Information, Please

Headshot of BedTimes Managing Editor Beth English
Beth English
Managing Editor

The night before I wrote this column, I discussed it with my husband. I told him I’d like to write something related to our cover feature on workforce training. Then, being the wonderful idea guy that he is, he started brainstorming around the idea of training. I found it fascinating that all of his thoughts about training related to sitting in a classroom. He hadn’t had the benefit of reading our “Training Camp” article. Luckily, I had.

Thanks to Julie A. Palm’s research, I know that good training involves a variety of methods — printed materials; videos; online training materials; one-on-one, in-person training; on-site, instructor-led group training; classroom instruction; mentoring; shadowing; cross-training; and apprenticeships.

I’m so glad today’s training embraces these different formats. We all have our favorite ways of learning, and sometimes those change based on what we’re trying to grasp. When I was in school, it was easy for me to pick up things by reading. But these days, when trying to teach myself something new, YouTube videos come to the rescue. My husband and son are auditory learners. They fare better when listening to instructions rather than reading them. And my distracted daughter is all about hands-on learning.

Workforce training is such an essential aspect of any job these days, but especially in manufacturing. In the four years I’ve been with the International Sleep Products Association, so much has changed quickly. Adjustable bases have taken off. Boxed delivery systems have affected mattress components and packaging. And sleep tracking technology continues to grow.

In this fast-paced world, we constantly are learning. Help your employees absorb new information in ways that make sense. Don’t assume they will pick things up on their own. And as our cover story points out, training isn’t a one-and-done exercise. Reminders, refresher lessons and updates should all be part of an ongoing program.

Training isn’t limited to the factory floor, either. Find ways to learn more about what it takes to run a business, manage workers and promote your product. In fact, you’re doing that right now by reading BedTimes. This publication, which brings you information you can use in your company, is vital to your continuing education.

Another good source of information is ISPA’s upcoming Industry Conference, which will be held March 13-14 in St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition to lots of opportunities to network, the conference offers a slate of speakers who are sure to spark ideas and conversations. Just what you need to return to work energized and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

Let’s make this year one of excellence as we all strive to better ourselves and our companies.