Investing in training

April 11, 2011 · 2 comments

Recipe for a happy print shop – part 4 of 8

Training employees costs money, and it takes time away from work. But training is not an expense; it’s an investment.

You will have happier, more motivated and productive employees if you send them to educational events that help them grow and develop as a person. For many of us, our work is an important part of our self-esteem. When a “boss” is willing to spend money on one of his employees, it sends a pretty strong message that the employee has value and worth to the company. That builds self-esteem and would make anyone feel like the work they do matters.

Whenever I send one of my coworkers to a seminar, educational event, or trade show, I always give them a homework assignment. I ask them to carefully pay attention to all of the ideas that are presented, write down the seven best ideas they hear, and circle the three very best ones. When they return to work, I have them give me the list. I carefully read and study what they give me. Then I meet with the coworker and ask them questions about the good ideas they included on their list. I’m often surprised to hear how enthused they are. The ideas they discuss are often very, very good. And I think it honors my coworker and makes them feel important when I’m willing to take time to sit down with them and listen to what they have to say.

Once, many years ago, I had just finished presenting a seminar at a printing industry trade show. A rather large, successful printer walked up to the front of the room where I was speaking, shook my hand, and thanked me for coming. Then he said, “I wish some of my employees could have heard what you had to say.” I casually remarked something about how he should consider bringing his employees along to the next trade show. Then he said something I’ll never forget. He said, “I hate to spend money to train my employees because they might leave and take another job somewhere else someday.” In other words, he thought training was a waste of money because his employees might not stay at his printing firm forever.

My solution: Send your employees to training seminars anyway.

The only thing worse than training them and having them leave is not training them and
having them stay.

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michelle Spurlock April 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I agree with you completely. We have sent our pressman to seminars, and they love it. Interestingly enough, what we had encountered with our pressmen (especially in the beginning) was a reluctance to share information themselves, with each other (their OWN special tips/tricks etc).
Upon questioning further, we found they thought it to be a type of “job security.” We have had to stress many times that we don’t work that way and need to help one another at all times.

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Don Black April 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I know this is a great idea because I actually do it. I try to send every employee (I only have 5) to at least 1 educational seminar per year. When they return we review what they have learned and how we can apply it in our shop.

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