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Editor's Notebook

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Editor's Notebook

Collective Goal Setting: Meeting Benchmarks in 2023

Originally published
Originally published: 1/1/2023

As we embark on this new year, I am reminded that as HVACR owners, you’ve most likely invested a good amount of time and resources, probably more than most small business owners, in determining where to target your collective efforts as an organization. Since each department is so interconnected – technicians rely on customer service, sales teams rely on the owner’s vendor relationships, and the entire organization relies on the community and customer patronage – there is never a moment that isn’t reliant on a collective team effort. As such, addressing these efforts and reassessing what is working, can be a key part of continued success. However, since the HVACR industry is so mercurial, literally – it’s controlled by seasonal demands for A/C or heat – the daily goals of the company can often get put aside in place of strong seasonal fluctuation in customer demand. So, although we are in the busy season with winter about to hit its peak in certain areas, the start of the year can still be a good reminder to upgrade your collective company goals and benchmarks. 

Time to Set Big-Picture Goals

Indeed, HVACR company owners should always be setting collective employee objectives that include things like strategic planning, expansion, sustainability, maintenance plan upgrades, contract reviews, and performance reviews, but time is precious, and customers call often. So, in the event any of these efforts fall short, it is always a good habit to annually review to ensure that the company staff as a collective, is on the same page and meeting essential benchmarks.

With sustainability, virtual training, and regulatory changes coming this year, it might mean implementing some changes. A look at goals and objectives for your company, done at least once a year as an annual review, is always a best practice.

Below are some pertinent items to grade your company on its efforts and review collective goals as you launch a new year.

Marketing

Is it consistent and aligned in its messaging? Does it still represent the brand? Are the logos everywhere? Does the branding match your fleet? Review the following.

    •    Ensure that all department goals align with company goals and objectives.

    •    Break down department benchmarks by implementing team or individual goals, so everyone knows their priorities when it comes to marketing. 

    •    Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and data analytics to help increase accountability of said goals.

    •    Use incentives to encourage employees to set their own goals.

    •    Make sure all branding and company messaging are consistent on the website, fleet, sales materials, and in the company pitch. 

Performance Reviews

Performance reviews are a collective effort rather than a hierarchal exercise. As a manager, it’s essential to understand that team members will deliver more effectively when expectations are clear, and benchmarks are set in advance with time to be completed. You should be doing regular performance reviews, but before that, review your company’s performance as a whole. Are you delivering these expectations to field technicians and sales personnel? Are expectations clearly stated and benchmarks set in advance? If you need a review, see below.

    •    Have checklists been created for all team members? Is the messaging clear as far as goals and expectations for their jobs?

    •    Are you doing performance reviews based on these benchmarks rather than micromanaging on a task basis?

    •    Do you reward those who are achieving the benchmarks?

    •    Are there discussions around weakness for those who are underachieving to allow for improvement?

Regulatory Changes Go Into Effect in 2023

Regulatory standards and changes take effect in 2023. Is your company prepared? Let’s review.

    •    Review these regulatory changes with technicians and the entire team. Don’t assume they all know. Make sure the entire organization is fully apprised of the product upgrades, the impact that these new refrigerants will have on equipment and duration, and the new standards regarding its effect on installation.

    •    Have all your vendors upgraded their products to align?

    •    Do you have a surplus of products that are out of compliance? Is there a financial loss? 

    •    Update your balance sheets to reflect inventory loss or changes in product storage.

Sustainability Meets the Mainstream

Sustainability is a big customer “want’ in 2023. Manufacturers in the HVACR industry are ahead of the curve but some contractors have been slower to adapt. Now is the time to get on board, so that you don’t get lost among the competition that is making sustainability a priority.

Here is what you can do to prepare.

    •    Review products that you may be able to substitute with eco-friendly versions. Most companies have upgraded existing products to be more sustainable.

    •    Update your marketing to highlight your commitment to sustainability if you are already using eco-friendly or energy-efficient systems. Don’t overlook this marketing “selling point” as it is very appealing to some buyers.

    •    If you don’t have a plan in place yet to upgrade the organization to include a commitment to sustainability, set a goal to meet certain benchmarks by the halfway point in 2023. 

Training & Processes

Recruiting and labor shortages are demanding newer more remote and virtual ways of training. Have you updated your training processes? Here are some tips.

    •    Virtual training is the word with many growing HVACR companies. Have you done the research? Even if you aren’t ready yet, have it on your radar so that you can attract top talent.

    •    Are your training processes clearly defined and consistent throughout the company?

    •    Review your training options. Is the training you have in place working? Are your technicians performing? Do you need to make some progress in this area especially if you are struggling with recruiting? We have written some interesting research-driven articles on VR. If you need a jumpstart, read the latest. (https://www.hvacrbusiness.com/news/2022/nov/01/top-5-hvacr-tech-energy-software-trends-in-2023/

Maintenance plans

      Have you reviewed your maintenance plans lately? (https://www.hvacrbusiness.com/news/2019/nov/01/recurring-revenue-is-your-rocket-fuel/)

    •    Is every technician offering a maintenance plan during a service call? Have you reviewed their performance at appointments lately? How often are customers opting in?

    •    Do you have the latest mobile technology to streamline this process so customers’ expectations are met at the service appointment and then more likely to buy into maintenance agreements? 

    •    If you are still lacking in this effort, set some benchmarks for the year so that by the end of the year, you have made some progress

Wherever you find yourself in 2023, the good news is you made it through another year, business working and intact, and you are still growing. So, whether your collective goals involve expansion or a back-to-basics review, or a realization of some necessary change due, start exactly where you are and take small steps. Every effort made now to improve your business and set collective goals for the organization is a positive move in the right direction.

Happy 2023!


Heather Langone is Managing Editor at HVACR Business Magazine. For questions or comments email: hlangone@hvacrbusiness.com

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