Zero to Sixty in 90 Days Part II: Getting New Hires Productive ASAP

employee training program

In my previous post, we began our discussion of the benefits and necessities of having a formal on-boarding program in place for all new hires. Today, we will continue that conversation with another great example. 

Mark IV Builders, a design build remodeling firm in Bethesda, MD, took an approach similar to Mind & Media's to training new hires. CEO Mark Scott hired my firm to help them develop a program that would get their new salespeople fully productive in the shortest time possible. Included among Mark IV Builders' many unique service offerings is a 12-week production schedule that every job is designed and completed around with a dedicated superintendent whose only responsibility is that client until the job is completed.

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Prior to the implementation of this program, Mark was the company’s only salesperson and had maxed out his available time. He wanted to grow the company and realized that he needed to hire and train more salespeople. One of his concerns was that even with hiring salespeople with extensive experience in construction, there were so many unique aspects to how Mark IV operates that he felt it would take these employees a really long time to be fully productive. He was also concerned that the time he would have to spend training them would take him away from his sales efforts, which might result in a decline in business.

His solution included performing all pre-hiring processes to ensure that he recruited the best candidates. He also designed and implemented a 90-day ramp-up program that looked something like this:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Company History

Mark

Training Program OverviewRoles & Responsibilities Service Guarantee                                   

Intro to Production

Andy

Dedicated Super

Customer Service

Estimating

Kirk

Estimating Procedures         

Estimating

Kirk

Vendor Review

Purchasing

Estimating

Kirk

Allowances           

Long Lead Items                        

Lunch w/ J & K

Lunch w/ A & K

Lunch w/ K

Lunch w/ A & P

Lunch w/ M & P

Administration  - Jeanne

Cust. Billing Payroll Procedures (sales Commissions) Phone, email, office/desk set up            

Intro to Production

Andy

Paper Trail           Supervisor Training Manual Review

Estimating

Kirk

Estimating Checklist

Design Agreement & Payments      

Estimating

Kirk

Trade Day         

Final or contract Budget"            

TEST DAY

Kirk

Develop Estimate           

Develop the Design Agreement            

Develop Final Contract

A schedule was developed for each of the first 12 weeks on the job. Weeks 2-7 included working on a different job site with each of Mark IV’s superintendents, to learn how Mark IV and the superintendent operate. The final two weeks of the program included extensive Mark IV sales training, with specific advice on how to incorporate existing experience with the Mark IV way of selling. And at the end of each week, the new recruits were tested on the knowledge they had acquired.

Since almost every employee at the company contributed to the training program, Mark suddenly had a lot more time on his hands. The new salespeople were integrated into the company culture by the end of the three months. The end result: Mark IV far exceeded that year’s sales goals.

Even the most experienced employees deserve the opportunity to learn about how things are done at your company, so that they can be fully productive as soon as possible. Your new employees should not be expected to seek out their training on their own! And if you do expect that of them, then you can be assured that it will take longer than 90 days for them to integrate fully into your company. So why would you choose to do that if you don't have to?

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