President’s Post | Captain Fantastic. . .Your Employee?

Captain Fantastic …. Your employee?


One of the most popular gripes about our industry that I hear is… its hard to get good staff and keep them.   YES it most certainly is…. But they probably already work for you and they just need the inspiration to excel and a reason to want to stay.


As we all know with the massive diversity of skills needed in todays professional Sign/Design/Print shop, having keen well trained staff is paramount to keeping your company competitive and moving forward. Training and keeping your staff “inspired” has become one of the biggest battles a business can face.


We all agree finding skilled staff is hard but maybe we can look at ways to change the way we operate to assist with this.  Specialisation of our staff has become the norm in our industry since technology became so prevalent in our production systems. We tend to put Suzie in-charge of printing, Jonny in-charge of design, and poor old Freddie just sticks stuff on stuff all day – everyday.  While I know it’s easier to manage and can make your business more money, as I have done so in the past myself, but I do worry that we are watering down our industry skills in the process.


Lets try training and diversifying our employees duties so they don’t get bored and leave our shops looking for more personal satisfaction. Train your employees to handle and become competent in all aspects of design and production techniques, this will see them not only gain a new appreciation of their chosen vocation, but also allow them to develop passion for what they do…. We all know the value of an employee who enjoys what they do rather than do it because they have to. They will learn more, become more confident as their skills increase and as a side effect become more productive and therefore more value for our company.  In my experience being able to hand a job sheet to an employee and let them handle the whole job from design to install has made my life easier and ultimately made my sign business more money.


Wow, I can hear the sighs of indignation and mumblings of “that’s going to cost too much”.

Yes, in the interim, costs and production will be affected in the short term, but imagine not having to worry if the printer operator is going to call in sick and hold up all the rest of the team and delay your workload?  Imagine advertising for another team member and actually getting a few broadly experienced applicants to choose from who have learnt all the skills needed to be a huge benefit to your business, are keen to stay and will be excited about coming to work for the variation.


Becoming a NZSDA member puts you in touch with other sign businesses that are facing similar issues, therefore networking with industry peers and competitors will become invaluable for your businesses future.  Share training ideas and working together will create a better and stronger industry.

Andy Lowe, President