Building More: Learn, Teach, Repeat

Words: Corey Adams

Corey Adams

A few weeks ago, our pool pump started acting up. We did what the majority of other pool owners would do: call the pool supply place. In this case, we had to call multiple. Between no callbacks, no-shows, and the general disinterest runaround, it seemed like filling in the pool would be a better option. This isn’t an article about answering your phones or providing great customer service; this is going to focus on the last call I made. 

A nice lady answered the phone, “How can I help you?” I explained what we had, what we were looking for, and wondered what she could tell me. Although she proceeded quite slowly, she was very polite and positive. Then she said something that may be off-script for most but gave me the inspiration for this article. “I am sorry. I just started two weeks ago, and I am still learning. I really enjoy it, and I learn something new every day.” How much do you want to bet that she is a good employee?

One of the easiest ways to identify good employees quickly is the desire to learn. Inquisitive people become more engaged in the activity. It is a human fact. Average to below-average employees do not care to learn more and, by consequence, do not care about your project or company. 

Where most contractors fall flat is that they do not teach or train with any consistency. There may be an onboarding process, grace period, or at least a getting to know each other phase, but that isn’t how we build good employees. We all need to do a better job of constant education for our employees. This will not only help us drive higher productivity but also help identify the employees we need to keep, promote, or let go.

Education is a lifelong event. Read that again, let it set in, count to ten, and then we can continue. 

We, as business owners, need to be on a constant quest for better information, education and thought process improvement. Everyone wants a clone of themselves in the company, but do we ever take the time to educate an employee to be one? Cloning ourselves may be scientifically years or eons away, but training our employees is an immediately beneficial substitute. 

As I say this, I do want to give a slight warning. Humans succeed based on individuality. What makes us different is what makes us stronger. So please do not think that everyone under you has to do everything your exact way. I have worked for people like that, and it is miserable. 

Educating an employee is not about training them in your ways; it is about giving them the tools and information to go their own way. Make them stronger in their strengths, then utilize those strengths to benefit the employee first and foremost and, in turn, your company.

Another area where we could all improve is the areas we educate in. I have seen many employees for multiple companies complete a “training” every year. The problem is these trainings are pretty much regurgitated year after year, offering no real advancement in knowledge. Probably the worst is when this training is all trade technical based. Branch out and teach all employees the ins and outs of a company. The good ones will latch on and see this information to prosper; the bad ones will stick out like a sore thumb.

Good employees want to be challenged, they want to learn, and they want to work for a company that invests in them mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

We are all limited in our ability to teach by the knowledge we have consumed. This is why we must educate ourselves daily, but do not stop there. Take the knowledge you have and teach it to your employees. Keep them growing and interested in a career with your company. It is a simple cycle that can pay huge dividends: learn, teach, repeat.

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