Hiring, Training and Retaining Talent in 2019

In the pest management industry, employees are arguably a company’s greatest asset. Hiring and retaining strong talent is a challenge, especially for those who do not have a human resources background. QualityPro is here to help make the process easier by spelling out the important steps of the hiring process and providing resources to assist. With QualityPro, I hope you can spend time finding the right people rather than the right paperwork needed to hire them. To become accredited, companies must meet the 16 QualityPro standards, 13 of which have to do with hiring and training people. Applying the standards to your own business operations can go a long way in making your hiring process an easier one this spring.

Hiring Practices That Work

Spring is not just peak pest season in our industry. It is also a busy hiring season for many pest management companies. If your company is gearing up to add more people to your team, it is important to have an official process in place for carefully screening prospective employees to ensure you hire right the first time around. I encourage you to consider implementing the following steps for hiring an employee, as detailed in the latest version of the QualityPro standards.

1. Application (Standard 1.1): Prospective employees who are job applicants must complete a comprehensive employment application that includes the individual’s full name, address and phone number, job history and an explanation for employment gaps, among other information. A resume is not an acceptable substitute for an employment application but may be submitted in addition to the employment application.

2. Employment Interview Requirements (Standard 1.2): If the employer representative determines that the individual is “initially qualified,” he/she must conduct a face-to-face interview, live interview via webcam or video conferencing with the candidate.

3. Reference Check Requirements (Standard 1.3): Job candidates must sign a release authorizing prior employers to provide reference information. Employers must make a reasonable effort to contact all previous employers, employer agents or third-party automated employment verification companies that were noted on the application to confirm (at a minimum) dates of employment and position titles. This step will give the employer confidence that the candidate has a strong work ethic and the necessary skills for the position.

4. Conditional Job Offer: The employer representative can make a conditional job offer. Conditions include the findings of reports on criminal history, motor vehicle records (MVR) and drug tests.

5. Criminal Background Checks (Standard 1.4-1.6): Unless prohibited by a state or local law or regulation, employers must obtain criminal background reports from a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliant company for all current employees and prospective employees who have been offered a position. This helps to build a trustworthy team and ensures employers know the history of who they are hiring. Employers should also conduct and require pre-employment drug testing of prospective employees who have been offered a position. Furthermore, employers should adopt, implement and enforce a written drug-free workplace policy.

The Importance of Employee Training

Once you hire employees, the work does not stop there. Next up is training them. Trained employees are crucial to the success of every business, especially those within the pest management industry. Beyond earning recertification credits, employee education and training ensures that technicians have the knowledge and understanding necessary to provide consumers with a science-based, effective and least-risk professional pest management service. In turn, this gives customers confidence and builds trust, both of which can lead to winning more business.

Pest management companies have access to a variety of training resources through the National Pest Management Association’s Online Learning Center. QualityPro accredited companies also have access to QualityPro exams, which are used to prove all technicians and sales employees have the knowledge needed to represent an accredited company. The QualityPro exam proves an individual’s knowledge on pest biology and control, as well as consumer relations, safety and professionalism. Employers value the exam’s ability to ensure staff keeps up with education, and employees take pride in knowing they have passed the exam.

Establish Pride in the Workplace

Employee turnover is a growing issue in the workforce. In fact, a 2016 Gallup report found that 21 percent of millennial workers have changed jobs within the past year, while 45 percent of non-millennial workers say they are open to another job opportunity. Retaining top talent takes work. Hiring people who are excited to work for your company is the first step. Investing in employee training and education is another fundamental step. It is also important to establish pride among employees, which starts at the top. Managers should ensure that their employees know what is expected of them and how their role benefits others. This will give them a sense of pride in the work they do on a daily basis and benefit your company in the long run.

By Allison Allen, BCE, executive director, QualityPro

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