Growing Employee Engagement and a Love of Label and Package Printing
The demand for employees who can skillfully convert, print, and finish printed packaging is growing, as research organizations predict the global market will reach more than $30 billion by 2025. “How to get the next generation of workers to consider the manufacturing side of the business is a challenge,” says Leslie Gurland, EVP of global sales and marketing at Lux Global Label, headquartered in Lafayette Hill, PA.
The products require a high degree of training in printing and finishing processes, as well as precision in the use and selection of materials that often need to go through regulatory approval. To help printers understand how to onboard employees more effectively, we spoke with Joe Marin, senior VP of education and training at PRINTING United Alliance.
Marin says that the most effective training comes from three areas — eLearning, mentorships, and industry conferences and events. “eLearning provides the structure to achieve a specific skill,” Marin says. “The subject is broken into small digestible bits of information, and is the most convenient form of learning. One of the great benefits of online courses is that the learner doesn’t need to absorb and remember everything presented. When a particular concept or skill is required to review, it’s all available to the learner, on-demand.”
Although much of today’s focus is on training new employees, Marin advises printers not to forget the ongoing development of existing team members. Mentorship, he says, is an opportunity to engage both groups. “Moving to another position within a company is also another opportunity to take advantage of a mentoring program,” he says. “Mentorships also pass both company knowledge and deep industry knowledge along to the next generation of workers.”
Another training tool is live industry events. “Attending live conferences, tradeshows, and other events is an essential investment in ongoing employee training,” Marin says. “I’m a huge proponent of live events since there’s not only the opportunity to learn from the expert presenting, but also from peers.” Live events are also a great way to instill a passion for an industry and its technologies.
To ensure your team keeps that passion sparked, Marin has five tips.
• Training is not one-size-fits-all
“What motivates you doesn’t necessarily motivate everyone else,” Marin says. “Don’t be afraid to ask if your current plan doesn’t seem to be working.”
“Make a prize tree that includes a variety of items such as gift cards, certificates for additional PTO, bonus money, sports tickets, and more,” Marin advises. “Let the employees choose their prizes when they complete a course or reach a designated milestone.”
Build it into your review process
“Making training a part of regularly scheduled conversations about performance and increases shows that you are committed to investing in your employee’s future,” Marin says.
Make it clear and communicate it often
“Put a poster up in the break area describing how you are willing to give out perks in exchange for training hours,” he recommends. “Then, talk about it at staff meetings.”
“Send a congratulatory email when an employee has completed a course,” Marin says. “For larger milestones like certifications, make sure to call them out at staff meetings to acknowledge their hard work in front of the group.”