ACHRNEWS

Clockwork University Developed to Improve its HVAC Franchisees

June 9, 2008

Clockwork Home Services has a hit with its franchise members: Clockwork University. Since it developed its central spot for learning on the Internet, members have been flocking to sign up for what it has to offer.

“We have signed up over 2,000 students since it was rolled out in April,” said Lance Sinclair, director of franchise learning and performance for Clockwork Home Services. “I think there is a real interest in this.”

For the record, Clockwork University is solely for Clockwork franchises Ben Franklin Plumbing, One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, and Mister Sparky America’s On-Time Electrician. Its mission statement is: “To provide learning opportunities for all team members; the outcome being based upon performance; creating a measurable, results-based program.”

“Clockwork University is designed to provide a centralized and strategic umbrella for the learning, education, and development of all team members,” said Sinclair. “It is a learning organization that aligns all learning with corporate mission, strategies, and goals. It provides a single source for franchise training and development.”

According to Sinclair, the goal is to support the needs of the brands. These are:

• learning that is clearly linked to brand business strategies and processes;

• learning that is leveraged across all brands;

• learning delivery that is timely, convenient, and cost-effective;

• best practices and lessons learned that are shared across the brands;

• start and support change in the organization;

• bring a common culture, loyalty, and belonging to the company;

• remain competitive in today’s economy; and

• retain team members.

“Team members that complete the various programs are expected to operate in the top percentage of performance metrics as identified by the franchise,” said Sinclair. “Certification is available for successful completion of specific curriculum.”

SINGLE SOURCE FOR FRANCHISEES

Previous training available to franchise members was, as Sinclair put it, “all over the map” through Clockwork Home Services. Sinclair, who was previously a trainer for Clockwork Home Services’ instructor-led vehicle, Success Academy, was moved into the association’s new position to make learning more user friendly for franchisees.

Clockwork University incorporates what is offered, in part, through Success Academy, which continues to offer management training, self-improvement, leadership, customer service, accounting, and dispatching training exclusive for all of Clockwork Home Services’ portfolio companies. With the launch of Clockwork University, the expanded curriculum now offers instructor-led training, computer-based training, webinars, new franchise classes, and technical training.

“It is designed to be the single source for franchise development and training,” explained Sinclair. “It is the central and strategic umbrella for learning under one location.”

The instructor-led training usually refers to traditional classroom training in which an instructor teaches a course to a room of learners. The term is used synonymously with on-site training and classroom training. Most classes are taught in St. Louis, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Sarasota (Fla.), and Concord (Ontario).

WEBINARS AND MORE

The biggest addition has been the computer-based offerings, as some are computer-assisted instruction and some are computer-managed instruction. All courses are located on the Clockwork University Website. Each course consists of one or more modules. Courses are organized in four training areas: Client Care College, Technician Communication College, College of Sales and Marketing, and The School of Management Studies. Most courses were created, put together, and produced in-house.

“We have done it 100 percent,” said Sinclair. “We have created very specific courses and webinars. We have even created a library of books contractors should have. We will continue to add to the program offerings.”

An interesting course offered in the School of Management Studies is titled “Building an All-Star Team.” Sinclair said the association explored the challenges that keep team members from reaching their full potential and, as a result, created the “Building an All-Star Team” series.

It consists of videos, available online, “providing members with a meaningful weekly message for the entire company,” said Sinclair. The 39-video course covers everything from “profitability” to “client retention.”

In regard to webinars, they are often archived as well for asynchronous, on-demand access. It offers a “How To Profit” series, which is a monthly, two-hour webinar, normally scheduled for the third Thursday of each month. Every first Thursday of the month, at noon Eastern time, franchisees have the opportunity to ask leaders in the company questions, via its “What’s Going On?” series.

When it comes to teaching technical matter, courses are designed for installation, maintenance, and service techs. Currently five courses are taught: electrical technology, heating technology, refrigeration (a/c) technology, installation technology, and ultimate tech performance. Each individual course is five days in length, with homework assigned each night after class with an exam given on the last day. In addition, self-study courses - where everything from electric motors to evaporators - are offered.

“You have a variety of things you can do,” said Sinclair.

“And the best way to learn is to watch the correct way at Clockwork University. Through Clockwork University, we are able to track participation, usage, and evaluations. This is really going to help us create better programs for the franchisees.”

Publication date: 06/09/2008