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Education: It’s Not Just for Students

(July 2009) posted on Tue Aug 25, 2009

Shop owners who come up with excuses to avoid spending the time or money to properly educate their employees are typically the first to blame their workers for mistakes and lapses in productivity. This article discusses the reasons why you should educate your staff and offers several resources for training.

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By Mike Ukena

Education is available in our business: workshops, seminars, training from distributors and manufacturers, programs from industry associations, trade magazines, and even some schools. But industry associations, for example, often see pretty good participation from the states immediately around them but get horrible participation from outside of the immediate region. Why?

“It’s too expensive to fly my people all the way there, pay for the class, pay for the hotel and on top of that I lose them at work for the three to five days that they are gone. I cannot afford that.” Really? You cannot afford for your people to learn, but you can afford their mistakes?

“If I pay to have them trained, they will just go somewhere else or start their own business.” That’s possible, but properly motivated and compensated employees tend to stay put, especially in this market. The main reasons that our industry is famous for staff turnover relates directly to lack of knowledge, pay, and motivation.

“I have been doing this for a while. We are OK, making a profit, and I do not see the need to spend the money.” I love this one. It is my favorite because it so typifies most of the business owners in our industry. Have you ever noticed how many screen-printing businesses come and go? The turnover in screen printing is horrible. It’s right up there with restaurants!

Many in the industry have spent a lot of time trying to turn this situation around. If you look at the list of instructors at trade shows, you’ll see that the names are almost the same every year. Those are the people who are trying to make a difference. Yes, there may be some money involved, but rarely is it an amount that would make any of them want to become full-time instructors.


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