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Ken Keller: Real labor shortage stems from problem employees

Posted: February 3, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 3, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

There are many people out of work that want a job. The government says that the unemployment rate is falling as the economy grows and organizations add to payrolls.

I don’t think that is true. I think some people have given up looking for employment and those individuals, millions of them, are no longer counted in government formulas.

These are likely fine people who can’t get an employer to look at a resume, or get invited for an interview.

Why is this happening? Is it a question of limited internal resources that do not permit responding to those showing interest in working for the company? Is it because the company cannot decide between candidates and the decision-making process is being dragged out?

There are two types of companies; those adding to payroll and those that aren’t. Most companies are simply not hiring. Many are still reducing headcount.

Business owners and leaders are simply being fed up with the hassle of having problem employees on the payroll.

The real labor shortage is the lack of people who want to be on a payroll for the right reasons and not the wrong ones.

The right reasons are to be employed in a place of opportunity and growth; for a paycheck that is earned not given; to be challenged and held accountable for results.

This means following rules, policies and procedures; the various laws in effect for the safety and welfare of the employee and the employer, and to understand and perform for the company to achieve its mission and vision.

This means having a work ethic, the ability to follow directions, to be part of a team, to treat others well, to complete assignments on time.

The wrong reasons are the receipt of a regular steady paycheck with automatic increases, doing as little as possible for it, with the ability to come and go as they please and need, without accountability of any sort, ignoring or using as a shield for subpar performance, various laws, rules, policies, procedures and regulations.

In my experience, problem employees have attitude issues. For them, it is a game of seeing how much they can get away with once caught and then negotiating their way out of things.

How many times will an employee be late for work, take long lunches, extended morning and afternoon breaks, leave early before someone calls them out?

How many disagreements will be created with coworkers, vendors or clients before the real instigator is called out?

How long will the problem employee use the excuse “that is not my job” before it is put in writing that it is?

Who would want to be forced to work with people like this?

How many raises will a person with a poor attitude receive before it is clear they don’t deserve a penny more?

Who would want to work in a company with this kind of individual? Who in their right mind would want to sign a paycheck for a person with this attitude?

Owners and leaders that have been emotionally drained and financially burned by having problem employees on the payroll they have simply figured out how to do more with less.

If you are a job seeker, contact owners and demonstrate, in writing, how you won’t add to their burden but will help to relieve it.

If you are an owner or leader with problem employees, make 2013 the year you clean house.

If not for your own sake, but for those employees who really want to be there helping you every day.

Ken Keller is CEO of STAR Business Consulting Inc., a company that works with small and midsize business owners to grow top line revenue. He can be reached at KenKeller@SBCglobal.net. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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