Recruiting, training and retaining quality staff are some of the core issues facing the UK sign and graphics industry, according to research commissioned by ISA-UK, powered by BSGA.

More than two thirds (68%) of those who took part in the online survey said that recruiting and retaining qualified staff is a key issue, with more than half of those (51.47%) saying that staffing issues pose a significant problem to their business.

The survey also revealed that sourcing good quality staff training is a challenge for sign industry decision-makers.  62% of respondents said that accessing training for their staff is an issue for them, with more than a third of those (33.87%) saying it is a significant problem

“One of the most common misconceptions about training is that it’s only needed at the start of a new job or to ‘tick a box’ for a specific project or position: once your career is well-established, and you have years of experience under your belt, surely you don’t need further training?” says Sam Armstrong, vice-president of ISA-UK and founding of specialist sign industry training company Make it Happen.  “But training offers so much more. It’s an opportunity for people to continuously learn and develop their skills, pass on these benefits to  customers and, ultimately, the bottom line of their business.”

As a partner of the International Sign Association, ISA-UK now offers 24 online training courses covering digital signage, business management, marketing, print, project management and sales.  All the online courses are mobile-device friendly and participants can study at the pace and time that suits them. Each course costs £55, or £35 for ISA-UK members.

Once an online learning course has been successfully completed, the student receives a digital certificate, demonstrating their proficiency. These can be included on CVs or social profiles as a portable, verifiable and secure way to showcase professional skills and competencies.

“Offering a comprehensive training programme is a powerful way to retain your staff,” continues Sam. “You are more likely to secure the loyalty of your team if you demonstrate that you are committed to their personal development and continue to motivate and challenge them.”

A massive 80% of survey respondents agreed that design and innovation are very important to their business with 79% saying that customers are looking for more creative input from their sign company these days.

Adding value to customers with creative and design input is growing ever more important to sign businesses. 67% of survey respondents said that they are frequently asked to make design recommendations, and 95% said they will provide design recommendations, even if the customer doesn’t ask for them.

“New products and processes are coming to market constantly, and businesses need to ensure they are aware of what’s available,” says Rob Lambie, president of ISA-UK.  “Today’s customers don’t want yesterday’s products and solutions; they expect their sign supplier to be able to recommend innovative solutions so they can stand out from their competitors. Investing in regular training for you and your staff will ensure you have a thorough knowledge of what’s available and what’s coming online – and how you can incorporate new technology and techniques into your offering.”