If you’ve been around long enough, you might remember an English movie called The Servant. It starred Dirk Boggard as a butler hired by an aristocratic gent living in a modest manor house. As the story rolls along, the butler slowly swaps roles with the old fellow. Through sheer manipulation of a passive personality, the “servant” takes charge and ends up getting waited on by the guy who’s writing the check.
This situation can and sometimes does play out off-screen as well as in this picture and really isn’t all that bad unless it goes to a nasty extreme and the employee ends up stealing the company’s customers or walks away with the receipts. But let’s face it: a good “take charge” employee is worth his or her weight in gold.
According to CNN cable news, roughly 50 million people in the U.S.A. quit their jobs in the two years after the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, citing various pressures like burnout or child-care needs. Amid the tight labor market that emerged, many were also able to find better jobs with better pay. But now, the experts say the “Great Resignation” is over and mass layoffs in some industries earlier this year may be one reason Americans are staying put.
This kind of stability is what most people are used to. Route workers laid off during Covid have been back working for a while now, as are many game builders on the coin machine industry’s production lines. Youngsters who pitch in at the FECs are toeing the line if they want to keep their “cool” jobs and “the way we were” is sort of back to the “way we are again.” But the lessons learned when hiring bonuses existed should be remembered because people are, were and always will be the most valuable tool in the amusement shed.
Many years ago, at an AMOA Notre Dame seminar, I clearly remember when the proctor asked the two or three dozen route operators sitting before him what they thought the number one employee incentive was. Most agreed it was the size of the paycheck. Wrong! It was recognition for a job well done. Take-home money was, of course, right up there, but not at the top. What this said needs no further explanation. Employees are people and people need to be shown they are valuable to a company in more ways than dollar signs. Point taken?