Rapidly Skill-Up Facilities Maintenance Technicians with Well-Designed Onboarding

Rapidly Skill-Up Facilities Maintenance Technicians with Well-Designed Onboarding
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Providing effective, efficient onboarding training to newly hired employees (and current employees moving into new job positions) is one of the most impactful training investments an organization can make. A well-designed onboarding program can help support the newly hired worker’s development of the knowledge and skills they’ll need to work at the new organization and in the new job role. 

Providing effective onboarding helps the employee develop necessary skills, and that of course also helps the organization reach its business goals. But additionally, when a new employee goes through a well-designed onboarding program, the employee will feel more supported at the new job, they are more likely to be satisfied with and engaged on the job, and they’re much less likely to leave the job quickly (which leads to a very painful and costly “churn” of hiring, training, and then hiring again). 

If you’d like some insight into the heavy costs of having disengaged employees leaving a FM organization, and how one FM organization developed a robust training program that reduced that problem, please check our recorded Developing a FM Tech Training Program to Improve Retention webinar (this is a real case-study of a training program Vector Solutions helped a FMM customer implement). 

In this article, we’re going to give you a few tips for creating a helpful onboarding program for your facilities maintenance technicians and building engineers. If you’d like to get even more details, please download our Effective Employee Onboarding guide and/or listen to our recorded Effective Onboarding Programs webinar.

5 Tips for More Effective Facilities Maintenance Onboarding

Although we encourage you to download our onboarding guide for a more comprehensive view, following these five simple tips will help you greatly in developing and delivering your onboarding program so your FM organization will see better results. 

1. Partner with Other Departments

Create partnerships with other departments and the people in them to help develop and deliver your onboarding program(s). At minimum, consider working with and getting the participation of HR, learning and development, corporate management, safety, security, environmental, and IT.

Onboarding new hires is an all-hands-on-deck proposition. Building a team with these departments and more will make it much easier to develop your onboarding program but will also ensure that your program is more effective and leads to desired learning and performance outcomes. 

2. Provide General & Job-Specific Components

In the onboarding guide we’ve included in this article, we recommend considering a four-phased onboarding program. But to keep it simple in this article, make sure your onboarding program includes a section that deals with general information about your organization as well as specific information about the new employee’s actual job. 

During the general component, introduce employees to your organization. Explain your industry, what makes your organization unique, and your brand. Discuss mission, values, principles, and organizational culture. Discuss general safety, security, and IT issues that are relevant for all employees. And don’t forget to set up a lunch so the new hires can relax and get to know one another better, too!

During the job-specific component, focus in on what the new employee needs to know and do for his/her actual new job. Set up expectations and plans for recurrent meetings with the employee and the manager; partner the new hire with a “work buddy” and a “mentor;” consider an OJT program for the worker, and develop additional learning activities you’ll provide to the worker over time. 

3. Spread Out Onboarding Over Time

Two common mistakes with onboarding programs are (1) compressing them into too little time and (2) “firehosing” the new employee with too much information too quickly. 

Don’t think of onboarding as something that occurs in a few days, a week, or two weeks. 

Instead, think of onboarding as a program that may take as much as a year and will then feed workers into continual upskilling or even continuing education learning activities. 

4. Use a Blend of Online & “Offline” Learning

Studies show that training programs using a “mix” or “blend” of learning delivery styles (such as face-to-face and online training) result in better learning and performance results than do learning programs that use only face-to-face or only online. See our Guide to Blended Learning Solutions for more on this. 

Create a well-designed blend of learning activities that includes written materials or videos, hands-on OJT training, classroom-style instructor-led training, online training, and more. 

For the online training, consider using the 3D-animated facilities maintenance training library offered by Vector Solutions. Watch the short overview video below, check out our website to learn more, and feel free to ask us for a demo.

For more thoughts on blended learning, check out our article on the 70/20/10 learning model as well.

5. Use a Learning Management System (LMS)

A learning management system (LMS) is a cloud-based software application that automates many training management and administration tasks. 

Your organization can use an LMS to help implement your onboarding program, including the parts that occur online as well as those that occur offline. This includes:

  • Training import and creation
  • Knowledge and skill checks/assessments 
  • Assigning training  
  • Training delivery
  • Managing due dates, training expiration dates, and training recurrence needs 
  • Credit and tracking training completion
  • Reporting
  • Notification
  • Mobile learning
  • Performance support 

Using a learning management system will make it easier for you to manage your onboarding, deliver it, and even personalize it for each worker. 

Conclusion: Onboarding Supercharges Your Skill Development & Employee Retention Efforts 

We hope you found this article helpful and wish you luck in designing a fantastic onboarding program for your maintenance techs. If you’d like to talk with us more to see how we can help you with your FMM training and continuing education programs, let us know.

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