how to develop the perfect employee
Have you heard the one about the perfect candidate?
All the right skillsets
Intimate knowledge of your products, your business and markets
Innovative based on a knowledge and experience of a broad range of technologies, products and market sectors
And yet up to speed on day one with no requirement for training.
On a serious note however, either explicitly or implicitly, this is the tone of many of the briefs we see.
Clients will often say one of their most successful hires was from a different sector and came up with a step change in thinking based on that background, and then in the next breath says they must have someone who really understands their sector.
Of course there are people out there who have systematically gained knowledge across many packaging types, in a number of market sectors but they are in the minority.
Evidence from both clients and candidates, backed up by the take up of Packaging society membership and training suggests that these people will remain very much in the minority unless there is a sea change in attitude in both employers and employees.
Evidence suggest that in the years after gaining a diploma in packaging many people drift away from Packaging society membership and very few embark upon any form of continuing professional development.
Whether instigated by the employer or the employee the training, conference attendance and personal development is largely limited to and focused on the current role, technologies and products the individual is dealing with. This limits innovation and thinking to the incremental rather than ground breaking and means that many of the brand owners are in effect reliant upon their suppliers to introduce them to new concepts and even innovative uses of existing ones.
Beyond that there is often a complacency based on an individual knowing how to do their job. In my view if you are not actively progressing you are going backwards – there is no standing still.
In some respects packaging technology and the Packaging Society suffers from the fact that there is no “license to practice” requiring a set of knowledge and continuing updates to hold a job. But this should be no excuse many other sectors such as marketing, purchasing and HR, which have no “license to practice” have vibrant professional associations and more importantly practitioners who understand the value of keeping up to date and at the cutting edge of current technology and practice.
Packaging, whether you sit as a brand owner or supplier, faces many changes and a not altogether friendly public. At a corporate level we need to ensure we have the best people with the broadest possible knowledge and at an individual level understand that the more value you can bring the more valuable you are. Any thing else is false economy.
Its time we saw the focus shift from what I need to know now to what I might need to know with more emphasis on training and updating of knowledge and more networking and cross fertilisation of ideas from different sectors.