Training in the Print Industry
If you asked me “is a formal training plan an important factor in attracting the best talent?” I’d have to say no. Despite its historical link with apprenticeships, the modern print industry is not known for training and it is clear that it just isn’t at the top of the list of requirements for most candidates. Of course it is not that I don’t think training is important; it self evidently is.
However training for training’s sake, conducted in isolation, is not necessarily a good thing and it can be difficult to see any payback.
Indeed it is not uncommon to hear employers say it costs a fortune to train people only to see them move on or be headhunted. Clearly if you train staff and there is no apparent reason or goal for their additional skills within the company they may move on to where they are more appreciated.
Training needs to be part of an overall plan for development and succession based on the company’s needs for skills now and in the future.
So to answer the original question I would say that training as part of an overall development or career progression can be very attractive in securing the most promising individuals.
Another key advantage in developing your own talent is that you are not held to ransom in having to “bid” for ready-made individuals. Further, you avoid the baggage and the need to unlearn inappropriate practices for their previous employer; having instead people who really understand your business.
Of course there are occasions where there is step change in requirements where a company will have to react quickly and buy in key skills.
Without question there are many people who change jobs or take on new roles specifically in order to learn new skills or gain experience. Clearly larger organisations and those with formal training and development processes are often able to facilitate those individuals gaining this knowledge and experience internally; and there is no doubt this can be a key retention tool.
The opportunity to join an organisation that is prepared to invest in your development with a clear route for progression is obviously going to be attractive to candidates. Yes money and benefits etc are attractive but they have limited shelf life. A clear career path on the other hand continues to be a carrot until you reach the top or at least your personal limit.
It is also obvious that employers need to avoid a simplistic view of development and succession planning as it is clear you can’t be grooming the entire workforce for promotion.
Indeed, an thankfully, many staff view a job as a job rather than a career and simply want to go to work, do a decent job and earn a living.
For training to be an effective and attractive to those people it still has to have a goal; even, or especially, if it is not promotion.
These staff need to understand why they need and will benefit from training. As an employer it is clear that you want your staff to be as skilled and efficient as possible in order to maximise quality and productivity and reduce cost. But from the employees perspective the better trained you are the easier your job becomes; also having a measure of performance and improvement makes the benefit of training more obvious. Taken a step further linking this to the company’s success gives a real sense of purpose; perhaps highlighting the link to job security.
So for those to whom a job is a job the understanding that the company is prepared to invest in making the staff the best they can be to make the company as successful and secure as it can be can also be motivating.
Larger organisation may have the resource to develop and manage training programmes; for smaller organisations BPIF training can effectively run the programme for them including training needs analysis, training plans and delivering training. In either case it is imperative that management, from the top down to line managers, understand the need and are committed to planning for skills needs just as they would finance or machine capacity. This is key to ensuring the training has a purpose and will deliver payback and retain good staff.