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USA Fire & Burglar Alarm: A Culture of Education

Posted By Jason Unger, Thursday, February 23, 2012
Most businesses look to have a company culture that positively impacts their employees, not only to help them more effectively do their jobs, but also to help them grow.

At Harahan, LA-based USA Fire & Burglar Alarm, that culture begins with training. "It's very much a culture of education at USA," says Gerrit Brusse, the company's Regional Sales Manager.

From the moment they're hired at the company to ongoing training, employees at USA are positioned to grow in their positions and in the industry. "When people understand and buy into the fact that they are set up to succeed, you get employees who really care about the company, the customer and what they do," says Brusse.

The company, which Brusse says is small but growing rapidly, is very selective during the interview process for new employees. When new hires come onboard, they spend a month in training and learning about the different positions in the company - sales, tech and operations.

"It's really important for new hires to understand how the business works," says Brusse. "That month [of training] becomes important so they learn the culture of the company."

Brusse can speak first-hand to the experience, as he's relatively new to USA. "The bulk of my first month was spent soaking in and observing the different roles people play in the organization," he says. "That really has been my experience here through the first six weeks."

All employees working in operations take NTS's Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level 1, while sales staff take Understanding Alarm Systems (recently renamed Understanding Electronic Security Systems). From there, teams go through training twice a week.

"We go through training with operations on Monday and Wednesday. Every week, every technician," says Brusse. Sales staff also meet twice a week. "We're getting together and talking about the soft skills of selling, product information and technical information so we can be more effective in the field."

This type of ongoing training helps reveal specialties that new employees may be interested in. "Typically, when you're able to create that culture of training and expose people to all of these different topics, you're able to more easily identify which of those employees really has a passion for one area of the business," says Brusse, adding that he recently was asked by an employee how he could learn more about video products.

The benefits of ongoing training are obvious, Brusse says. "An organization that can provide training guidance and develop its existing employee base is going to retain employees," adding that it's a big expense to hire and train new people, so keeping them as existing employees saves the company money.

Of course, the fact that proper training saves the company from going back to job sites to fix errors makes a big impact. "If you can get it done the first time, it can be a substantial savings - especially over the course of a year," says Brusse.

With the industry shifting to sales and installation of interactive services, including home automation and energy management, Brusse says companies will need a new set of skills to succeed. "That alone represents a brand identity crisis for many security companies," he says.

But there are plenty of resources to help, such as NTS and industry vendors. "Most manufacturers are eager to help train on both sides - technology and customer interaction/sales," says Brusse. "They can be a tremendous resource. I encourage other folks to reach out to their vendor partners if they're struggling."

At USA, education and training are available to all - and everyone participates. "It really is about a culture of learning," he says.

Tags:  February 2012  Profile  USA Fire and Burglar Alarm 

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