“So the fourth generation of Youngs are coming on board,” Doug says. “When I joined the company, people told my dad how excited they were because it meant that the family would keep operating the business. They like working for us.
“Today, I’m getting the same comments about my sons coming in and the fact that people like to work here. There’s a sense that there will be continuity of our strong culture.”
Customer Tech Fluency is A Must
Behler-Young is very focused on spreading its family approach to business outwards to the HVAC contracting community they serve. Doug Young says the company’s territory managers and salespeople need to be capable of communicating clearly to contractor customers, but he also wants those contractors to be fluent in speaking clearly to their customers.
“When you’re a 97-year-old company, training becomes a core part of how you operate,” he explains. “My dad got us into training back in the 70s and 80s. We trained contractors in the state of Michigan. Whether it’s technical training, product training, sales method, or business training, we try to offer contractors help.
“We conduct classes in conjunction with our vendors. Organizations like BDR get into sales and business training, NCI focuses on technical training, etc. There are a lot of service providers out there that provide training.
We used to have just three training centers in Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Lansing, which required contractor technicians to drive quite a ways to attend. Today, to make things easier, most of our branches have a training room set up to fit 40 to 60 people. Plus, technology plays a central role in the company’s efforts to advance the education of contractors as well as internal staff.”
Technology Has a Key Role
“I believe technology plays a significant role across all aspects of our business. In fact, that is an understatement,” says Young.
“Our president, Dave DeJonge, is a technology activist. In any place where he feels we can better serve our people, customers, or vendors, he looks to take advantage of technology – from software to APIs and more.
“We have a robust LMS (learning management system) so people can get online, take classes, and track where they are in that training. Because some classes are required, and some are optional, we track what training they’re doing to better assess promotional opportunities.”
Behler-Young is proud to promote from within. As positions open internally due to a promotion, retirement, or whatever, it creates a domino effect of sorts.
Says Young, “We promote someone into an open position, and then must fill the role that the promoted person just left and so on. It’s amazing how many positions that can affect.”
“As we bring in people or move people up through the ranks, we’ll teach them what they need to know. They need to have the right attitude and meet our core values.”
So, what are the Behler-Young Core Values? Young says there are four of them, and they are:
- We care about others – Doug says this is about their team, customers, and community
- We do the right thing – Doug’s grandfather always said a company that practices honesty and integrity will prosper. Doug says honesty and integrity are central to the company’s values
- We pursue great rather than good – This focuses on continuous improvement, always striving to do better
- We do whatever it takes – Behler-Young works hard and, according to Doug, is recognized for providing superior service.
“In everything we do, we relate it to one of those core values,” he says. “And we talk about those values to constantly remind people about what it means to be really good at our business. That’s the foundation of our culture.”
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