WHY? WHERE? WHO? WHEN? HOW? No matter what position you hold in an HVACR company — distributor or manufacturer — you have a bond created by a common goal with your fellow employees — that is: to grow the business. You've probably heard the often quoted slogan, "Our company is only as good as our people."
While quality of product, attitude of employees, team culture and outstanding customer service are keys to success in any business, one more point impacts that future — namely, personal and professional development. Where education is encouraged and supported, the results speak for themselves.
HARDI is embarking on some major changes in both the delivery of education and the structural organization of the volunteer core directing it. Let me begin with the latter. At its recent midyear meeting, HARDI leadership merged two previous committees, Education and Executive Development, into the new Professional Development & Training Committee. Co-chairs Tom Hansch (G.W. Berkheimer) and Russ Geary (Geary Pacific) will lead the new group along with Vice-Chairs Ken Perotta (Crescent Parts & Equipment), Bryan Boyd (A/C Supply Company), Jim Bunce (Tradeview/AVI Systems, Inc.) and Wayne Castor (GBG Inc). They came together in June to hammer out the new direction for learning and career development for HARDI members. Everyone agreed that our concentration of effort will be along three areas: career development, executive training and technical skill enhancements.
Several new initiatives have already begun, including the HARDI Distribution Learning Network (DLN), which is both a learning management system AND a library of online courses that can be taken 24/7. We've organized the DLN by job title, so a student can readily identify what suggested programs they should take to fully reach the level of performance for that job. See the DLN sidebar below for details.
Another major effort to help both individuals and companies is the research consortia conducted through Texas A&M's School of Industrial Distribution. A companion article in this issue talks about the results of the most recent one, “Sales and Marketing Optimization.” We will present the best practices learned from this research study as a training seminar specific to the HVACR industry Sept. 27-28, 2010, in the Chicago area. Visit www.hardinet.org/events to get complete details.
HARDI also co-sponsors a series of webinars with other distributor associations on a regular basis. This fall, the series will kick off with "Lead Generation and Buyer Behavior," featuring David Nour as speaker, followed by "Web Analytics" featuring Bob DeStefano.
HARDI's two premier learning opportunities — the Independent Study Institute (ISI) and the Certified Counter Specialist (CCS) — continue to be one of the best sources for comprehensive learning available to distributors. A series of 11 courses (you can take one or all), the ISI is available in hard-copy, self-study format. HARDI awards a certificate upon successful completion of each course. See the list of titles in the ISI sidebar, right.
So when you think about personal development, consider this: Where do you fit in your company's business? What value-added contribution can you bring to yourself as well as the company? How can HARDI help you along your career journey?
This brings me back to the Why, Where, Who, When and How at the beginning. Why spend time and money learning? Because, in this fast-paced world, the one who stops learning will be left behind. Any knowledge you gain brings value to you and to your company. Where do I find good programs? HARDI is working to become the central resource for your educational needs. Along with the many programs listed here, HARDI supports the role of community colleges, many of which have quality courses in HVACR available to the adult learner. Who should get the training? You and your staff. Knowledge has no value unless you are transferring it. When an entire team receives training, it raises the overall performance of the department. When should I start? Now. If formal classes don't fit your schedule, try the online method of learning. It works, and even better, it works when YOU are available. How do I get started? Go to the Education and Training tab on the HARDI website www.hardinet.org and click on the links in the browse box to see what's available. HARDI staff welcome your calls and can provide personalized service to help define your educational path. You can reach us at 888/235-2128.
Finally, don't forget that the Annual HARDI Conference is a superb way to get in-person education and information on the state of the industry. This year's event, Oct. 23-26 in Houston, TX, features Jeffrey Gitomer, Michael Marks, Al Bates, Sid Strickland and Jeff Dietrich from the Institute for Trend Research®.
HARDI is working to bring you all the advantages of learning. We welcome your suggestions for add-ons or future offerings you would like to see.
Patricia Kutt is HARDI's director of education. Contact her at 614/345-4328 or [email protected].
Distribution Learning Network
The HARDI Distribution Learning Network (DLN) is both a Learning Management System (LMS) and a library of online HVACR education on demand 24/7.
At the heart of the DLN is a robust reporting framework offering administrators and managers access to more than 50 training performance, utilization and registration reports.
- Lower total cost of training.
- Measurable returns on training investment.
- Increased workforce productivity and satisfaction.
- Ability to manage the training efforts of your people.
The DLN adapts to your internal hierarchy by organizing your students into groups, thus simplifying the administration of training. You can see where along the learning path each employee is.
Track and Report
The DLN has 135 courses currently available online. For ease of use, they have been categorized into typical job positions in a distributorship. Programs from 30 minutes in length to OSHA Safety Courses of 30 hours can be accessed using this system. Courses include EPA, OSHA instruction, RSES training, NATE-recognized education and business and professional topics for those in management positions as well as those who wish to move up in their career.
It's simple, it's quick and it's available now. www.hardinet.org/dln.
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