Meeting Today’s Employment Challenges
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
A recent Wall Street Journal story mused on how bosses are asking: Where have all the go-getters gone?
For a while now, I have heard the same thing from friends who own businesses. The dreaded Covid episode has been blamed for changing the attitudes and behaviors of seemingly everyone in the workplace. To many, it taught priorities.
Sharing my observations as a customer or what business owners have told me they’re facing, not what I’ve experienced in my business, it’s clear that it is still challenging to hire and keep reliable people. It seems that even when some employees do show up daily, they do the bare minimum to keep their jobs. There is also a reluctance to work overtime, volunteer for special projects or step up to manage, lead or supervise. There is also a lack of desire to climb the corporate ladder, with employees settling for what they have and happier without the pressure from work.
Covid forced many people to work from home, which technology made possible. But once the situation changed, there was a reluctance among many to return to the office. The cost in time and money to travel to the office was used as an excuse to keep working from home. Other justifications include that there is better productivity when working from home and a better quality of life overall from not being in an office.
Area businesses that support office workers have suffered immensely but have slowly returned to normal. Everything from the fancy restaurant to the hot dog vendor has gone through tough times. For example, you may now see restaurants with a line to get in yet many empty tables inside. They can’t seat the waiting patrons because they don’t have servers and staff to accommodate them.
New technology is being employed to bridge the gap. I recently read that White Castle started using robots to prepare burgers and fries. Some companies are experimenting with drone delivery. Automated pizza delivery is being tried instead of people. Self-driving trucks and more robotics promise to replace people in the future.
Getting people to show up and do their jobs is a challenge and you know what? It has probably always been a challenge of sorts. In a perfect world, you pick and choose your employees from a huge pool and only take those with the best skills, attitude and promise for the future. Building employees takes time, effort and money and is a process that can take years in some fields. It’s not a perfect world.
Today, many employers tell me that their younger employees don’t stay engaged in their jobs for long. That translates to them not staying long enough to develop a passion or love for their work, the customer or company. For some today (or is it many?), they think they can always just get another job somewhere else.
It takes more work to build a team of people that work together. Building a team means that the players – the employees – rely on and work together for a common purpose. It is the process of creating a culture in the workplace and building work relationships through shared goals and communication. It means developing a workplace or environment where employees want to come to work, feel challenged but not frustrated, and appreciated but not spoiled. It is a workplace where team members are rewarded for achieving realistic goals and treated fairly. Let’s not forget that as a leader within your company, you must also manage and lead by example.
And that, my friends, is the mountain to climb, not the mountain to die on.
Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011, he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at jack@ jerseyjackpinball.com.