According to Hyde, one example is a recent hire – “a 20-year-old tech who looks like he’s 12. But he is a sponge for knowledge. He retains what he learns and puts it into practice immediately. This young man is as smart as can be.”
Hyde says his team sent the new tech to NCI courses, internal training, and even soft skills training.
“We do this so our techs are better at working with customers and co-workers,” he explains. “Half the battle is being polite, nice, and courteous when doing maintenance work. Do that, and you win the customer. Their equipment isn’t broken, so the maintenance techs aren’t under the same stress as an emergency repair.
“Also, by using the digital tools we have available, including digital documentation, managers are just a phone call or Facetime call away from helping the new techs in real-time when they encounter problems. And young people are all over that.
“This new kid we hired was so good, I kiddingly asked if he could clone himself or get someone like him to work for us. And he did! We wound up bringing in a few other great young techs, and they are fantastic. They’re just picking it up so fast. They’re not afraid of the new tools. They are helping us to build up our service and maintenance base.
“Plus, working in maintenance,” Hyde adds, “gives our newer field people a lot of experience. The result is that they grow very quickly.”
Even Hyde installers who want to move into service can do it. They undergo the same process – maintenance first, training, and NATE certification.
By doing this, the company now has several former installers working in service, which, according to Hyde, really helps in a pinch during peak periods when they need another installation crew.
He says the former installers are great at volunteering to install when needed. They don’t complain or say, ‘That’s beneath me. I’m a service guy now. I don’t do installations.’
“Talk about creating great team camaraderie! Another benefit of this approach is that we rarely overwork our guys on the installation side. I think that’s part of why we have a lot of long, long-tenured people here,” Hyde continues.
Training Is the Secret Weapon
Michael Hyde is proud to describe himself as a lifelong NCI guy. “I’ve been to every NCI Summit program. I’ve won their Small Contractor of the Year award. For us, training is our secret weapon.
“We conduct training nearly every day,” Hyde says. “Everyone in the company gets some training, even our office team. We focus on customer service training with them. We’ll have technical training. We’ll do manufacturer training and NCI classes.
“The industry has seen the value of NCI’s High-Performance HVAC training over the years. I recently read something that emphasized how HVAC contractors had to be NATE or NCI certified. This attribution shows the value of investing in NCI training.
“Over the years, I understood that training is never a one-time deal. You can’t go to a class one time and be ready to take on the world because now you’re an expert. Training is a continual thing. You need feedback. You need practice. Anyone who says they can’t afford the time or cost to train their team is making a huge mistake,” Hyde says.
“When it comes to my experience, NCI training has changed the way we do business. In the early days, Rob Falke taught me the importance of continuing education and how the costs of that education must be built into the cost of doing business.
“He also taught me that we should never stop doing what we are good at. Rob told me to start in our comfort zone and work outwards. And he said consistently to do the things that make money. Just add to them. Business is never an all-or-nothing
“My takeaway from that and many other conversations with Rob and other NCI team members is to do things in steps. In the end, if you treat your employees and your clients well, you will have success.”
For these and many other reasons, the team at High-Performance HVAC Today magazine re-shines our spotlight on Hydes Air Conditioning and Heating in Indio, CA. Congratulations to Michael Hyde and the entire team.