SCTE member since 1984 Title : Senior Director of Technical Operations, Comcast Cable Broadband Background: Nobles’ key initiative with Comcast is evolving the CommTech (Communications Technician) Career Path Program for field technicians. Previous to Comcast, she worked for Jones Intercable, where she directed cable system design and developed technician training programs; total 23 years broadband experience. What are the first steps for good recruiting in this competitive market? A good first step is making sure to offer prospective field technicians an attractive career path that includes opportunities for growth and advancement. In a new recruitment program currently being introduced to Comcast operating systems, a candidate begins the process by watching a realistic job video in order to see what the day-to-day job entails, as well as get a glimpse into the career path. Of course, part of recruitment is making sure we match the right technician to the job. Seeking a new-hire candidate who has cable and broadband experience is not as important as determining if the candidate has the propensity to learn the job, and if the candidate’s inherent behavior characteristics fit the culture. This may include hiring those with backgrounds different from the traditional techs. For example, many Comcast locations have successfully hired candidates with no previous cable experience who have culinary knowledge! During recruitment, a candidate is given a series of behavioral and skills assessments that have been designed specifically for the core competencies of Comcast’s CommTech Program. These assessments will help determine which candidates have the best opportunity to succeed as they move through their Comcast careers. Recruiting is not just the responsibility of a company’s human resources team, but of the entire workforce. Each person within an organization has unique opportunities to meet and recruit possible candidates because of their diverse backgrounds and abilities. Having a strong recruiting process in place, coupled with an attractive career path, a supportive workforce and a robust training program can help ensure hiring successful technicians in any environment. How can training be used as a recruitment tool? Each level of the CommTech Program has defined competencies that are directly supported by Comcast’s in-house training. Tuition reimbursement provides an added employee benefit. What are the most challenging issues from the field perspective? (New technologies? Time management? Customer interaction?) Yes! Keeping up with new technologies, launching new products and services, and providing product knowledge are enormous challenges. Many customers are challenged by these new products as well, and more time is needed explaining the services to the customer. The technicians spend more time in the classroom as well as in the home educating the customer, which in turn squeezes into productivity. What kind of training is the most important today? Product knowledge and preparing to explain the services to the customer are critical. In addition, maintaining a strong focus on the basics cannot be emphasized enough. If a technician does not have a strong foundation in the basic technology of our business, then learning new technologies is going to be even more challenging. What has Comcast learned from the CommTech program? It is important to exercise flexibility while maintaining a consistent approach. CommTech Program updates are currently underway, largely in response to Comcast internal surveys. We recognize that as our business changes, the CommTech program also needs to change to reflect the evolving needs of the business, our customers and our workforce. How successful has it been? Success is ultimately measured by what our customers think of us. To that end we have seen success as overall customer service metrics have improved. What is CommTech Jeopardy? Each year, technician teams are identified through local competitions and represent all CommTechs from their systems. System teams compete against teams at the regional, divisional, and finally, national levels. One team from each of five Comcast divisions competes at the CommTech Jeopardy Championship. The game itself focuses on content related to specific tasks and knowledge in the CommTech career path. Questions range from cable basics to new technologies and Comcast history and culture. The team with the highest point value after the final Jeopardy question claims the title of Comcast CommTech Jeopardy Champion and is awarded the Dan Aaron Trophy. How has CommTech helped in the field, with installs, repairs and service calls? The CommTech Program creates the structure to produce the next generation of technicians who are highly skilled in adapting to the full spectrum of customer needs by delivering exceptional service and a "one-stop shopping" experience. As a CommTech advances, he or she is prepared to service and install all products for all three lines of business: video, Comcast Digital Voice, and Comcast High Speed Internet.