Integrators have technicians of varying skill levels. From integrator to integrator those technicians are completely different in terms of their given skills, certifications, titles, pay scales, etc. Even within an integrator there is usually no clearly defined structure for what defines an Entry Level, Mid Level, or Senior Level Tech. The use of a training matrix becomes incredibly powerful in defining the role of each technician as well as determining which work orders or tasks can be assigned to a given individual.
It’s worth noting that this method can be used for other production roles such as project managers, engineers, programmers, etc. It can also be used in administrative functions like accounting and others. To illustrate the technique we will focus on technicians.
Begin by reviewing the types of knowledge that will be required by your technicians. Typical areas to consider include:
- Cabling & Terminations
With a narrow focus of installed solutions begin to look at the given brands, series, and specific products that occupy each category. If you have multiple brands for every category and multiple products for every brand you will see that it becomes increasingly difficult to develop and implement a streamlined training matrix.
There are different places to find information to include in your training matrix. I would suggest using existing content but it is also possible to create your own. Rather than using information (text or articles) and pushing it at an employee I would suggest a learning platform that has testing built-in to the modules. Examples:
- Manufacturers: There is great content being created by manufacturers and many have a Learning Management System (LMS) built-in to their dealer portals. You can use the Categories and Brands/Products from above to specifically call-out the training courses required.
- Industry: Groups like CEDIA have training courses and an LMS to help with general knowledge
- Shadowing/On-Site: There may not be an existing learning module to teach a given skill and it has to be taught by shadowing other employees in an on-site setting. In this case you can implement the “See, Say, Do” method. Clearly define the goal of what is being taught. The student will See (watch/observe) the instructor execute, then Say (repeat back) what they observed to show they understand the concept, then Do (execute) the function themselves while being observed by the instructor. The instructor signs off that the given skill has been taught.
Once you know the learning modules you have to achieve your goals you can then create layers and apply them according. Not all technicians need every skill. In fact, teaching every skill to every technician can be incredibly inefficient and expensive. I suggest having at least two employees with a given skill. This creates a Primary and Backup with limited exposure should an employee be absent. The size and complexity of your organization will dictate who learns what and how many of each you will need.
|Audio & Video||Generic||Basics/Fundamentals||✓||✓||✓|
|Audio & Video||Atlona||Level 100||✓||✓||✓|
|Lighting/Shading||Lutron||Radio RA Level 1||✓||✓||✓|
|Audio & Video||Atlona||Level 200||✓||✓|
|Control||C4||Level 1 (Prog)||✓||✓|
|Control||Savant||Level 1 (Prog)||✓||✓|
|Lighting/Shading||Lutron||Radio RA Level 2||✓||✓|
|Control||Savant||Level 2 (Prog)||✓|
Evaluation & Training:
You can now take each tech and determine which modules have been completed and which are missing. That information can be used to develop training tracks for each technician. You can also begin to allocate time for the technicians to complete the given trainings that help to strengthen your organization.
These levels also make it easier to standardize your pay plans. You can allocate ranges to each technician type and help employees understand what it takes to elevate to the next level.