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Case Study: A recorded approach

March 19, 2018 -  By
Perficut Cos.

To ensure training is consistent across trainees, Perficut created training videos.

One of the biggest training challenges is consistency. Based on who facilitates the training and even how busy things are, the experience at a landscape company can differ from trainee to trainee. To streamline messaging and make training more accessible, Perficut Cos., based in Des Moines, Iowa, launched Perficut University, a multifaceted approach that includes training videos.

The idea for the videos first came about in Perficut’s snow division, says Cassie O’Brien, COO. The ISO 9001-certified company needed a way to ensure subcontractors—which they refer to as “service partners”—were educated in Accredited Snow Contractors Association and Perficut quality standards.

The solution to this challenge came in the form of 32 training videos on processes specific to best snow removal practices. For example, one video walks users through completing an incident report. Some videos may be only two minutes long, but O’Brien says they equip employees and service partners with the knowledge needed to succeed in the field and in the office.

The company says it has reduced its injury claims and payouts since implementing the videos and learning management system (LMS). Though the endeavor hasn’t been cheap, Perficut has earned grants through the Des Moines Area Community College.

After each video, there is a short quiz that helps ensure the user understands the key takeaways, O’Brien says. Employees can go back and view videos as often as they like. The videos and other resources like maps, contacts, contracts and standard operating procedures are housed in a mobile app Perficut uses called Mission Control from Inside Out LMS.

Perficut Cos. Given the success in using these videos to fine-tune its snow business, O’Brien says the company began looking at other ways it could improve training. The team is currently in the process of developing similar processes and videos for the mowing division, O’Brien says.

To approach this initiative with “an educator’s focus,” the company has relied on the skills of Julie Van Dike, the company’s training professional, who has a background in education, including a master’s degree, a teaching license for grades five through 12 and some classroom experience. That educator’s focus includes using data and research to understand needs.

For example, the team analyzed quality service requests—a company tool for collecting information regarding client requests and complaints. It used prevalent issues (e.g., property damage, not following standard operating procedures and others) to inform which areas of training to focus on. It also looked at other data, such as site audits and the shop equipment repair log, to identify further training needs.

While the snow videos were done professionally—costing approximately $20,000—Van Dike says the company will produce future videos in-house, shooting and editing videos with smartphones. The training program will evolve over time, and the team will evaluate the results and improve as they learn, she says.

“When you spend money to have videos done professionally, there will also be an investment to have those videos maintained,” O’Brien says. “Documenting processes are critical. Keeping them updated is even more important. When you change your processes, you have to change your video and training materials. That’s why we’ll invest in doing them in-house.”

Photo: Perficut Companies

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About the Author:

Payton is a freelance writer with eight years of experience writing about the landscape industry.

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