Training temporary employees in a short amount of time can be a daunting task. These 4 steps can help you prepare basic HVAC training for peak season.
This summer’s going to be another hot one. With skilled staffing shortages, you know your current team will be overwhelmed by the number of calls you get this summer. If you managed to hire some seasonal help, congratulations — help is on the way. But now there’s the question of how you’ll get them up to speed in time.
We understand the pressure. FTL Finance hires seasonal employees every summer, too, so we know a thing or two about the challenges of getting folks ramped up quickly. Following these four tips should help make seasonal onboarding a breeze.
PREP YOUR YEAR-ROUND EMPLOYEES
Before you bring in seasonal employees, sit down with your year-round employees. New employees can be threatening if they’re not expecting them, especially in this uncertain economy. Be clear that their jobs are not in jeopardy; these employees are only there for the summer to help make the workload easier for everyone. If you do intend to bring a couple more people on full-time, be transparent about that, too. Just make sure to reiterate that their jobs are safe.
Once your year-round team is on board, it’s time to prepare them for the new hires. Since there’s not much time to get your seasonal help up to speed, you’ll need all hands on deck. Ask your senior staff to help with basic HVAC training so you’re not tackling it by yourself. Consider pairing each year-round employee with a seasonal employee for one-on-one help. This way, you maximize your resources, and your entire team feels important and involved.
INVEST IN ONBOARDING
Your tech onboarding process for seasonal hires will look a little different than your normal onboarding process. You don’t have as much time to get them up to speed, so the focus should be on basic HVAC training. The nitty gritty stuff can wait until there’s free time or when you’re ready to bring these hires on full-time.
HR professional Wendy N. Kelly suggests four tips for successful seasonal tech onboarding:
Be intentional about welcoming new hires to the team.
Create to-do lists for yourself, managers, mentors, and new hires.
Ensure everyone’s ducks are in a row before the new hires arrive.
Focus on the critical aspects of the job during onboarding and non-critical aspects throughout peak season.
So how does this look in practice? Think about the most common problems you get every summer, like leaks. Focus your training on fixing those problems. You can send your newer techs out on those calls and reserve your more senior staff for more complicated jobs.
CULTIVATE A POSITIVE COMPANY CULTURE
As you’re navigating peak HVAC season, be sure to cultivate a positive company culture. You may already have a great culture throughout the year, but dynamics change when you add new people. You don’t want a mentality of “us” (year-round employees) vs. “them” (seasonal employees). This is where mentorships come in handy. By assigning each temp tech a mentor, you’re bridging that divide. A positive company culture will also encourage employees to return next summer.
While they’re working with you, treat your temporary staff the same as you would full-time employees. If you have training sessions throughout the summer for year-round employees, invite seasonal employees, too. You can always make it optional if it goes beyond basic HVAC training and isn’t essential to their performance. But this way, they’re still included. And if you have employees who you know will return next summer, invite them to training sessions throughout the year, too, not just during the peak HVAC season.
WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER
No matter your approach, there’s a lot of basic HVAC training to fit into a short time. To make the most of your time, use the tools that are available to you. For example, Trane Technologies has developed HVAC training software to help your techs diagnose and fix basic problems. This way, you can send employees out on their own sooner, freeing up more resources.
Digital tools also come in handy for offering financing to your customers. Unless you work with financing daily, it can feel like an intimidating topic to understand and talk about. Your new hires may not be comfortable discussing it with your customers, meaning someone else has to have the financing conversation — suddenly, your freed-up resources are restricted again.
FTL Finance’s user-friendly tools make offering financing easy, even for seasonal hires. All your techs need is a little training on our project estimator; once they know how to use it, the tool will do most of the work for them. Your techs won’t need to memorize numbers like interest rates or do any math for monthly payment options — everything is available in the project estimator. This provides a more comfortable way for your seasonal hires to offer financing so your team can divide and conquer whatever busy season brings.