January 9, 2018

Let’s Train a New Hire for Your Glass Company

By Paul Bieber

Let’s say you want to hire two people to your glass crew. Some people will hire three with the thought that one won’t work out. Some hire two and make sure they work out.

If you are a three-hire type, remember, you are setting someone up to fail; you are wasting your trainer’s time and you are paying, let’s say, six weeks of payroll and worker’s comp. Plus, when that third person fails and you have to fire him, you have introduced a negative feeling in your company.

I urge you to screen carefully and hire two great people in the first place.

Write out a training program for your company. It should include what happens on day one, day two and days three through five. Day one is familiarizing people with your company, its history and goals. Do solid introductions to the folks he will be working with. Don’t just walk by and wave. Define his chain-of-command so that the nosy folks from other areas don’t mess things up.

The single most important part is picking the trainer from your current staff. In a small company, that will be you or your lead person. Or you may have a good foreman to take the task. Because a person is a great glazier doesn’t mean he is a good trainer. A trainer needs to communicate well, taking the time to carefully teach and explain each process. You should pay the trainer an hourly rate above his current rate during the first six weeks of training, and allow an hour of overtime for preparation each day.

You are hiring raw recruits. Take this time to carefully teach.

Day one: do all the paperwork first thing. Don’t wait for the end of the week. Get this done and out of the way. If you have an employee handbook, go over it page-by-page, teaching and answering questions about your benefits, holidays and such. Go over your safety policy, work hours and if you have this—discuss your random drug testing policy. If you don’t have an employee manual, go over these same topics carefully. This may take all morning on day one, and it should. Don’t skimp here. In the afternoon, go over safety in the shop or plant. Stress safety above all things discussed, issuing safety gear and explaining when and how to wear it.

Get out a piece of double thick and show how easy it is to cut, and how it can be very sharp when broken accidentally. Take away the fear of glass and replace it with a healthy respect. Teach how to lift glass safely, how to drop into a dumpster or load on a truck or dolly. Show how suction cups work and where to place cups on the glass.

Break a piece of temp and a piece of lami and explain the differences. Explain low-E, and how to recognize the coated surface. This sounds so simple to us, but remember the one or two recruits you hire probably don’t know the basics. Make no assumptions about their knowledge base.

Just yesterday, the government announced that 200,000 people will have to leave our country and go back to El Salvador. These are folks who have been here for 15 years since a major earthquake devastated their country. Let’s say half of these folks work and the other half are homemakers or children or seniors. You have to work hard to find workers to replace those who leave. Some are in the glass business. And the shop down the road will try to take your best workers to replace any they lose. This ripple effect will go across the whole country.

This blog is too long already. More on training, starting day two of next week.