Time Management in the Pest Control Industry
By Greg Crosslin
Too Much Time On My Hands
Putting together your basic risk management plan first requires that you collect all of your policies, procedures, memos and notes and centrally locate them and begin organizing the information. Some pest management professionals (PMPs) organize by way of tables of contents or indices of topics and record all of their different policies and procedures by topic. Others treat them on a chronological basis — on how they come into affect on a daily basis when dealing with customers.
It doesn't matter how you choose to organize it as long as it is organized around your use requirements. The basic step is to get the plan together.
Once you have all of your memos, your how-to's, procedures and various things you've created over the years and have asked each of your key employees or supervisors to write down their versions of the how-to's, then you can put them in order and begin reviewing them one by one. You may be amazed at what you find the written procedure is compared to what is actually being done.
Once you review and edit these to conform to your current practices or requirements, you will have your basic set of policies and procedures — or your basic risk management plan. No more, no less.
Once you have established this working document (yes, it is a constant and continuous work in progress), you add to it whenever the need arises. The most-active area of change deals with training. Obviously, this is because new products come online, techniques are changed or approved by manufacturers and/or regulatory bodies and you need to have your employees consistently following the proper standards and procedures.
One of my customers has an inexpensive way of having a monthly continuing education training session tied in with his continued risk management training. He takes his current copy of Pest Control and after reviewing the entirety of it, makes a copy of an article or column. He attaches a copy of this article or column to the bi-weekly paycheck that he gives to each employee. Sometimes it is aimed only at technicians and on other occasions the entire staff. Within three days after he issues the paycheck along with the article/column, he gives a simple five- or 10-question test that is prepared and printed out.
The tests are comprised of simple true/false, fill-in-the-blank or multiple-choice questions, or a combination thereof. The tests are designed to teach, not trick. If an individual does not score well on the test, he/she earns an opportunity to meet with the supervisor for re-directive training.
At the end of the test period, a few minutes are devoted by and between the owner, supervisors and technicians to discuss how that article or column might impact one of their current or recent customers or how suggestions or new techniques might be incorporated into the company's procedures. What a wonderful and inexpensive process to have a continuing risk management module for training personnel and evaluating new and different techniques and issues facing the industry.
The old adage "plan your work and work your plan" is the embodiment of risk management. If making money is a goal you have, then having a sound risk management plan or guideline in place is an absolute necessity. A proactive, well-managed company spends time in addressing the practices and procedures of the company, evaluates the needs of the customers and often edits and reinvents itself along the way. This is how we as individuals grow and develop. Your company's policies and procedures should similarly grow and develop in accordance with your business needs.