Posts Tagged ‘Employment’

Invest in the Employee – Your Greatest Business Asset

February 10, 2010

It’s pretty easy maths when you think about it; to get set-up as an artworker/designer/creative bod today doesn’t actually cost a fortune and for most people they would probably have a home setup that is better or newer than what they would be using at work anyway.

I did a quick shopping list using some estimates on what it would take to set-up a little home office. Being completely legal naturally (not to say that anyone would use pirated software anyway!) and this is what I came up with:

 

Now, consider that you wouldn’t rush out and buy all of the font collections in one go and let’s say you purchased them on a project-by-project basis (or if you were working on outsourced work you may even be supplied the fonts) a £5,530 investment over 3 years isn’t that bad. In fact £1,845 per year would be a ‘drop in the ocean’ if you are able to get the work in.

The thing with doing this is that you need to actually be good at what you do in order to maintain a steady income! A big part of that is the need to keep on top of your training in the applications, hell you’re responsible for your own income now, so if you don’t put the time in you have no one to blame but yourself….

Now look at it from the companies‘ point of view. They employ you on a wage (or if you’re unlucky a salary) and you are monitored on your efficiency to produce work in a timely fashion and actually that’s not much different to what you would do for yourself, although your attitude towards it is different when someone else is paying you, right?

In my mind, you, the employee are still responsible for yourself and your career advancements. You would be of less value if, for instance, you spent your life in QuarkXpress and never taught yourself Indesign – when looking for a new job you may find yourself unemployable.

But what about the employer? Do they have a resposibility to provide you with some sort of training? Some sort of career progression? Well no not really, not unless it is in their interest. But there is an exception to that you see, since the company wants to get the most out their assets is it not in their best interests to make sure you are the absolute best you possibly could be? Not only that, but you are a massive annual investment to them and you cost them a tonne of money each year that they need to charge onto the client in some way.

That’s to say that you as an employee can absolve yourself from trying to be a model worker and sit back and blame your company for you not going anywhere. No, you have to be the driver here, you have to want to be the best and your company should know that they can invest in you for their own greater return. Let’s face it most companies that are doing well will reward their employees and there’s even those with stockholders who share the wealth with their employees. I’ve always said that a happy employee is a productive employee, yet all I see and hear is how unhappy people are and how badly their employer treats them.

I wish that employers could see that their greatest investment is in their staff and their staff are what they should be nurturing, developing and rewarding in order to grow their business.

Author: Gary George

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Jack of all trades?

December 23, 2009

You know what, with all this talk about pre-media and the diverse channels of media that need to be addressed that fall into it’s scope, I thought we ought to look at the types of skills a ‘pre-media specialist’ should hold… This has really come about after a discussion and then one of those lovely google alerts coming in for a ‘pre-media specialist’ job in London.

Firstly lets take a quick look at what this job wanted the candidates to be able to do:

To be considered for this role, you will ideally have:
Commercial experience in professional graphics software applications including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, QuarkXpress and Dreamweaver
Sound working knowledge of HTML and CSS
Data processing experience, preferably gained in MS Excel or Access
A demonstrable track record of working to client briefs and interpreting requirements.
Knowledge of variable data mark-up for digital print and knowledge of digital workflow in a print or online production environment
Any experience gained in XMPie, DirectSmile or Yours Truly designer VDP extensions is highly desirable, but not strictly essential as full training can be provided.

My god they should have thrown in Video Editing in Final Cut Pro just for good measure!… I’ve just exaggerated the keywords there for them to jump out at you, this is a pretty good job spec and to be honest if anyone could demonstrate commercial experience in just Photoshop they would probably be in for a 25k a year job, but these guys seem to want you to be a jack of all trades here, and to top that their owning willing to pay between 20-30k a year… Now hold on, I know we’re living in desperate times, but to me there is 4 distinct jobs outlined in this spec…. An Artworker capable of page markup and image composition. A web designer building pages in HTML and CSS. A data processing/VDP person and last but not least a workflow guy. Now, I’ve been around for some 20 years in this trade and met some pretty clever people, but none of them have that sort of diversity and if they did know a little of each, they were by no means a specialist.

So are we now expecting too much for our money?

http://www.sillydaddy.net

Cartoon by Joe Chiapetta http://www.sillydaddy.net

I know so many companies that struggle to get good Quark, Indesign & Photoshop operators and the good ones they do get are paid over 35k, the to add Illustrator to that, good Illustrator people are worth their weight in gold. As the cartoon displays the skills gap that UPS identified in Illinois, we tend to hire just on the basis that the potential employee writes it on their CV.

(thanks to Joe Chiappetta for allowing the use of this cartoon picture, check out all his great work at http://www.sillydaddy.net)

But if you were a brand owner and knew your pre-media company employed pre-media specialists who, well, specialized in everything rather than any one of the given disciplines of pre-media, how confident would you be in the specialist services you were getting?

In fact each of the Adobe application have a certified expert program were a user can take an exam based on one of the applications (in the UK they are provided through a series of authorized training centers) if you pass you are provided a certificate to say you are a certified expert in that version of the application…. Have you ever even asked your pre-media supplier if they have any certified experts employed and if so what versions of the applications they are experts in…. Or in fact if you are an employee have you asked your company to sponsor you to become an expert? I mean it would benefit them as much as it benefits your own career, and lastly as an employer do you encourage and support your staff to become experts?

On the whole most of you will answer no to the above, yet if we are to really and truly benchmark the skills and salaries of the people we employ we need to start encouraging accreditation in the applications we employ them to use, unfortunately for me, years of experience doesn’t mean the person is actually any good in the applications, and I can tell you from experience I’ve employed some youngsters in my time that are worth 10 times their peers.

While I understand that there is a need to employ people with multiple skills, companies are constantly running the risk employing people who aren’t particularly skilled in anything, I mean, I could say that I am fluent in CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, yet I only really know 5% of what Corel is capable of doing and that’s where the problem is when a person states they can use a graphic application.

So where does this leave our modern pre-media companies who need to deliver services across multiple disciplines and deliver those services at rates that are competitive against the other pre-media companies in the market. Well better pre-employment screening can only help you employ the right people, there’s plenty of great people out there, I hope you can find them and have a good performance rating program to assist the weaker ones in becoming a true asset to the company.

Author: Gary George

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4 Phases of Employment by Pratap Singh

August 6, 2009

I had to share this one with you, I think there are more than 4 stages, but take a read and see what you think!

1) The Hope Phase: The employee joins work with the hope that the new organization will provide better work, respect and culture. The expectations are most often a function of what the person didn’t get in his earlier employment and of what he or she was promised in the interview. The organization is also hopeful that the employee will live up to his potential.

Both parties try to be at their respective best to extend the “hope phase” and ensure that the arrangement succeeds.

2) The Realization Phase: This is possibly the most difficult phase for the employee and the employer. The posturing of the “hope phase” is over by now. In this phase, the employee and employer see themselves for what the other really is and evaluate each other to better understand if they made the right decisions.

Read the rest here.

Author of this page: Gary George

Author of the original blog: Pratap Singh

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.