Most security integration companies work to make sure their employees are well rounded in their understanding of the alarm industry. At Lynn, Mass.-based Wayne Alarm Systems, new employees learn from every possible asset available to them.
New technicians receive training from every possible angle: textbooks, vendors, co-workers, and more, says Jim Keighley, Technical Operations Manager.
The company, which does a number of Honeywell TotalConnect installations, brings the vendor in to train, and then relies on one employee to be the go-to for the company.
"I'll appoint one technician, and he'll become the expert when it comes to TotalConnect or [another] product," says Keighley.
Wayne Alarm hosts technical meetings once a month, where they get together and go over different topics. "We do rely heavily on the vendors,” says Keighley.
But beyond product-specific education, new employees spend their first few days with the company learning about the different functions and jobs.
The first day with the company, a new hire will sit with a central station operator for a day, says Keighley. The second day, they’ll spend it with the dispatching department and then with the sales department.
"Our thought is to have an understanding of how the whole business works," he says. "They see it from the inside out first.”
Keighley, who does the hiring, sets up the agenda for the new employee’s training. "He's going to get on the job training," he says.
New technicians will then shadow a current employee anywhere from 90 days to 6 months. "They need to work as a helper or assistant until they're prepared to do it [on their own]," says Keighley. "We like to have them learn the Wayne Alarm way."
Relying on current employees to be subject-matter experts and train new employees works well for the company. "It takes a special person to be able to not only get the work done under pressure, but at the same time explain some things to their assistant," he says.
Employees are encouraged to continue training and education, and receive a bonus for certifications. "We’re putting some incentives out there,” says Keighley. But a big focus is getting employees excited and energized about training on their own.
While the company’s focus has been on NICET, Keighley says more formal NTS instruction is in their future. "I really need to get more involved with NTS," he says.
Keighley sees the impact proper education and training has on the company. "It certainly affects the bottom line," he says.