For a growing pest control business, finding the time to fit training and recertification courses into the schedule can be a challenge under normal circumstances. Add a global pandemic where technicians don’t come to the office regularly and traditional in-person recertification courses are canceled, and you have a conundrum.
Fortunately, Lauren Thrasher, president of Thrasher Termite & Pest Control in So Cal, San Diego, was already delving into research on how to integrate learning management software into the training mix of 30+ employees. of the company.
“We were using the online training available through Veseris ProTraining platform to make it easier for our technicians to earn CEUs, ”says Thrasher. “It was practical before but even more so with the current situation.”
The online training that many vendors, associations and industry groups now offer helps Thrasher complement and grow the company’s internal training efforts.
The family-owned business, which serves all of San Diego County, had a basic onboarding program and traditional in-person meetings to review new information on pest identification, application techniques, or labels. With the online training resources that are now available, the company can offer its technicians more opportunities to develop their skills.
Thrasher says she enjoys the soft skills classes that focus on developing leadership skills or how to interact more effectively with clients. She considers these skills to be as valuable to technicians as their technical competence.
“It’s amazing what is available online and how it fits into what we want to accomplish over the long term with our technician training and development plans,” adds Thrasher.
She says company technicians appreciate having access to information that introduces new concepts, but serves as a reminder of a certain application technique or equipment they haven’t used for some time. .
During the COVID-19 crisis, Thrasher and her husband, Garrett, used Microsoft Teams to stay in touch with employees and they plan to continue using the technology in the future.
“We definitely plan to use technology to facilitate the way we share information,” says Thrasher. “It gives a lot more flexibility to connect everyone. ”
Online training is not something Thrasher considers limited to employees. One area the company is exploring is sharing bed bug or fumigation pre-checklist videos online with customers. This information is usually sent by mail or email, but with the increase in consumers’ “click and play” habits, short videos can be an effective way to communicate this important information.
Thrasher herself saw the value of online training during the pandemic. She has participated in numerous webinars focused on how to lead the business through the crisis.
“We were initially looking for information on how to keep the business going in case we couldn’t go out and serve customers,” says Thrasher. “Once we found out that we could have our technicians there, it turned into me as I delved into leadership and management topics to help run the business.”
Thrasher says she believes more knowledge is power, and that online training can be helpful for both technicians and management.
“Active and engaged learning is our goal and we plan to continue to find ways to continue our efforts through online training,” says Thrasher. “This will not only be good for the growth of the company, but especially for our employees.”