013 – Almost Employed: Passing Pre-training

Welcome to the Autism Advantage podcast! I’m your host, Tom D’Eri, and my co-host for this season is Tom Sena. Throughout season 2, we’ll be chronicling the process of opening a second location of Rising Tide Car Wash, where we employ people with autism.

If you’ve been tuning in this season, you know that we recently hosted our big day of interviews. We had close to a hundred candidates show up. Twenty of these didn’t have autism, and four were unsuccessful in the interview process for various reasons, but we ended up with over 50 qualified candidates who moved onto the next step, our pre-training process.

That’s what we’re here to talk about today! Pre-training involves asking our recruits to be able to do our most basic production process, which involves 39 steps, three times in a row in under six minutes each time. This pre-training process allows us to bring in people who we aren’t quite sure will be up to the task of working here, and gives them a fair shot at doing the job. It also sets our employees up for success.

For this process, we divided our candidates into groups based on their scores on the initial assessment during the first interview. We then subdivided those groups to ensure all of our candidates were working in small enough groups to be able to fully participate in the pre-training. In these small groups, the candidates were taught to do the aforementioned basic production process and then asked to do it. Those who were successful will now move onto the next step, which is live training shifts.

In this episode, we’ll also talk about how we figured out how many people we’ll need to hire in each position, how we calculated when we needed to start the hiring process to ensure our recruits are fully trained and ready by the time we open the next location, and the costs involved in completing this pre-training process. Tune in to learn more!


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In This Episode:

[00:25] – Tom D. starts off the episode by describing what pre-training is and explaining the role it plays in their employment process.

[01:57] – We learn why management being on the same page was so important as Tom S. describes the first thing they did in the pre-training process.

[02:51] – Tom S. goes into more detail about exactly how the pre-training process worked, including how they divided the candidates into groups and how they worked with each small group.

[05:40] – People with similar scores were matched up in groups, Tom D. clarifies. He then points out that throughout the process, it’s important to reinforce good behaviours with specific praise.

[08:47] – Prior to designing the recruiting process, they created a mock schedule to figure out how many people they would need to fill for each position. They then assessed how many shifts new employees were likely to need before being able to work on their own, and worked backward from there to put their dates together.

[11:53] – Tom S. points out that the way they initially came up with the mock schedule was based on their current figures.

[13:41] – We hear about the costs associated with this pre-training process. For group 1, the pre-training took place over the course of three days.

[14:37] – Through the pre-training, they’re clear with the candidates that passing the pre-training means they’ll be offered employment.

[15:47] – Tom D. talks about the differences between the employment process this time compared to the first time they did it.

[17:44] – Does Tom D. notice anything different as far as support staff and people overseeing the process?

[19:27] – One challenging part of the pre-training process was collecting reliable contact information for all of the candidates.

[20:48] – Even more challenging than that is telling some people that they aren’t suitable for the job. Tom D. offers a specific example of a gentleman who was too physically strained by the work.

[22:38] – Tom S. talks about what he found to be the bright spots in the training. He then discusses the next step, which is scheduling the successful candidates for live training shifts.

Links and Resources:

Tom D’Eri

Tom Sena

Rising Tide Car Wash

Rising Tide U

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