Anderson-Moore Builders may have found the key to unlocking the minds of change-averse field staff: relevant, useful training.

Last winter, when they learned about a two-hour seminar on proper installation techniques for James Hardie siding products, “some guys were like, ‘Man, I know how to put up Hardieboard,'” remembers Erik Anderson, vice president of the Winston-Salem, N.C., company. “But they went anyway because they got paid for two hours and didn't have to work in the cold.”

The seminar was an eye-opener. “Afterward, they were so excited,” Anderson says. “They said it was excellent; the best training they'd ever had.”

A local lumber dealer set up the seminar and provided the space at no charge. The company did buy some recommended tools and is committed to buying more Hardie products, Anderson notes.

At Anderson-Moore, all employees must take at least 8 hours of continuing education each year (16 for owners Anderson and Tracy Moore). For his less-skilled field workers, Anderson hopes to develop a program that will standardize carpentry techniques among crews and improve estimating.

Last year, as president of the Winston-Salem Home Builders Association, Anderson instituted eight hours of mandatory continuing education for every builder member.