Future-Proofing Your Print Business: Skills Training

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP on Mar 21, 2024 11:06:41 AM
Roger P. Gimbel, EDP
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It can be tempting to regard skills training and staff upgrading as a cost that must be managedelearning down, rather than an investment that promotes growth and future-proofs your business. 

Skills training, from keeping up with the latest print software and equipment to mastering design or digital marketing, can be expensive, time consuming, and disruptive to daily operations. Plus, it’s easy to believe that staff will go elsewhere once they upgrade their skills, leaving you in the lurch.

In reality, a skills training program will generate handsome dividends for your company and place you in a much stronger competitive position.

Your employees are your biggest asset. They’re more important than the multi-million dollar presses on your shop floor. It just makes sense to invest in maintaining them, just as you would with that expensive equipment.

Well-trained employees, for example, are key factors for retaining customers or securing new clients. If they’re informed about the latest technologies, sales techniques, or data mining, they’ll inspire confidence in your clients. It’s really all part of offering superior customer service. A poorly trained employee will raise alarm bells and customers will perceive their poor performance as a reflection of your entire company.

We all know how difficult it is to find and retain outstanding employees. A skills training program can be a great differentiator in the struggle to attract young people to the industry and keep them. Younger cohorts are especially hungry for training opportunities after the pandemic put skills development on hold for a few years.

Training is the most economical way of adding new skills to your organization without increasing the head count. It can be more cost-effective to upgrade the skills of existing employees than bringing in a new hire. You must train new people anyway and they will take longer to get up to speed.

Internal training helps grow the reservoir of knowledge within your company. Existing employees already understand how the company works, the processes in place, the challenges in the competitive landscape, and the demands of your clients.

From a workplace culture point of view, well-trained employees help create a more dynamic environment. They are more engaged in their work, and likely enjoy better job satisfaction. All of which means they’re more innovative, productive, and agile.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

skills learning printingLike everything else in your business, skills upgrading programs must be well-managed. The process starts with identifying what you require. Do you need to develop hard skills you can teach through training and education and easily evaluate? Or do you need to develop soft skills, like teamwork, leadership, or communications, that are more dependent on an employee’s personality and talents?

Develop your training objectives clearly, establish schedules and budgets, and track progress. Aim for a balance between what the company needs and what employees want. You cannot train everyone on everything.

Keep in mind that people learn differently; what academics like to call modalities of learning. Some employees can self-teach individually with videos, others need to be in a classroom. Some are visual learners; others learn by listening. Communication skill development will require a different approach from mastering the intricacies of the latest inkjet equipment. And don’t forget to account for differences among generations in your shop. They all approach learning from their own perspectives.

You may indeed lose some employees after you’ve spent money training them, but chances are they were already unhappy. Employees who like challenges and are keen to learn will be loyal to a company that encourages them and lets them thrive. As you look ahead to future growth, one of your best weapons is a highly trained and skilled workforce.

Gimbel & Associates develops and delivers highly customized training programs for printers and enterprise businesses.  To find out more about our programs click the button below to get a free 1/2 hour virtual consultation.



Topics: news, employee retention, skills training, e-learning, employee investment, competitive advantage, knowledge development

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