June '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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1 8 P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 9 1 8 P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 9 Never Train in Vain Again EMBROIDERY Stitch Solutions J e n n i f e r C o x take this approach to training, you will help new hires develop the necessary skills and integrate them into your business's unique culture. These employees will do things the way you want them to and that reflect the character of your business. IN UNEXPECTED PLACES Finding your new hire can be challenging. Post the position on some of the traditional workforce websites, such as Indeed and Ca- reer Builder. At the time I wrote this, there were 224 jobs posted in the United States under "Embroidery Machine Operator" on Indeed and 300 jobs posted on Career Builder. If someone has skills and wants to work in this field, there are positions available. If you want to start your search local- ly, head out for breakfast at your local diners. The waitstaff at these establish- ments usually already have some of the key skills that will lay the foundation to become a great machine operator. Look for the one that has a good attitude, hustle, and a good memory. These folks are used to working on their feet all shift and have developed people skills from dealing with the public. If you invite a breakfast server to come try a position with you, you could even offer to work around their existing schedule during their training so that if they do not work out with you, they have not risked their current job. TRIAL AND ERROR Bring in a new hire for a trial period. Dur- ing this training period, you will see how their skills develop, how well they mesh with you and your business, and see if you F or most business owners, a first-day-ready new hire is like a unicorn. This person arrives with fully developed embroidery skills. You will be able to put them in front of the machines and let them have at it. Unfortunately, like unicorns, such a person probably does not exist. To my way of thinking, that is a good thing. First, it means that the people who do have skills in this industry are already working. And second, this scar- city is an opportunity for you. THE PROBLEM WITH EXPERIENCE In the current tight labor market, the challenge of finding skilled employees is nearly univer- sal. The issue isn't that business owners can't find suitable employees. The issue is that em- ployers don't want to or know how to train new hires. And these factors deny you a powerful competitive advantage. Imagine this scenario: You hire someone that comes to you with embroidery experience. It turns out that they always use three layers of a heavy stabilizer to get a smooth finished design. Suddenly, your business is pro- ducing bulletproof embroidery, which is not normally your thing. When you hire someone that you believe is day- one-ready, you have to spend the time to evaluate their skills and then make the necessary adjustments to get the re- sults that you want. And you have to do that often enough to retrain them suc- cessfully so that the new hire learns new habits to produce the kind of work that you want to send out into the world representing your business. Here is another scenario: You hire someone that comes to you with em- broidery experience, but not from the workplace. They have been doing em- broidery at home, for personal enjoy- ment, friends, and family. You turn them loose on a small job, six shirts, to see how they do. At the end of a full workday, they stand before you bursting with pride as they present you with the finished shirts. At the end of a full day. That will never work when you need them to be able to produce that work in an hour. Shifting someone's gears from creating labors of love to a production mindset can be very challenging and frustrating for both of you. Hiring someone to do something they have never done before is powerful. If you want the work done your way, it may be better to build a new hire's habits and skills from the ground up rather than try to undo mindsets they developed in another business. Think of train- ing as an essential investment in the development and success of your business. When you

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