Are you equipping your employees to be the best at their jobs that they can be? Do they understand how their role fits into the overall operation of your screen printing business? If you’re not routinely implementing and refining a training program, the answer to those questions is likely no.

It’s impossible to overstate how important employee training is. Trained employees follow your guidelines and best practices to reduce the amount of errors and misprints in your screen printing shop. Trained employees know how to take proper care of, and proper caution around, your equipment, lengthening the lifespan of your screen printing hardware and lowering the chances of workplace injury. Finally, trained employees understand your operation and how they fit into it, and they gain the skills they need to further their careers, making them more likely to remain loyal to your shop.

If you’re not making training a priority in your shop, it’s time to outline a training initiative. The good news is that establishing a training program doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. With a few simple steps, you can better prepare your employees to help your screen printing business succeed.

Step 1: Outline responsibilities

If you don’t have one already, create an employee handbook that outlines the positions in your shop and the responsibilities of each position. It might not seem overly related to training, but outlining job descriptions creates the perfect starting point for ensuring that every employee knows what role they fill and the responsibilities of that role. It also will help to identify if there are tasks that employees need to be trained in.

Step 2: Provide new employee orientation

When a new employee starts at your screen printing shop, they likely come in, fill out the paperwork, get a brief tour and get to work. Putting more effort into your new employee orientation ensures that new employees start out on the right track. Taking the time to show new employees around personally and explain how each department works will give new employees an appreciation for the overall operation and how they fit into that operation. You might also have a new employee shadow an experienced employee in their department or spend time in a portion of the shop their work affects. A graphic designer, for example, might spend time on the print floor to see how the quality of their separations impacts the final prints, or a salesperson might sit in with a graphic designer to better understand artwork standards and why working with clients to obtain quality original images provides them with a better finished product.

Step 3: Address weaknesses

As you begin defining employee responsibilities and reviewing training opportunities in your screen printing shop, you’ll likely start to notice areas of weakness. When it comes to training your existing staff, start by addressing the weaknesses you see in the operation. You could invest in sending your employees to a set training program, or you could schedule in-house training to be sure that your employees know the operating procedures you want to see used in your shop, and that your employees are trained for the specific equipment you use.

Step 4: Cross train

Cross training your employees can help your shop run more efficiently. How many people in your shop are trained to do just one task? How many tasks can’t be effectively performed if an employee is on vacation or sick? Cross training employees so they know how to do multiple jobs can help you to put additional employees on a high-priority task when production levels are high. It can also allow your employees to fill in when another employee is out of the shop.

Step 5: Plan for continuing education

If you want your screen printing shop to continue to grow and flourish, you have to plan to train your employees on an ongoing basis. Let your employees learn new skills and techniques that will help your shop improve the quality of your prints or offer new printed products or different types of images. Continue to check in and train on current processes so that your employees continue to follow best practices to create top-quality prints for your customers. Not only will continuing education benefit your shop’s products, it also allows your employees to continue to grow and feel good about their careers. When you help employees reach their goals through training, they’re better equipped to serve your customers, and they’ll feel better about their roles with your company.

Taking the time to establish and implement a training program for your screen printing shop stands to pay off in too many ways to count. Employees will be equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to do their jobs well. They’ll understand how doing their job the right way impacts your shop’s products and services. They’ll have opportunities to learn more and advance their screen printing careers. You’ll also see higher quality prints and better service for your customers, fewer on-the-job injuries, better maintained equipment and employees who are confident and competent in their roles. A solid foundation of training provides a win-win-win for your employees, your customers and your screen printing business.