Page 3: Training and staff motivation
Staff retention is key to Polestar's success. Well-trained, experienced staff are vital. The business also wants staff to 'take ownership' of their work, to be proud of what they produce and to understand the importance of accuracy, consistency and quality in every aspect of it.
The development of Printdynamics plays a key role in this, by ensuring that staff feel valued and empowered, team members will strive to do their best, get more job satisfaction and be encouraged to stay.
There have been many studies about what makes people work well and how employers can maintain staff motivation.
- Studies undertaken by Elton Mayo concluded that workers respond positively when managers take more interest in them and their welfare.
- Abraham Maslow categorised individuals' needs. He concluded that, once basic needs have been met, individuals are motivated towards making themselves secure and free from anxiety. Having achieved this, they go on to seek higher levels of self esteem and personal fulfilment and look 'to become everything that one is capable of becoming'.
When an employer like Polestar demonstrates how much it values its employees through its training programme, career structure and opportunities, these highly trained individuals become increasingly motivated whilst meeting the market need.
Polestar thinks beyond rewards such as pay and working conditions. As a result for many workers, the rewards associated with a particular job are not limited to their take home pay. The printing industry offers many opportunities for employees to be creative and to show flair and ingenuity. They take great personal pride in the finished product and in a customer's satisfaction with it.
Polestar has set up Printdynamics, an interactive CD-Rom and online training package that offers comprehensive coverage of the print industry. It is designed to guide the employee or trainee through the different print processes. All aspects of the job from preparing estimates or quotes to monitoring the final product are included. The package uses colourful and interesting video, photos, illustration processes and flow charts to examine the development of design at each stage of the process.
In the past, print workers tended to specialise in just one aspect of the process and had little involvement in the printing process as a whole. Printdynamics offers employees an opportunity to develop skills in a variety of different processes. Ensuring that employees are multi-skilled has two main outcomes:
- It provides a more flexible workforce that is better placed to cope with change for the business.
- It offers the prospect of a more satisfying, more fulfilling job to the employees.
By offering employees an overview of the whole process, Printdynamics lets them see how their work contributes to the end product. This raises employees' feeling of self worth: they can see their contribution. They experience a greater sense of ownership, and take pride in that ownership.
This in turn leads to individuals ensuring that their own contribution is high quality as they will not wish to be responsible for, or associated with, a final product that is below standard or behind schedule.
Everyone stands to gain from this training initiative. Individuals are rewarded with a greater degree of job satisfaction and the business is rewarded with a high quality product and satisfied customers. This will help to raise profitability, which will ultimately lead to higher wages and greater job satisfaction. This should in turn improve Polestar's retention of its best staff.
Printdynamics has produced further important outcomes. Working closely together has enabled employees to gain heightened respect for each other's contributions. It has also broken down old barriers, opened up better channels of communication and contributed to team building and team spirit.