs which later become training tools for future employees.
Two very significant training initiatives were developed by our own Jean-Robert “Jay” Lafont, National Director of Human Resources. The Site Manager Awareness & Response Training Program, also known as SMART, consists of 30 on-line training modules designed to help managers in a variety of areas including communications, conflict resolution and performance management. The program is voluntary. Employees can participate in the program with the recommendation of their operations manager. So far, 57 people at IST have completed the SMART program.
The SMART program is done at the employee’s own pace. They need to pass a 10-question quiz with each module and obtain at least an 80% score on the quiz in order to move on to the next module. There are also three writing assignments, and they are based on the employee’s experiences at IST. Once the program is completed, the employee receives a framed certificate signed by me in recognition of the accomplishment along with a gift as a token of our appreciation.
The second program that Jay launched is called “PACE” which stands for the Providing Awesome Client Experiences Program. This program consists of four modules consisting of a PowerPoint presentation and a ten question quiz. The topics include:
- How to Be a Good Employee
- Good Client Service Techniques
- Dress for Success &
- Business Etiquette
The PACE program was launched this year and 363 employees have already completed the program. All employees are eligible to participate in this program. Once you complete it, you will receive 100 dollars in Blackman Bucks and a $5 Starbucks Card in recognition of your achievement.
Both of these training programs are tracked in IST Suite. The goal is to train our employees to improve their management skills. We also need a strong bench of management candidates ready for that next promotion. We all should be striving for success. At IST, we encourage it! As Jay said, “I have seen more than a few employees who have completed the programs and are successful in their new positions and are well-regarded.”
Great job Jay for launching these training initiatives! Let’s face it– skills change rapidly and it is up to all of us to stay on our game especially as the technology changes. It is very important that we have skilled employees ready for career advancement at IST. So take charge of your career, and be ready when the opportunity presents itself. Thank you for all that you do!