At Least You Have a Job!

As my friend Vince DiTrolio of DiTrolio Flexographic Inst. (DFI) said to me just last week, “It's one thing for an employee to say, “At least I have a job”; but it's quite another thing for an employer to say to an employee, “At least you have a job!”

As managers, we need to be careful how we express the obvious — even if what we say is true. Perhaps an alternative manner for an employer to express the same sentiment, as Vince suggested, is to say, “Times are hard for everyone right now, so I hope we can work together to get through this.”

It's in economies like the one we're presently experiencing that a marked difference is noticed between a company with narrow management focus on profitability and another that invests in employee retention and productivity. One company is here for the short term, the other is here for the long term.

Who hasn't felt the pressures and demands of their jobs — whether they're at the top of the food chain or the very bottom? Who also isn't willing to admit that in a larger company setting where hundreds of people work, one employee is, in reality, just a “number.” There's a difference though. If that's how we make our employees feel, then we can't expect a warm, fuzzy response to our cold decisions. A like-it-or-leave-it managerial attitude could result in a mass employee exodus once the economy makes a significant turnaround.

One of the ways, as I learned at DFI, by which a company can serve a dual purpose of fostering employee morale while boosting a firm's leadership position is through training — even as a company is still smarting from the complexities of an economic recession. In fact, it's the best time to invest in employees.

Not only can employees learn or re-learn the basics as well as best practices of their skill sets, they can learn lean manufacturing principles and techniques, such as at DFI, that can save the company money on an incremental as well as large scale. Some training institutions stage custom workshops that can be done on plant site and tailored to specific needs, resulting over the long haul in savings peculiar to that company's operation.

But training need not be limited to hands-on, operational personnel. Sales people lacking a technical background can learn, at the very least, process capabilities for future sales opportunities. As a training institution, DFI is in the good company of many other trade organizations that serve the noble purpose to educate. The Assn. of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters & Laminators (with which PFFC shares a special privilege to cohost selected free webinars), the Tag & Label Mfrs. Inst., the Foundation of the Flexographic Technical Assn., the Packaging & Label Gravure Assn., as well as a host of others, offer classes from which we can profit to enhance our job security. Find these and other opportunities at

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