This edition marks the second time we have done an Industry Outlook in Hardwood Floors. I’m happy to say that things still look relatively positive for our industry going into 2019. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we won’t have challenges to contend with such as wood look-alikes, tariffs, and the uncertainty of the midterm elections. But, overall it appears many people are optimistic.
There was another data point that stood out to me, related to the continuing concerns about the labor shortage and its impact on our ability to meet growing demand. It’s no secret that finding skilled labor is becoming a challenge in many industries. The good news is there are some essential resources available to us as NWFA members that we can start using today that will not only help us face this challenge head-on, but also help us improve our businesses overall.
A recent article I read addresses a concern – that I know many employers share – the cost of training. A common fear is that if training is provided, the employee will take that knowledge and move to a different employer. The author offered this in reply, “What if you don’t train your employees…and they stay?” Now that’s something to think about!
There are so many benefits to training your employees. The most obvious is that they will develop greater skills and be better at their jobs. It also helps to establish a culture of continuous improvement within your organization. Many people at companies already have specific processes and habits. Creating a culture of learning, in turn, helps your organization run better since you are openly encouraging new ideas.
Training is also a great recruitment tool. Once your company gains a reputation for being a place that embraces training as a large part of its culture, talented people will want to work with you, because they know they will grow with you. And guess what? That means it’s also great for retention. Because the only thing harder than finding and hiring great employees, is holding on to great employees. If your culture is focused on training, great employees will want to stick with your company.
The NWFA University offers online and hands-on courses for NWFA members who are interested in expanding their wood flooring knowledge. One of the most significant components of the university is the opportunity to earn badges. A badge is a digital representation of a learned skill, and contains electronic content that can be shared on social channels. Badges serve as prerequisites to hands-on training, which allow for more time to develop hands-on skills. A combination of badges and hands-on training lead to certifications.
The NWFA University pushes the industry limits and encourages professionals to grow their knowledge and skill set to set themselves apart from their competition. The NWFA University is a resource to engage with other professionals, take part in meaningful education, and turn a job into a career.
Even if you’re not ready to commit to hands-on training, a one-year all-access pass to the online courses in NWFA University costs only $100, per NWFA member company. That means all of your employees will have access, and they can develop their skills at their own pace without leaving the office.
So as you look ahead to 2019 and beyond, I encourage you to build some dollars into your budget for training. It’s an investment you won’t regret. I personally completed all the learning tracks in the NWFA University and was amazed at the valuable information that was in there. The day you stop learning is the day you stop growing.
Contact the team at 800.422.4556 or visit nwfa.org today to learn more.