The decision to make the commitment to grow a skilled team ready to service your customers’ needs before they arrive is not entirely painless, but like anything unfamiliar, it’s a plan that will help get great results. The first step in this commitment to training is to establish standards of performance around how your team learns new skills. Here we will discuss the first steps in creating that plan, beginning with the introduction of a new role in your organization: the learning manager.
This person could be the shop owner, a service manager or an administrator who manages human resources for the company. Whoever takes this role must be willing to be held to the same standard of performance as any other role in your organization. In a modern repair facility, the learning manager’s role is to manage the following:
- Identify and/or create all job roles in the business
- Identify and/or create the learning plan for each job role
- Evaluate each team member and ensure they are placed in the appropriate role
- Assign each team member to a career path and learning plan and hold them accountable for their learning
- Ensure the organization has the commitment of the owner for all the above
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Let’s go through each of these points in detail. The first step is to make sure you clearly define job roles for everyone in the business. It is important to create job roles that fit your business model, not just who you have on your team at the time. We could spend an infinite amount of time writing a job description and job role, so we will just cover the high-level points. I encourage you to do research on creating a job role. A best practice in creating a job role is to include the following basic elements:
- Position details – general information about the job, including title and summary
Job duties – this is the “what they do” section and conveys the scope and level of responsibility
- Key accountabilities – 3 to 5 main areas of responsibility, i.e. “Vehicle Inspection”
- Duty statements – 2 to 3 detail statements for each key accountability
- Percentage of time – estimate of time spent in each key accountability area
- Performance standards – this is the “how they do the job” section and provides the details and expectations for the job. It also provides a basis for measuring performance.
Job factors – outlines the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the job
- Minimum education, years of experience, and ongoing education
A well-written job role/description will illustrate the training areas needed to successfully perform the duties of the job and maintain that level of performance, especially as technologies continue to change. Another best practice is to align each job role around ASE topic areas. For example, a C-level technician might need to have knowledge and skills in suspension and steering (A4), brakes (A5) and engines (A1); a B-level technician might need to have knowledge and skills in all ASE areas (A1-A8); while an A-level technician is required to have knowledge and skill in all areas, including the advanced topics of A9, L1, L2 and L3. Using ASE topic areas aligns your job roles with those of NATEF-certified vocational programs and will serve you well as you hire new technicians in the future. Once we have the job roles defined, we will create the learning plan.