September 7, 2021

What Does 10,000,000 On Labor Day Mean?

By Paul Bieber

It’s easy. There are roughly 10 million unemployed folks in the U.S. There are roughly 10 million open jobs in the U.S. Should be simple. I see “Help Wanted” signs everywhere I travel. Why aren’t these 10 million unemployed folks going to work?

Reason 1. The unemployment benefits have been fairly high, and rightly so under COVID. But it is now time to get back to work as the higher benefits have now expired.

Reason 2. Some of the jobs out there really stink–and the owners and managers of those jobs are used to hiring people at low wages and benefits. Those days are gone for the foreseeable future.

Reason 3. Due to COVID, people started working at home and enjoyed it more than working at the office. For some companies that has worked out, but that won’t be the norm for our glass industry.

Reason 4. This is the big one for our industry (and most other industries, too): people want jobs that are rewarding in the non-payroll areas. The real minimum wage in our country is $15 per hour. So, if you still want to pay $10 or $12 an hour, forget about hiring competent people.

But, even more important than money, people want to work at a company that treats them well. Not as royalty, but as a team member for a company that cares. To do this give solid benefits:

•Two weeks’ vacation by year two, three weeks by year eight and four weeks by year 15.
•Five days of personal time off per year, which includes sick time, and at least eight holidays. Consider paying for all or part of parental leave or emergency family leave.
•A good health benefits plan including family coverage, with reasonable cost sharing of around 30 percent. Same for dental. Be sure to include preventive health options, such as gym memberships.
•A solid retirement program including a 401k match program. If your employees are young this may not be as important. If they are over 35, retirement and medical are the most valuable benefits.
•A good education reimbursement plan, paying at least 75 percent of the cost with a B or higher grade. Make sure your work schedule allows for employees taking relevant courses.
•Treat your employees with respect and care, giving and/or letting them earn your respect and trust. Give empowerment, mentoring and promotions.