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Reflections from Rebecca Aguilera-Gardiner on Cross Training your team

Reflections from Rebecca Aguilera-Gardiner on Cross Training your team
Why is skills training so important to Diego & Son Printing?    

Our company has been around since 1972 and we have had to significantly change since then. The 80s provided a large boom for print but then came the 90s and more things became available online, so printing has taken a hit little by little. This means we must continue to reskill and upskill our workforce to remain competitive in the market. We need to be able to be cheaper and faster than our competition. That is why we have focused heavily on cross training our staff to ensure they have the skill set that our business needs.  

Tell us about the work you are doing to strengthen the workforce at
Diego & Son Printing 

Diego & Son is a small family-owned business, and we truly feel a commitment to the employees that come to work for us every day. That is why we place a strong focus on strengthening our workforce through cross-training employees. During the pandemic it became even more
apparent that we would need to maximize the employees we had on staff. In order to survive everyone had to play more than one role. That meant not just having the skills to move from machine to machine but also the know-how to move from machines to purchasing to sales.
We found that our employees really wanted to learn and gain new skills. I think often we as small business owners forget that our workforce wants new challenges, and they want to see and participate in our business as it grows and thrives. Cross training, so everyone on our small team knows all parts of our business model, is one way we achieved that.  

What do you value about being a part of Business Leaders United?   

As another piece of my
work, I run a nonprofit called Veterans in Business (VIB) Network which supports veteran-owned businesses. Our business is certified as a service-disabled veteranbusiness, and we thought it was important to grow this community through connecting other veteran owned businesses with corporations and government agencies for contracting agencies andhelping them develop their businesses. 

Through Business Leaders United, I not only gain information that is valuable for my company, but I also
share that information with our network of veteran owned businesses. This is valuable for everyone I meetas I feel like I can give back to my own network through my learnings with BLU.
I also feel like it is valuable for me to be a part of BLU because there is a need for micro and small business representation. Without these voices being heard in Congress we miss a key piece of the workforce development system.  

Why should other employers get involved in advocating for employer led workforce development initiatives and skills training?   

After doing
the work for several years now I realize how important a small business voice can be. I often represent the voice of small businesses in front of lawmakers, and I really take that to heart. 
It is always important to get your voice heard as an employer. Businesses are always thinking about hiring- but businesses also need to think ahead about hiring in the big picture i.e., the pipeline of talent that is out there. It’s hard for one small business to influence that pipeline. That’s why it is important for Congress to know what skills training and workforce development programs mean to small business owners. We (small business owners) really need to be more active and involved in the policy discussions that happen at a federal level and being a part of BLU makes it easier to do that. 

Are there other burning thoughts that you would like to share with your employer peers?   

been a tough 2 years,but I do see the light at the end of the tunnel and business seems to be picking up. This is the time if you haven’t gone to a LEAN environment, the practice of
eliminating non-value-added activities while delivering quality products on time at least cost with greater efficiency, you might want to consider cross training your employees. It’s worth a conversation with your employees to find out if they are ready and willing to take on different roles in the business. You may be surprised by the personal skill sets your employees want to develop that can help your business.