We’ve taken a new approach to employee training at Versa Pak. By mixing a formal classroom environment with hands-on learning, we’re able to meet the needs of different types of learners starting with the company — and we’ve seen a positive outcome in the long run.
When he’s not presenting forklift training or training tenured employees on updates to processes like our SQF certification, Versa Pak’s trainer Ryan Baer facilitates our new hire training every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Read on to learn more about our training for new employees and how it’s been beneficial.
Alternating Formal Training With Hands-On Experiences
The new approach to training for new employees mixes traditional classroom training with hands-on training.
The formal classroom training, Baer said, includes the new employees coming in as entry-level line operators sitting in a classroom and following a presentation, such as on job requirements. Next, they transition into hands-on training on the floor, followed by another formal training.
“Since we are an Equal Opportunity Employer, we have different backgrounds of people coming in who we hire or are coming in through a temp agency, things like that, so we’re able to accommodate the needs of everyone with the formal training and with the hands-on learning,” he said.
One example he noted was with new hires undergoing a formal classroom training with our quality control director to discuss Versa Pak’s quality control and our certifications (like our SQF Certification). Next, the hands-on portion would have the new hires physically looking for the things the director taught them.
Setting New Employees Up for Success
Every week, Versa Pak gets feedback on the training program, and Baer described the results as excellent, noting the new hires are more comfortable and confident.
“It’s not a job where they’re just getting thrown on the line where they don’t know what to expect,” he said. “We’ve taken time to build a basic foundation for them to build their skills to be successful.”
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Positive reassurance, Baer said, is a large part of the training program. He noted he likes to get the classroom involved and makes a point to vocalize to new employees “great job” or “you’re doing good.”
“We get a lot of clapping or people that say ‘good job;’ just positive reinforcement,” he said, adding they stay away from negativity. “We don’t have a lot of, ‘We don’t do it like this.’ We’ll say, ‘This is a way you can do it, and if there’s another way you’d like to try that works for you, by all means, you’re more than welcome to try it that way.’”
By doing this, employees feel a sense of encouragement and pride in their performance, Baer said.
“Starting a new job can be very, very challenging,” he said. “We have a good atmosphere, and that’s some of the feedback that I get from the new hires.
“There’s not a lot of tension, not a lot of stress, and they’re able to perform a job with little to no stress on their minds, little to no stress or strain on their bodies due to the equipment we provide,” Baer said.
Creating a Healthy, Positive Working Environment
Baer said he gets enjoyment out of both being a trainer and seeing what the healthy work environment brings to new hires.
“That positive feedback gives individuals that ‘I can’ attitude. We want people that are coming in here to have that ‘I can’ attitude – ‘Oh, I can do that,’ ‘I can help you,’ ‘I can go above and beyond what’s expected of me every day,’” he said.
At the end of their training on Thursdays, Baer said he promises the new employees he will be there to share in their success.
“Anytime they learn something new, anytime they have something they want to tell me or to share in what they’re doing, I will always be here to share in their success and their achievements and the direction they go in the company,” he said.
Training Program Helps Versa Pak Meet Our Goals
Overall, Baer said he’s already noticed the effects of the new training system.
“When you can see some of the changes that have come because of the new training program, it really starts to feel good,” he said. “You can physically see the changes that are made, the areas that are focused on. We’re meeting those goals we’ve looked to achieve throughout the factory.”
Interested in a career at Versa Pak? See our job openings and apply online.
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