ESA offers customizable onboarding, staff development training program

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Monday, February 17, 2020

DALLAS—Cookie-cutter training just won’t “cut” it for this industry. Delivering the right type of training, along with content that helps professional students in their current roles, as well as sets them up for success going forward, is of utmost importance. Understanding this, the Electronic Security Association (ESA) recently launched Training as a Service (TaaS), its customizable, in-house employee onboarding and staff development program focused specifically on the electronic security industry.

“Considering the current climate with regard to desirable employees, it is imperative that we educate and invest in the development of those who we hire with the mindset that our retention rates increase,” Angela White, partner, Central 1 Security and immediate past president of ESA, told Security Systems News. “Additionally, when smaller companies have less fringe benefits to offer, many candidates are enamored by personal, professional development. As business owners, we are also familiar with the potential liabilities associated with our industry; having formally trained employees affords a greater level of comfort, in addition to sales advantages in competitive bid situations, along with insurance discounts.”

A volunteer Task Force of industry professionals helped develop the program over the course of a year, including Tommy Whisnant, CPI Security Systems; Robert Grove, Select Security; Angela White, Central 1 Security; Bob Boland, Custom Alarm; and Scott Triolo, Complete Security Systems. This team will consistently update the program as it rolls out more participants, each with their own unique requirements and preferences. 

“ESA selected members with diverse backgrounds, representing all facets of the electronic life safety and security industry to serve on the Task Force,” Tracy Dalrymple, certification and career development manager, ESA, explained. “In particular, we chose individuals who played a direct role with hiring and training technicians within their company.”

Collaboration of many minds brought courses to light that individually would have never been compiled. Specialists from ESA’s National Training School (NTS) work with company training managers to select the precise courses that will fast-track the success of new and experienced employees based on the company’s specific needs, such as licensing requirements and skills. 

“Each Tier of TaaS consists of a recommended track of core courses designed for today’s technicians,” Dalrymple explained. “Then, depending on a company’s unique needs, state licensing requirements and existing skill levels of employees, the remaining electives can be selected to help round out the training."

Tier 1 TaaS courses, which are now available to all ESA members, are designed from employees with zero to six months of employment and include 69 hours of technical, safety and communication skills, and topical industry trends training. Upon completion, participants will earn the ESA Systems Technician Completion Certificate, Level 1 Certified Alarm Technician Certification and the OSA 10-hour Certification. Tier 2 is designed for employees with six to 18 month of employment, will include more technical training and electives, and will be available during first quarter 2020. 

“Each student has their own unique learning and communication styles, and being able to adapt training to different audiences is the key to a training’s success,” Dalrymple said. “TaaS was designed with this in mind and utilizes many different modalities. Short, interactive learning exercises, games videos and quizzes are all incorporated to enhance the learning experience.”

The TaaS experience also provides reporting features and allows supervisor access to track the progress of their employees. Reminders help keep students on track and NTS representatives work closely with companies to ensure student success.

As the industry continues to change and progress, components of TaaS will be updated accordingly. Sales training, project management, and additional communication and workforce skills are all on the horizon for TaaS. “In a future roll out, we are also adding ‘Field Check-ins’ that will require the supervisor to assess the technicians’ ability to demonstrate a skill while they are out in the field,” Dalrymple added. “This will provide the company with the ability to assess whether the employee is able to apply the training into the real world.” 

TaaS was designed to be a resource to small, medium and large companies that perform a variety of work within electronic security.

“The real advantage of TaaS, as an employer, is that we can single source our training and be assured that our technicians are getting foundational knowledge, regardless of what our individual company’s focus is,” said White."Once a candidate completes the ‘basic training,’ he or she can complete their training in any number of concentrations.”

For more information about this program, visit esaweb.org/taas.