A recent post at the NAPL Biz Trends blog advises print company owners to take a stern line when it comes to deciding who gets how much in return for what. In “Employee Costs and Value Added,” NAPL economist Joseph Vincenzino notes that according to Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data, the compensation of employees as a share of value added for all industries averaged 56.6%. For print and support activities, however, compensation of employees as a share of value added was 71%. “Our industry clearly remains highly labor intense,” Vincenzino observes. He goes on to say that although printers will continue to cite the rise of wages and benefits as one of their chief concerns, the task of controlling them isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. “‘Making labor more of a variable cost and less of a fixed cost,’” is a lesson many of our survey participants indicated they have learned from the current recession,” he writes, referring readers to an NAPL Executive Brief titled, “Finding Opportunity In the Recession: 7 Hard Lessons Learned from the Current Recession.” The brief, which can be requested from NAPL, offers “Reconsider How We Manage and Develop Our Labor Force” as lesson #3. It’s blunt on the subject of what employee performance expectations ought to be: “As the industry gets more competitive, it is more critical than ever that staff be able to adjust and apply skills where needed when needed...To that end, as an industry, we can no longer carry weak performers if, in fact, we ever could. When business rights itself again, and it will, we must hold employees accountable for their performance. “The competitive environment allows no other option. As a result, beware of ‘institutionalized’ positions, roles or processes. You not only cannot afford them, they will stifle your progress or ability to thrive and grow." For more information about how NAPL benchmarks the health and efficiency of printing companies, go to https://www.naplperformanceindicators.org, or follow the discussion of metric trends at http://www.keyprintmetrics.org.