Investing in Your Workforce

By Joanna Truitt
Executive Director
Association Education Alliance
Sponsor of the University of Innovative Distribution

It’s no secret that we are in a labor shortage. Changes in technology, industry misconceptions, and an aging workforce are contributing to the problem many of our members are having in filling vacant positions. Plus, once you’ve found that good hire, you must then implement an onboarding and training plan that leverages their strengths, teaches them what they don’t know, and quickly gets them vested in your company’s mission. 

When you take measure of the most successful distributors in the marketplace, they all have several attributes in common: a dedication to employee safety, product reliability, and process efficiency. This corporate culture supports a level of standards higher than required. In doing so, they have all but guaranteed customer loyalty and repeat business. Their end users don’t need to question the quality of the product or service they receive. The formula for their success is textbook:

  • Invest in your workforce; instill in them a sense of commitment and accountability;
  • Understand the end-use application;
  • Ensure processes are well documented and consistently applied without taking shortcuts;
  • Support your end users.

Their success is contingent on continuity with manageable employee turnover. These are companies who understand that investing in their workforce is critical to their success.

How does your company stack up?
Do you ask your employees, either directly or through their managers, for feedback on what education or training could help them increase production, safety, or efficiency?

Do you have a comprehensive plan for new employee onboarding?

Does your company have a top-down commitment to invest in its workforce through education and training – with funds set aside in your budget for workforce development?

Did you answer “no” to one or more of these questions? If so, now is a good time to think about developing a program that incorporates mentoring, online, and in-person education and training.

If you aren’t sure where to start, begin with your employees – they’ll provide you with long list of great ideas, many of which you already have the resources to deliver. And, you can count on FEDA educational programs including its online education and training hub, The Learn Institute. You may also take advantage of FEDA’s scholarship program for CFSP and ServSafe, or its sponsorship of the University of Innovative Distribution. Either way, make your resolution to bring education and training front and center in 2020. Your bottom line will thank you.