Applied Training

Integrator Uses CEDIA Certification to Hire and Retain Top Talent
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It is always encouraging to see CEDIA training and certification being used to have a real impact on someone’s career or the overall success of a company. Acoustic Architects, a seven-year-old Miami-area integration company, uses the ESC certification Pre-Test Assessment to screen and evaluate job applicants. This test provides an unbiased analysis of what each candidate really knows and what his or her strengths are.

Back in 2008, Spencer Hauldren and Aaron Flint set out to create a new kind of company focused on excellent customer service and designing luxury systems that are engineered to be effortless to use. From the beginning, they knew that to serve high-end clientele they would need to attract and retain highly skilled employees. An internal culture based on meritocracy, where everyone was given the opportunity to excel, learn, and grow, was key.

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Acoustic Architects regularly encourages all team members to study CEDIA’s Fundamentals book and earn ESC certification.

Hauldren and Flint are very selective in their hiring process. Only those candidates that have the right communication skills and professional demeanor are chosen and then trained on the specific skills required for Acoustic Architects’ complex projects. More recently, they determined that the company needed a well-structured training program to accelerate the learning curve, making the transfer of knowledge more efficient. After researching a variety of options, they found that everything they needed had already been created and was ready for them to put to use: CEDIA books, training, and certification provide the necessary materials and tools to bring new hires up to speed. CEDIA resources are brand-neutral, professionally built, and aligned with industry best practices, making it easy to implement a hire/training/retention process that creates tangible results.

Acoustic Architects uses the ESC certification Pre-Test Assessment to screen and evaluate job applicants. This test provides an unbiased analysis of what each candidate really knows and what their strengths are.

The company regularly encourages all team members to study the Fundamentals book and earn ESC certification. Exam scores are used to determine who is invited to attend the CEDIA convention, making the training into a friendly competition. The team rises to the occasion and supports each other to study. The whole exercise has turned out to be a lot of fun, according to Hauldren and Flint, and in a short period of time the first 11 team members acquired their certification. Not only did Acoustic Architects create a team-building exercise, but they now have their people using the same terminology, looking at the same best practices, and challenging each other to always do things “the right way.” All new hires are following this process, and will join the ranks of the “certified.”

To ensure ongoing excellence in the company, higher level certifications (ESC-T, ESC-D, ESC-N) are used to identify the technicians, designers, and networking specialists who are ready for pay increases and promotions. This approach has one very clear advantage over a simple one-on-one annual review: the evaluation is totally objective.

Achieving certification requires taking well-defined path of learning. This education can come in many forms, including the Advanced Residential Electronic Systems book, online courses, CEDIA classes, and manufacturer training. Whichever way the learning takes place, it is always driven by the job task analysis of the chosen certification and all of the pre-test assessments are free to members.

Using CEDIA certification as the backbone of Acoustic Architects’ hire/train/retain program has provided a great way to evaluate new hires, maintain consistency in the training and growth of current employees, and the peace of mind that the resources they depend on will always be current, accurate, and consistent with industry standards and best practices. Meanwhile, Acoustic Architects has created a positive mindset internally, where learning and achieving are encouraged and rewarded. The net result is a well-trained, highly skilled, industry-recognized staff. This ensures a superior quality of work and speaks volumes to all project stakeholders, from the architect and builder to, most importantly, the homeowner.