Sorry, It’s still about wages

Here we go again, another ‘woe is me’ story from a retailer/hospitality employer who cannot find good help;

“I’ve honestly never seen it this bad anywhere else,” another told me.

They were talking about their struggle to hire staff – a theme I’ve heard repeatedly the past few years but one that has become extreme in recent weeks.

My recent conversations about hiring struggles have involved retail jobs. The industry is experiencing a bit of a perfect storm, with several new stores and restaurants opening while others ramp up seasonal hiring.

I’m deliberately not sharing the names of the businesses I’m referencing because I don’t want to create the impression that their hiring struggles mean they are undesirable places to work. I actually don’t think that’s the case, based on what I know of their businesses and what they shared about their wages. I just think they’re caught at a time when pretty much anyone who wants to or is capable of holding a job has one.

One manager I talked with last week has hired for stores in seven states and said he never encountered challenges like he is here.

First of all as a person who has worked on and off in retail/hospitality for over 20 years I will agree with many of things they are saying. There is a limited workforce pool, there is also a lot of people who can’t hack it (multi-tasking). There are also other issues, like drug and alcohol problems, and low-income parents who can’t afford child care. It’s hard to weed some of that out, I understand. But one thing I have learned from working in this industry, THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE. Often times they work twice as hard as their co-workers, never are late, never miss shifts and never call in sick. The problem is a lot of these businesses are not willing to compensate the GOOD ones more than the crappy ones. You can create polices to weed out the bad ones, once you do that, PROP up the good ones, that means giving them the best shifts, better pay, bonuses, etc. Good employees in this type of the industry know when they have hit a plateau, and if you are not willing to pay them more, they’ll be gone in a flash. The GOOD ONES are not afraid of hard work, they just want to be rewarded with a living wage for their efforts.

My advice; if you employee one of the good ones, and they ask for a raise, GIVE IT TO them! The cost for replacement and lost business isn’t really worth it. Also, service industry people talk, in fact, if they are NOT working they are talking about their job with their peers. If you are a good employer that pays well, they WILL tell their friends, that mostly likely are THE GOOD ONES to. I would never recommend a person that didn’t work as hard as me, I don’t want to work with lazy bums either.

It’s not just about getting GOOD employees, it’s about retaining them once you have them. Pay them what they are worth. As we used to say in the industry, compliments don’t buy groceries.


#1 Emoluments Clause on 10.09.17 at 5:50 pm

I take it that they are still not listening to Neel Kashkari’s advice, huh?…… End the wage collusion now!

#2 scott on 10.09.17 at 5:55 pm

jodi’s article rings hollow if she doesn’t list the pay of these so called “good jobs”.

#3 Warren Phear on 10.09.17 at 10:11 pm

Scott, you beat me to the punch. What these businesses shared about their wages? Share with us. Let us decide. I’m guessing it assures their children are on free and reduced school lunches and hoping like hell they stay somehow healthy with no health insurance.

#4 To Determined Be on 10.10.17 at 8:08 am

As a consumer I know where the GOOD employees are and I frequent those businesses that employ them.

Hustle, hard work, and a good head make up for a lot of deficiencies and other employers know that. The same people ordering food and drinks from good employees are often trying to get them to come work for them.

#5 l3wis on 10.10.17 at 8:52 am

You are sooooo right. And I agree, I tend to frequent places more with good service or customer service staff. Years ago I fell in love with the BIKE BARN because their customer service was top notch and the owner Scotty wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s hard to find that in SF anymore. That’s the other thing these employers tend to forget, your customers will frequent your business more often when you have HAPPY well trained employees.

#6 The D@ily Spin on 10.10.17 at 11:28 am

Money magazine came out with its top 50 places to live. From number one before Huether, Sioux Falls didn’t make the list. I suspect it’s mostly because income levels are stagnant while the cost of living rose to beyond working wage levels. Huether built playgrounds for the upper class when there should have been focus on equality and quality of life. Now there’s insurmountable debt with fervent corruption.

#7 hornguy on 10.10.17 at 7:55 pm

+1 to the first comment. I was thinking the same thing.

Who’s really surprised that in a city where pay for entry-level labor is garbage – and where workers know this – that workers decide to take a walk if the job sucks? Workers know there are plenty of other businesses desperate for labor. And the way these employers treat these jobs, it gives employees the impression that there’s little reason to be loyal.

Also, I don’t frequent Jodi’s website but I’m *shocked* that what’s basically the propaganda arm of the Chamber doesn’t allow comments on the articles…

#8 linda on 10.14.17 at 6:42 pm

As far as good hard working ,dependable employees . The event center has made quite a lot of money over the last few years and yet they promise the long timers working there a raise it has been promised and months on end goes by and its a new excuse every time . I don’t work there but have a close friend who does. I have worked with employee at a different job in the past and known this person many years. I would never hesitate to give this person a good reconmindation. So yes there is proplblems with employers being as cheap as can be . And yet complain they cant find good help.Starting with the Event Center