Having traveled to every city in this county over 10,000 population and having set up franchises in 23 states and having had to deal in each market with labor issues. Issues of all types; High Unemployment, Low unemployment, OSHA Issues, Insurance Issues, Health Insurance Issues, Substance Abuse Issues of the young adults ages 18-28 and some times up to 40 years of age; I have seen things and heard stories about the reality of the working force. I can therefore state my observations as real issues and not by academia white paper. These are real issues folks and issues we must address for the welfare and safety of our Nation, our future Health Care Costs, the sanctity of future generations and the work ethic necessary for this country to continue to new heights.
Help Want Ads in News Papers across the country yield few quality applicants. In many towns there are small businesses, which cannot get the labor they need. They need people and have work. But unfortunately through no part of their own, the labor supply is very under whelming, from work ethic to issues associated with lower and lower middle class drugs. In the $5.75 to $12.00 range it is nearly impossible to get good labor willing to work. And those middle and upper middle spoiled kids who do not feel it is their duty to put in and give a fair days work for a fair days pay are the norm in that range of demographic although there are some diligent parents out there who have raised their kids correctly and those kids do show up on time, work hard and make us all very proud. The poor Small Business owner in this country spends countless hours training people only to have them quit due to a perception of a buyers market when it comes to labor and they demand respect without fulfilling the promises of the hand shake associated with employment.
Starbucks has a pretty low turnover considering, but it is still 50% per year. Most QSRs are hovering well over 85%-90%. Many small business owners fear retribution for firing anyone and puts up with abuses by head strong young adult labor who obviously do not care, barely put forth efforts and expect to be paid whether or not they show up on time or even put in the basic productivity to complete the assignment for which that small business derives money. Why? Perhaps I might give you some insight. They do not care. Why? Their answer, why should I, the business owner is making all the money and the fat cat. Business owners are all bad. Says who? Well the mass media, Elliot Spitzer and now the whole society believes it?
Many of the young teen employees, which earn minimum wage up to $12.00 hr seem expect and want free everything, benefits and care little about the actual business models productivity or customer service? Little sense of responsibility or real work ethic. Part of the problem is that many of these people are routinely doing recreational drugs. I would say in that wage price category 28% to 33% do recreational drugs and/or are regular drug users and whether or not the others end up eventually doing drugs, the drug user workers available for hire do and they lower the bar of acceptability to all businesses. It is for this reason that many good workers who would produce the productivity do not because it is not expected or required. Those therefore who put forth minimal effort are rewarded teaching others to do the minimal to be considered on the good list. But in actuality you have lowered the standard of basic human honesty and integrity. You have broken the unspoken laws of achievement.
All children, teens and young adults should try the best in everything that they do. We must keep expectations high. Unfortunately, we do not teach this do we as well as we could? Not in schools, not in work or at home. There are some parents who believe that kids soccer should not keep score? Why not? That is taking socialism to a whole other level. Working hard in practice to achieve teaches us to work harder to gain. If everyone is owed a paycheck without effort, then no effort will happen and no task completed to the expectation of the customer. These same kids or young adults as consumers are ultra demanding, yet when they are at work, they do not put forth. This is your basic “ME” attitude and although some psychologists say that is an innate tendency of the species, but is this acceptable?
For a large society working together for the common good we must solve this teen drug dilemma. Surely more and more businesses will be forced to find non-English speaking labor and robotics to accomplish tasks. Yet if the consumers who are demanding services are also the workers at other businesses then no one will work, because the expectation of service is gone out the window and everyone will get lousy service, poor workmanship forcing business to go robotic or close.
Today we observed the results of a recent newspaper want ad for labor and found that of the 20 people replying only 4 showed up for interviews. Three of which had no chance of working for us. One was demanding more pay before showing us even one hour of work. The one we hired lasted until 10 Am saying the work was too hard. Well, I am so sorry, what did you expect? It’s work. The same person complained to us about his apartment costs, pregnant girlfriend and other issues. He was wondering if we could pay him for the rest of the week in advance, truly pathetic. Then we recently fired a guy, which he had three kids with girls in other states and three kids from a previous marriage. He was 21, surely this guy can figure out more than illegitimate gene-pool work. Because let me tell you he didn’t work worth a darn.
The drug issues are serious in nearly every market we operate now, much worse than 10 years ago. Now it is as if 20% of the kids do not have drivers licenses, 30% use drugs often and 10% are out of it, not even good for three work days in a row? I would rather train chimpanzees, some probably speak just about as good of English as those we might replace these kids with. Many times colleges and Universities will have labor available and most heavy drug users wash out of college so you have a better pool, but even so many are spoiled and are not of an ethical nature or even care about completing a project. I wonder how much cheating and palagerism is going on at those colleges. Most of the College kids are good, but also limited to hours of availability. Churches often work for finding good workers and those of a more solid character. For instance the LDS church has an employment person at each stake center. Other local churches in many areas are good, but often cannot fulfill the needed labor requirements. We pay much more than a Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Blockbuster or McDonalds, but with entry level workers Health Insurance is out of the questions since the workers will probably be there less than the 3 months probationary period. Although many employees will be with us for years. But labor is an issue, quality labor and we are doing our part trying to put Americans back to work, but we cannot lead a horse to water so we can only put those to work who are not looking for free fish or a free handout.
This is a real issue and these issues effect every business man, something needs to be done. But even more serious will be these kids when they get older and take those work habits into the future and their health problems. We may see early mid 30’s and 40’s heart attacks. This will significantly drive up costs as those who do drugs do not generally have high paying jobs and will not have the proper coverages to pay for it, so society has to pay. If we fail to fix the problem then we will pay for it in the future 10-fold. We are paying now, if you stop and get to know some of these young people.
We need to continually address this issue, constantly be on guard, monitor our young loved ones and their activities and teach them what this is doing to their bodies, their future and the entire country.