The screen printing business is not always the most glamorous. As Anthony Corsano has found, sometimes this can make it challenging to attract and engage new and existing employees. However, there are many ways we can strengthen the relationship with shop staff from a more empathetic approach.
One big challenge Anthony Corsano has found over the course of his career is that the printing business can have a high staff turnover rate, which can sometimes make it difficult to keep the running of the printing processes efficient. To tackle some of these difficulties, Anthony has some advice on how we can approach employee engagement to not just improve day-to-day work life, but can also build and sustain a stronger community.
Offer a flexible outlook
Working in a print shop can mean incredibly long hours, so offering some flexibility can be beneficial. Anthony prefers not to be overly strict with starting and finishing times, especially when this can motivate his employees to actually work harder. This allows the shop to differentiate itself from working in an office job, and create a more appealing work-life balance for those there.
Implement fun incentives
For Anthony and his workforce at Bolt Printing, this means regular Pizza Fridays! But whatever form it takes, he highlights the benefits of incentives. This can also mean financial bonuses to commend outstanding performance or a reward program for those who have worked certain milestones. Doing so allows his employees to feel valued, makes the work week go faster, and gives everyone something to look forward to.
Embrace your position as a mentor figure
If you’ve been in the business for a long time, or if you simply run your own shop, use your position to inspire others. Sharing your expertise and experience can be incredibly motivating to those looking to establish themselves further. This can mean having compassion towards your employees through leading-by-example and forming trusting relationships. Being more personable can make the workspace far more inviting and comfortable. He says watching someone grow can be rewarding in more ways than one: not only the personal benefit, but also allowing you to scale your shop in new ways.
Think in terms of people, not profits
A lot of the extra effort Anthony puts in to support his staff is unrelated to expenses. Focusing on the people who work for you, rather than the expenses involved, can be liberating and might ultimately end up being more financially beneficial anyway. “It’s good for the business, bottom line, to build camaraderie and the team,” Anthony emphasizes. Treating your employees well is an investment that can really pay off.
Don’t shy away from difficult conversations
Although conversations about employee happiness, work performance or even personal life can be difficult to broach and react to, Anthony’s advice is not to shy away from them when they do come up: “Approach tough stuff with compassion, understanding, and empathy. If you find a way to relate to your employees, it can help both of you find solutions to conflicts.”
Promote versatility and ambition
Anthony makes it a priority to cross-train his employees so that everyone knows at least two or three skills. By having more variety in their skillset, the chances of their interest and involvement within the entire process increases. For Anthony, he always makes it clear to all employees that they have the chance to grow and get to the top. And when people in his shop are motivated to scale upwards, Anthony is glad to share as much responsibility with them as possible. “At the end of the day,” Anthony says, “you’re spending more time with the people at work than your own family. Getting the right team together and keeping people happy is the key to success.”