By Candice B. Rogers, MBA, CCP, CxA, LEED AP BD+C, PALADIN
As president of a mid-size firm specializing in building commissioning, I am constantly working to hone our competitive edge. After all, we are pursuing a finite number of potential clients in a state with several reputable firms, so we must maintain a distinct point of difference. While we have made investments in state-of-the-art testing equipment, our success is driven by one thing: our people. As a leader, my job is to not only find the best talent, but to help each member of our team pursue continuous improvement and professional development. This not only enables us to exceed our clients’ expectations, it also helps us attract and retain top-quality people. Fortunately, we have a partner in that professional development process: the Building Commissioning Association (BCxA).
While the BCxA brand is the industry standard for quality, I think the greatest benefits flow from the Association’s training programs. There is nowhere to hide in a firm the size of ours, and BCxA training helps our employees maximize their contribution to our success. This applies both to longtime employees who needed to diversify their skills and those new employees who need to get up to speed right away.
For each Paladin employee, green or veteran, we allocate a percentage of our company budget to training to ensure our entire team is made up of well-developed commissioning professionals. We assess each employee’s strengths then leverage BCxA training to bolster specific areas. Some do controls training or system specific training while others hone their process skills through resources like the BCxA University. Everyone can learn something that will make them more capable.
In the debate about the merits of investing in training, I’ve always subscribed to the school of thought that says, “it’s better to train employees and lose them, than not to train employees and keep them.”
The competition for top talent is fierce in the building commissioning marketplace so we have followed a two-part strategy for “catching and keeping” the best people. First, we maintain a repeatable best practice for execution to our company’s standards and, second, we find professionals with the right qualities and train them extensively. Thankfully, the BCxA has current programs in place to support both initiatives. We integrated BCxA’s “Best Practices for New Construction” into our customized methodology then added the new intensive commissioning courses and ongoing webinars into our ongoing efforts (without major upfront cost.) The two worked together to enhance and continually improve an employee onboarding plan that is repeatable and sustainable.
At the end of the day, we view the BCxA as a partner in our business and a key contributor to our success. The training resources have proven invaluable, helping us attract and retain top talent while maintaining a culture of curiosity and self-improvement. The net result is a team of dynamic experts with a sense of genuine empowerment and a growing roster of satisfied customers reaping the benefits of the building commissioning process. That’s the kind of industry best practice we can all live with.