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The Laws of Attraction

The Laws of Attraction

Why Attracting Labor, Establishing a Training Program and Fostering a Positive Company Culture is the Holy Grail of Ownership.

 As we all know, screen print shops play a crucial role in the apparel and promotional products industry, and their success heavily relies on skilled and motivated labor. Finding valuable labor, implementing effective training programs, and creating a positive company culture are essential for sustained growth and employee satisfaction. But how do you do it? How do you get employee ‘A’ to stop calling out? How do you find seasonal staff for those longer days? How do you build a place that people actually want to work at? Where do you find these key people? When I connect with different shops around the world, one thing that stands out is their team. Whether small or big, these teams have helped shape the growth trajectory of their businesses and therefore are an essential part of the success equation. That said, a team is not an easy thing to just implement and move onto the next thing without strategizing on the roles, individual growth, incentives and more, to help build your employer profile. One common theme I often hear is ‘I can’t find labor.’ There are many factors that play into this, whether rural or urban, finding and keeping valuable members of the company is no easy task. First thing to look at is how you market to your prospects, in this case, your prospects are your future employees.

1. Be a Proactive Promoter

Job Descriptions are clear. Clearly outline job roles, responsibilities, and expectations to attract candidates who understand the requirements and are genuinely interested in the role. Showcase that role's USP (unique selling profile) and think about why you would take the role if the roles were reversed.

Wages and Benefits are competitive. Offer competitive wages and benefits packages to attract skilled individuals and retain talent in a complex job market. Benefits aren’t supposed to be held over employees heads, or touted as the number one reason to work for you. Rather, benefits offer support to those who maybe could not afford it, or for those who would otherwise go without, giving you a wider audience wanting to work for your company.

Employee are recruiters. Encourage existing employees to refer potential candidates, leveraging their networks to find like-minded individuals. Harnessing the power of your team can foster new opportunities with individuals that can add value to your operations with minimal effort on marketing. Treat your team right and they will bring you good people over  time.

Schools are partners: Widen your reach by engag ing with local educational institutions. Partnering with trade schools, colleges, and vocational programs can help establish connections with students interested in the printing industry, or just learning a valuable skill that earns them money after school.


What does offering longevity look like on paper to someone you want to hire? What does it look like to the catcher who has not changed positions in far too long? Providing a foundation for growth ensures they will see your company not as a steppingstone, but a place to build a long-term career. A good foundation is likely to include:

Comprehensive onboarding. Develop a structured onboarding process that introduces new employees to the company's values, processes, and safety protocols right away. Establish who you are as a company, and present that as part of establishing who you want your employees to be. Company size doesn't matter your core identity shouldn't depend on whether you're a 1-person show or 500 people deep.

Hands-on training. Allow new hires to learn and practice various screen printing techniques under the guidance of experienced staff. Screen printing is a visual art, and it's kinetic. You can't understand the totality of this process by reading about it in a book. Getting in the trenches to show people the way honors their growth and proves the organization is invested in their success.

Continuous learning. Invest in ongoing training and workshops to keep employees updated with the latest industry best practices. Send as many people as you can to at least one trade show. Sign up your teams for industry webinars. Offer additional education on life skills like finances.

Mentorship opportunities. Pair newer employees with seasoned team members who can offer guidance and support for the long term. Such opportunities will also appeal to potential hires. When warranted, make sure you reward experienced team members for their empathy, compassion, and guidance.


Culture is just a byproduct of the things you do consistently. If you consistently run your shop like a circus stressed out, disorganized then that's the type of team you are creating and fostering. Retention is likely to drop, as are quality and performance metrics. If you're consistently focused, purpose-driven, and willing to listen, your team will step up when you need them. Either way, the leader sets the tone of the crew. Also keep in mind that few things work better for attraction and retention than others knowing you have the "it" factor when it comes to company culture. What does a good company look like on paper? New hires and prospects are likely to be attracted to the following:

Open communication. Transparency ensures honest feedback between management and employees, allowing for feedback, suggestions, and addressing concerns. Transparency is key to a productive environment. It ensures honest feedback, and that employees' concerns are addressed. It's the difference between employees who want to work for you, and employees who are there only to collect a paycheck. Morning meetings and weekly updates can help keep things open and respectful for all.

Recognition. Celebrating individual and team accomplishments boosts morale and motivates employees to excel. Find reasons any reasons to celebrate your team, even in the smallest of accomplishments. Set a standard early that you "see" them and you know they work hard. Recognition with appreciation goes a long way when people look back on the past year (or past 10 years) at their job. It can be the difference between creating an hourly employee and an employee with tenure.

Employee Involvement. Involving employees in decision-making processes demonstrates that you value their input. Ask them point-blank questions, or take regular surveys. Use their feedback to identify and remedy your own blind spots or those of your management team. Remember, the most important position in the shop is the one often forgotten about.

Work-life balance. Offering flexible scheduling options can create an environment that supports employees' personal well-being and family commitments. This may be easier said than done, but how might offset- ting shifts or weekends do for employees' quality of life? Could working four 10- hour days alleviate pressure while meeting the same goals normally accomplished in a typical 5-day schedule?

Development opportunities. Don't underestimate the power of a path. Employees know you're com- mitted to their long-term success when there is a clear path to career growth and advancement within the company. Is there a clear road map to the life they want to live at work, perhaps in middle or even upper management? Meeting with other business owners is always a good way to garnish new ideas of how to develop team members more effectively.

All of this requires work. However, making your company an appealing place to build a career is. a long-term investment. You have to put forth the effort you expect from your team for the long run. After all, you're all in this boat together, and your success is a direct result of the team's empowerment along the way.


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