American Trucking Associations Shares Guidelines on Technician Development

March 19, 2016

The Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Associations has developed detailed guidelines—Recommended Practice 1607—aimed at helping maintenance and human-resource managers create a workable model for designing, developing, and implementing a technician-career-development program. The primary goal of technician career development, says TCM, is to “cultivate and retain valued technicians by demonstrating organizational commitment to their long-term career growth.”

Recommended Practice 1607 outlines the roles and responsibilities of the employer, manager, and employee in the career-development process.

Employer responsibilities

• Job Descriptions are a necessity to help employees understand the progression   

  of positions as they become available

• Job Posting—via website, bulletin board, newspapers, or industry periodicals, allow current and potential employees find open positions and job descriptions

• Standardized Interview and Selection Processes allow interviewers, optimally two or more, to apply an even-handed evaluation of all candidates

• Development Plans help employees understand what resources are available    

   for assisting them in increasing their skills and advancing their careers

• Business Operation Plans outline goals the company expects to accomplish during a given time period

• Continuing Education policies detail educational opportunities or financial reimbursement programs for employees

• Goal Setting, whether for business-operations planning or employee development, clarifies what is expected and the measures used to determine achievement

• Employee Feedback, gathered through periodic reviews or exit interviews, identify opportunities for improvement

• Compensation Process policies allow for equitable increases based on performance

Manager responsibilities

• Communicate Expectations to ensure that employees know, in detail, those tasks to be accomplished, when, and why

• Provide Support by reminding employees that the “door is always open”

• Communicate Employee Value by recognizing accomplishment and tying good performance to company goals

• Stress Personal Appearance with clear expectations presented during the interview process

• Present Opportunities for Growth as soon as these opportunities become available

• Provide Transparency with standing-team meetings that keep employees informed, creating employee “buy-in” and a spirit of partnership

• Provide Feedback with regular evaluation of employee performance and career goals, noting recognition from management and co-worker approval 

• Provide Opportunities for Non-Technical Development to advance the employee’s verbal and written communication skills, thus enhancing accomplishment of career goals

• Mentor New Technicians by assigning a senior technician, to whom the employee

does not directly report, in order to build morale and professionalism in new employees, conduct informal evaluations, and identify training opportunities

Employee responsibilities

• Create Goals based on skill levels, talents, abilities, and personal objectives—goals should be specific and measurable with an assigned time of accomplishment

• Strive for Excellence in current duties, seeking manager’s guidance about goals and performance

• Develop Positive Personal Brand with a willingness to be accountable, using appropriate language, presenting a neat appearance, and communicating respectfully

• Communicate Goals by using appropriate forums to voice career desires

• Request Continuing Education that is appropriate for stated career goals and available through the employer’s training operation


Sustainable career development, says TCM, involves not only implementing the processes and strategies outlined in Recommended Practice 1607, but also keeping them in place, evolving the processes and strategies as necessary, and providing ongoing support for employees.