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Literally every print company we speak to is having trouble finding new employees, hiring good employees and retaining employees at their business. And to be fair this isn’t just a print business problem, it’s something that every industry is facing, but each industry has its own unique challenges which means there is no global solution for this. While that is unfortunate (because it would be so much easier if there were one), it’s an opportunity to uniquely qualify yourself when upgrading your recruitment, hiring, training and retaining of employees at your print shop.

In this article we speak to all of that and hope it inspires you to make the changes necessary to generate growth within your print organization.


Recruiting Employees for a Print Company

When it comes to recruiting employees for a print business, it’s important to implement targeted strategies that attract the right candidates. But first and foremost you must provide your opening visibility. In this section we’ll look at both getting visibility and then qualifying the candidates in your employee recruitment.


Getting Your Print Job Opening Seen

To do this you have to promote the job opening. Period!

We’ve found that many print shops don’t promote the job very well because it can take time and money that they don’t feel they have. But without doing it you’re missing out on good candidates seeing the post.

Do these things to promote your job opening:

  • Post to online job boards such as Indeed and LinkedIn (you can also try Facebook job applications)
  • Post to social media and ask people to share with someone they think could be a good fit as well as speak directly to potential candidates who see the post
  • Send email out about the opening
  • Consider offering an internship for one or more people and put them to work, see who can pull it off and offer the job to the person who can “hack it” on the shop floor (this is actually a pretty fun way to go)

What you do not want to do is simply post the job to your website and that be it. That doesn’t work!


Qualifying or Vetting Candidates Who Apply

If you promote your job opening you WILL get junk applicants. People who are in no way qualified for the role. But there is a fix for that (or at least a way to get very few of these). You must articulate very clearly what you want and expect in your job description. The more descriptive you are the better.

Include these things in your job description:

  • Clearly describe the work and tasks
  • Use specific examples of the type of person you want
  • Give extreme detail on the qualifications someone may need
  • Don’t use a bunch of fluffy language that means nothing like you see in so many other job descriptions (this is what gets the junk)
  • If possible share a salary range and don’t make it too wide

The clearer you are the better and the less fluff the better. Seriously, every candidate will read a job description and say “I am a smart, motivated individual. I should apply!”. Be specific! Most of those who aren’t a fit if you do these things will filter themselves out.


Hiring the Right Employees for Your Print Business

Getting hiring right, at least to the best of your ability, will serve your print company well in the long run. You’ll end up firing fewer people, have employees stick around longer, be able to grow faster and develop a culture. So how do you hire the right people? Well you’ve already heard in the last section the beginning to this… Promote your job opening and put specific language to qualify / vet applicants.

Next you should do these things:

  • Develop a strategic interview process that is scalable so you remove unnecessary bias
  • Create testing to further qualify candidates
  • Have very specific interview questions that are telling of that person
  • Always do a background check and reference checks
  • Meet with them in-person at least once
  • Have other team members meet them
  • Scrutinize Everything!
  • Assess potential for growth of the individual

Unfortunately this can take time, but the time spent is well worth it. And you have to be overly scrutinizing behind the scenes because many candidates won’t see it as a good thing if they feel the pressure of how much you are picking them apart. Just to be clear, we’re not saying to baby the candidate, “keep them safe”, not hurt their feelings or make it hard for them. What we are saying is that if you are so blatant in showing how critical you are, it’s a turn off, just like in any relationship, you must have an initial attraction and develop a mutual respect. So don’t be too openly aggressive. Make it fun and interesting.


How Print Companies Can Retain Employees

The main tenets of employee retention are compensation, enjoyable work, a good environment, growth opportunities and a sense of value, purpose and belonging. And a print business is no different, you have to provide all of those things and then some.

Ideas on how print companies can retain employees:

  • Offering a competitive compensation and benefits package.
    • Salary
    • Medical, Vision, Dental
    • Retirement
    • Bonus
  • Provide opportunities for professional development and advancement within the company.
  • Foster a supportive workplace culture that values employees’ contributions.
  • Implement effective communication channels and regular feedback sessions to address concerns and provide recognition.
  • Creating work-life balance initiatives and employee wellness programs to enhance job satisfaction.
  • Have team outings, contests, family gatherings, etc.

Having these things and doing them consistently is key to employee retention for print companies of every size. Additionally you have really focus on two key areas, continued training and sharing ownership & responsibility.


Training Employees at a Print Company

By continuing to train employees you are giving them the skills to be better, be more efficient, grow the company and give you peace of mind because they are doing a good job. But in addition to this it creates a clear path to earning more money, getting promoted, feeling pride in their work and taking on a sense of ownership and responsibility which we go into next.

Giving Employees Ownership, Responsibility, Purpose and Reward

Empowering employees with a sense of ownership, responsibility, purpose, and giving them rewards will significantly enhance their job satisfaction and commitment to your print company.

Do things such as:

  • Delegating meaningful tasks and projects that allow employees to take ownership and make a real impact.
  • Providing clear career paths and opportunities for advancement, giving employees a sense of purpose and long-term goals.
  • Implementing performance-based incentive programs or recognition systems to reward employees for their hard work and achievements.
  • Encouraging open communication and involving employees in decision-making processes, making them feel valued and respected.
  • Offering regular feedback and constructive criticism to help employees grow and improve in their roles.

By implementing effective recruitment strategies, hiring the right employees, fostering a supportive work environment, providing comprehensive training, and empowering employees with ownership, responsibility, purpose, and reward, your print shop can attract and retain talented individuals, leading to sustained growth and success in your business.


Bonus Tip on Employee Recruitment:

Building a brand around your team and culture will drastically improve your ability to attract and retain the best print shop employees. This means not only marketing your business to gain new customers, it means marketing the inside of your print company as well, showcasing the people, letting them share their passion and putting that out there to the world (especially on places like TikTok and Instagram *we know the owners reading this hate that we said TikTok, sorry!). For many business owners this is a hard one to let happen, but we promise you it’s well worth it.