Stanley enhances its On Fire initiative

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NAPERVILLE, Ill.—Stanley Convergent Security Solutions this year took its innovative employee fire-training initiative and made it more employee-friendly and cost-effective, company executives told Security Systems News in October.

Stanley’s On Fire initiative to provide in-house training for its employees in fire alarms and code safety made the news when it began in 2008. This year, enhancements made the program even better, according to Felix Gonzales, VP of strategic initiatives & business development.

He said of the 2010 version of the program: “We know for a fact that it’s going to be a much better investment dollar for us, compared especially to the return we’ll get in terms of associates knowing fire code and the quality of their work, as well as just overall morale and working and being comfortable with fire.”

Stanley designs, installs, monitors and services security and fire systems for residential, commercial, institutional, and government clients from its 75 offices across the nation. Its On Fire training initiative, launched two years ago to help sales and operations staff to become NICET-certified, has been a success, Gonzales said. The company hired a trainer and covered all costs for employees to travel to regional centers for one week to train and take the NICET exam, he said. The aim was to ensure that at least one fire sales specialist and one operations specialist in each branch was trained, Gonzales said.

“We had over 100 associates go through the program and feedback was very positive,” he said.

But he said that afterwards, employees also suggested different ways to administer the training: spreading the training out over a month, and offering the exam closer to home.

R. Lance Holloway, Stanley’s director of technology strategy, implemented those changes in 2010, said Gonzales, who discussed the company’s training program at the ASIS show in Dallas in mid-October, and also in an Oct. 21 interview that included Holloway.

Holloway said that Stanley formed a “fantastic partnership” with the Las Vegas-based National Training Center to provide employees with online webinars for the NICET training.

He said Stanley also added “a preface” to the course to introduce all employees to the complexities of fire culture.

“We invited literally everyone in our branches to sit in and listen to our subject matter experts just really talk about the application of the code,” Holloway said. “We didn’t dig into it per se except for a few examples here and there but we talked about real life case studies and why is the code important.”

He said that introduction, “really got people pretty encouraged, pretty excited about going deeper.”

Gonzales said that Stanley also had its strategic partner, Fire-Lite Alarms by Honeywell, go to each branch and do training with fire equipment.

Next was the online NICET training for employees.

Instead of having to leave their jobs to go to a regional center, employees were able to attend the NTC webinars over a four-week period before taking the test, Holloway said. Also, employees had access to online training materials from the NTC library, he said. They were able to take the test locally.

More than100 Stanley employees have availed themselves of the training in 2010, Holloway said.

Gonzales said the company saved on the transportation, housing and food costs associated with sending employees to regional training centers and also on the soft costs of lost job time. “There is a lot more flexibility when you do it [study],” he said. “You can sit down in your down time or off time.”

He continued: “Without a doubt, this is a very unique process, having the online webinars set up, not only with a live instructor but with recorded webinar sessions they can do on their own. It’s kind of a great balance between what they had in the past and what they wanted in the future.”