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Poll / Question..Training your staff.. preferences

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by Geet Faulkner, Nov 18, 2018.

  1. Geet Faulkner

    Geet Faulkner Member

    Nov 11, 2005
    I will be expanding our training services and I'm looking for opinions from shop owners.

    If you were going to spend money on training your current employee(s) would you prefer in-house
    or send them off to a location in a "classroom" atmosphere with 5-6 other students?

    If cost is a consideration in house could be at least double the cost...
    how would that factor into your decision?

    Look forward to your replies. - Geet Faulkner
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  2. Big Rice Field

    Big Rice Field Electrical/Architectural Sign Designer

    Feb 24, 2012
    Phoenix, AZ USA
    When it comes to design staff I do not recommend outside training becsue the sign industry is highly specialized and it is cheaper for the design department to do on the job training in design. However, it is up to the newbie to learn the software before entering employemnt. That is what I did.
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  3. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

    Dec 3, 2015
    Niceville, FL
    OJT works.
  4. DerbyCitySignGuy

    DerbyCitySignGuy Very Active Member

    Dec 12, 2013
    I have to agree with this. I want a new hire to use our processes. I don't want to send a new employee out to learn something completely different, then have to argue with them about the "best way" AND train them again.

    Every employee we've ever hired (including myself when I started in the industry) has learned by OJT as myront said. It's more like an apprenticeship than something you can learn in a classroom. Just my two cents.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber

    I have a different perspective.

    Outside experience is extremely valuable if you know your sending them to someone who knows what they are doing. I wouldn't send new hires though, they should get on the job training. New employees are unproven and may not even stick around.

    Invest in your best employees as a reward. If you send your best and brightest, they will learn the most and bring back advanced concepts to pass on to your other employees.

    You need to attend trade shows and outside training to make sure your on top of your game so you can incorporate the newest materials, techniques, and tools.

    Otherwise your stuck with "Joe taught us to do it like this" for the next 50 years whether it's right, wrong or an outdated technique..
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. rossmosh

    rossmosh Active Member

    Oct 9, 2014
    New Jersey
    I'd never let someone from the outside train my staff. To me that's crazy talk.

    If I'm training someone with essentially 0 knowledge, I'm going to tell them how I want things done and they're going to follow my system for better or worse.

    If I'm training someone with some knowledge, I'm going to tell them how I typically do things and why. I'm going to give them a little room to do things "their way" but only a little. They have to prove it's better and more effective.

    If I'm training someone with real world knowledge, I'm going to explain my work flow. Explain why I do what I do. Let them show me their stuff but ask for approval at various stages to make sure they aren't lying about their experience, a hack, or have bad habits. If they have beneficial knowledge to impart, I'm all ears.

    If this is really your goal, to train, you need to focus on selling to owners that bringing you in is valuable and not disruptive. That you're going to get my guys up to speed faster than otherwise. That you know your stuff 100%. So far your posts have been dismissive to questions. Not only that, but I find it very problematic that a guy wants to train my staff has none. Staff are revenue multipliers. The idea that you want to come train my crew but haven't trained anyone to multiple your own revenue is problematic.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. Big Rice Field

    Big Rice Field Electrical/Architectural Sign Designer

    Feb 24, 2012
    Phoenix, AZ USA
    Definitely. If the job entails a lot of software and computer knowledge, it is in the best interest of the prospective employee to purcahse his/her own license to run the software at home on a personal laptop. This is what I did. When I was hired in as a novice sign designer in 1993 at a sign company (not a sign shop!) I already had expereince using Corel Draw 3 and PhotoStyler. I bought Corel Draw 4 (not a student editions or pirated) for home use and ran it during my off hours to get used ot the new version. Later I purchased a sheet feed scanner and it came bundled with PhotoShop 3.0. So that is how I got to learn PhotoShop. When the sign company dropped PhotoStyler and went with PhotoShop I was already through the learning curve.

    However, when it comes to "vertical software" (software designed for a smaller market like the sign industry) the cost of owning a license for a low paid designer is too high and the deisgner must learn the software in house. Some companies, Aries Graphics for example, allowed you to install their software for evaluation purposes (with the SAVE function disabled). But those day are long gone.

    One bit of sage advice, when you are training somebody how to use software, do not run the software yourself to show how it is done. You put the student behind the keyboard and the student runs the software as you tell them what to do verbally.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

    Jun 10, 2016
    Port Coquitlam, bc
    As others echoed... We only train people who know our process and have been around for years.

    We just got a new guy here as our CNC operator. We could send him somewhere to get trained.... Or our current operator can train him on our processes and how we do things. Once / if he proves himself and knows what he's doing with a good understanding.... Then we may send him for training to learn tips / tricks.

    He's also going to be Learning flatbed printing... Roll to roll....laminating... Graphtec.

    All of this stuff is pretty easy to learn, just takes muscle memory. And again... Once he learns, maybe we send him to the more.complex stuff. Such as color training.

    Even wrapping, it's better for them to practice under supervision and then go Learn from a professional.

    So I guess for us, sending them out to learn the basics is something we don't do. Learning more advanced stuff, or tips / tricks to speed up production or do something better..that's where we send them out.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

    Aug 6, 2007
    As an employee, I would not expect to have to purchase my own license for software in order to "practice" at home. Now, have I purchased my own license of some software, of course, but it's been for personal use. Our shop software is over three grand for full blown edition. Designer edition is $800. So, NO, I would not purchase this software on my own nor would I expect my employer to require it of me.

    What I would expect is to be given a list of software that is used and I would make it clear the ones which I am familiar with and those I'm not. If it's a requirement to be able to use said software before being hired, I would not expect to be hired. Otherwise, I'd assume I'd get time during my shift to learn the software whether it's through actual instructions from someone else, or from me figuring out where things are.

    That said, whether or not to send out an employee for instruction would really depend on the type of instruction you want them to receive. If it's for design software, I would assume that would be done in house because you should have employees that would be able to train.

    If it's for office software (Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, etc), then I'd say send it out. Most community colleges offer short one or two day sessions on this stuff a couple of times a year.

    I've attended conferences for business growth where I learned and got ideas on how to make our shop better by changing the outdated systems we had in place and making things a bit more streamlined.
  10. Geet Faulkner

    Geet Faulkner Member

    Nov 11, 2005
    I appreciate the replies...this is the type of input I am looking for.

    The question is vague on purpose and my abilities are not the question.

    I have been approached by a trade school looking to expand their offerings in the graphics world.
    They would bring in qualified people for specific classes i.e. Crane operations in the sign trade.
    I owned a Skyhook and did installs but that don't make me a pro!.. I get that.

    I am a 40 year sign business veteran in most aspects of sign making.
    After closing my commercial shop 15 years ago, I was asked to restore a failing shop and did so.
    They are a well established and successful shop to this day. Since then I have contracted out to
    franchises and independent sign shops as a trainer in Sales, Design, Productivity, Sign Business sell off and acquisitions.

    As to the question I asked I didn't want to make it about me.
    I am looking for how business owners value training and if you have a preference where that takes place.

    Personally I'm tired of traveling!


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