What Does a Maintenance Training Program Look Like
Here are some consulting practices that AMI provides within our typical maintenance training system that AMI develops as we work alongside our clients and their staff.
- Current staff evaluation ( we use our own progressive exam that helps rank the team members) the advantage of this exam is it will make it clear as to who really knows their stuff and who needs further instruction.
- Rank internally the staff and define the strongest members and the weakest members (we don’t share this information publically) I use this information to set up future leadership teams (those top tier members need to be trained how to train and mentor others, they can also be set up as regional maintenance directors to be a resource for those other techs within their region) they would report to the Portfolio Manager or corporate Maintenance Director.
- Evaluate the learning styles of the lowest 75% of the staff (this helps determine the type of course layouts) that way we can design more focused delivery methods; Kinesthetic (hands on), Visual, or Audio. (the other 25% are getting it) In addition we do a psychological evaluation of the entire staff to get a feel for the type of personality styles we have and see if it correlates to their learning style, attitude, motivation, and ranking within the larger team.
- Introduce the curriculum for the training objectives for the year. Most start at the basic level in order to create a good baseline for learning the more advanced topics. (year one= Overview of Maintenance, Fair Housing & Customer Service, Grounds & Curb Appeal, and Turnover Techniques) (year two=Organization & Time Management, Basic Electrical Theory, Basic Plumbing, T-Stats, Heaters, and PTACS, ) ( year three=Basic Appliance Repair, Preventative Maintenance, Dealing with Contractors & Vendors, Painting like a Pro.) (year four= Budgets and Cost Control, Project Management, Building Practices &Capital Planning. We also recommend to offer ongoing trainings in addition to these annual tracks such as Dealing with Mold and Mildew, Safety & Decreasing on the job Injuries, and Policy and Procedure.
- You can have all staff traveling the same track or we have found separating groups into separate maintenance track (entry, intermediate, advanced, master) levels makes sense. It makes it difficult to instruct sometimes, but it puts the right students in their career level class and helps them see upward movement.
- Once Masters have achieved the requirements then they go into instructor or mentorship training. Most clients try to set up a training property in each region where a Master is located and can take on new hires to get them indoctrinated quickly into the “company way”.
- Recruiting, interviewing and qualifying can now be performed at the time of hire and these new hires can simply start the track from the bottom and work through all levels or have an option of testing out if they have a lot of experience.
- At AMI we are a big believer in systems and processes so we tend to set up some core systems at the sites as we come in to consult they are as follows:
- Annual Maintenance Plan Binder (AMP Binder) this AMP is a historical document and totally customized to the site, containing its components, central systems, common issues with solutions, emergency safety manual with utility locate maps, annual PM Schedule, and corresponding monthly schedule outline, in addition to forms, policy and procedure, vendor lists, and anything else that is deemed important to know at that site. This is the manual that is left at the site and is a living breathing document that can be added onto as seen fit. This simple binder has had a major impact on all properties where it has been implemented and trained.
- Work order tracking board, PM Inspection process, Turnover Vacancy / Scheduling system. These three major daily operational systems should all be standardized and trained constantly. There is a specific way that each of these systems should be implemented and completed site to site and many times they are left to chance and done haphazardly with no real purpose and hence much time and energy are lost in the process.
- Gathering PMI information and transferring it to punch lists, budgeting, and capital planning. This step is missed every day. Inspections are performed and some work orders may be done but rarely is this valuable field information transferred to budgetary planning and long term capital needs assessment planning for the next 3,5, and 10 year outlooks.
- Utilizing outside sources: although the need for maintenance training is great there are many pre-existing certification training formats that can be taken advantage of in addition to the AMI system. I use EPA certification for all HVAC training, the CPO for all pool and spa operators, and CAMT for those in the organization who may have higher aspirations at the corporate level.
- Lastly I take a look at the entire corporate and site operational efficiencies. Many companies don’t leverage their size into standardized common components and specifications at reduced costs from specified suppliers. Usually because they don’t understand how to get this done. We help them find global inefficiencies and develop solutions that can be implemented portfolio wide in order to increase revenue and decrease costs on daily operational activities that can be streamlined while maintaining high output.
Obviously each step is filled with different aspects and training-consulting components. The most important thing is to make it usable, customizable, and relevant. If maintenance staff don’t buy in then it was a waste of time and money, so AMI approaches training as a practice in discovering solutions to problems techs are dealing with every day rather than killing them with technical knowledge to show how smart we are. What they need are real world solutions, they need to be shown how successful techs approach this work and the techniques they practice that make them successful day in and day out.