Make training part of your culture

“The MarineMax Way” isn’t something that came about by accident. And it’s not a mentality that just hangs around in hopes of being passed on from one employee to the next.

No, to instill a culture of being the best, there are processes and procedures that must be put in place to achieve a competitive advantage. For MarineMax (based in Clearwater, Fla., and ranked 1 in 2005 and 2006), that mentality is focused squarely on training its people.

Training, in this sense, doesn’t conclude after the first week of employment, either. And it doesn’t end with once-a-year technician training opportunities. This training, found in the only online continual development program in the Top 100, encompasses the entire culture of MarineMax, and in fact, has become a foundation in the development of its 1,600 employees.

With the access Boating Industry was granted to MarineMax University Online, we “sat in” on a Leadership and Management course instructed by VP Team Development Jay Avelino. This video course, accompanied by a PowerPoint program that recapped the video’s highlights, went into great detail about the company’s use of the topgrading concept, creating development plans — or “personal action plans so [each] individual can continue to grow, develop and achieve individual and company goals” — and of course, what to do when disciplinary action is needed for employees.

While this course underscores the company’s focus on training and personal development, it focuses its teachings on a management audience. Throughout the online university, however, there are more than 130 training modules that employees can tap into, including such subjects as Safety and Environmental Compliance, Parts Department Processes, Telephone Skills, Sales Excellence — The MarineMax Way, Service Management, and Human Resources. And there are as many as 42 individual tests under these “section” headers.

Each course is available to employees in a CD-ROM video, streaming video, streaming audio, is accompanied by the lecture PowerPoints, and of course, the requisite quiz.

And it’s through taking and passing such training courses as “finding and retaining top performers,” and “coaching to improve performance,” that the MarineMax Way moves from a concept to a reality.

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