By Jason Vaughan, WF&FSA's Communications Manager
As we weather another season of economic unpredictability, nearly all industries are facing challenges in finding — and keeping — motivated, engaged employees. One approach to attracting and retaining talent is a corporate commitment to education and training, which is highly valued in an increasingly younger workforce. Almost 90 percent of workers under the age of 40 cite access to professional development critical to their decision to stay at a company.
“Now is the time to think about the future,” said WF&FSA President Gabriel Becerra at June’s Floral Distribution Conference. If training and professional development are key to the future of your workplace, WF&FSA is proud to offer its members an array of educational programming. From executive-level webinars on economics and business topics to experiential, hands-on events to the basics of flower care and handling, WF&FSA is here for the growth and development of your employees.
In 2020, the association launched its online education platform: the WF&FSA Institute. The institute provides affordable and quality courses on a broad range of topics. WF&FSA’s education team has developed curated playlists covering driver and workplace safety, marketing, sales, and customer communications. This programming can be used to augment onboarding processes as well as serve as an avenue for training and employee development.
WF&FSA’s education team partnered with subject matter experts to craft an initial three courses specific to the floral distribution industry. These courses are designed to help employees boost their knowledge about floral distribution chains, improve flower quality, reduce waste, and provide the absolute best product for customers.
Lifecycle of a Rose
Designed for new employees to the flower industry, this “101 style” course lays out the basics of the growing process of roses. Learners gain a better understanding of the conditions used to commercially grow roses, the role breeders play, and the costs associated with rose production and transportation.
Flower Care and Handling
This course is divided into three sections: flower anatomy, basics of care and handling (hydration, flower food composition, etc.), and post-harvest care with detailed information on temperature and humidity control, sanitation, and preventative measures against ethylene and botrytis. It is available in both English and Spanish.
Sea Shipping to Ensure Customer’s Maximum Satisfaction
Even before 2020, more and more producers were turning to shipping flowers by sea, especially during holidays when air freight prices are especially high. This course, presented in a webinar format, identifies the equipment growers need for packing and preparation, looks into the proper techniques to maximize flower life, and best practices for care at the destination port.
Outside of WF&FSA Institute, members can take advantage of monthly webinars, including briefings by the forecasters at ITR Economics. These sessions cover industry trends, business-to-business activity, trade, inflation, and interest rates and help you identify where you are in the business cycle to make the right decisions at the right time. WF&FSA members can also take advantage of the University of Innovative Distribution’s series of webinars, which touch upon a variety of topics, including business succession, retaining employees, and trucking and the U.S. economy. These educational resources are free for members and are displayed on the WF&FSA website’s calendar. If the date and time aren’t great for your schedule, you can catch a recording via WF&FSA OnDemand.
Even as many have grown accustomed with online learning, WF&FSA is looking forward bringing back in-person educational programming in 2022. The association is hosting its Development Experience (#DevEx) in Minneapolis on July 27 through 30. This hands-on program includes site visits at growers and distributors, classroom sessions on best practices in business operations (sales, marketing, leadership), and networking opportunities.
WF&FSA is proud of these education resources available to its members. If you’d like more information or want to recommend a topic for future courses, please contact the WF&FSA education team. We value your ideas on building the best resources for members.