The Lack of Labor
Well, it ain’t what it used to be. I’ve heard this said about a lot of things, but with labor, it’s 100% true. No matter how long you’re in business for labor will always be your biggest thorn.
To dive into why the labor pool sucks, you have to understand who the labor is. A lot of them are younger people who have spent years going to college with their mindset on one particular type of job. Maybe that job doesn’t exist, or maybe there aren’t any openings, but we tend to be the fallback for them.
Well, us, on the other hand, we’re looking for someone who wants to do manual labor. Someone who WANTS to work outdoors. Someone who is built for an ever-changing work environment. Someone who is tough enough for sun or rain, mosquitoes or wasps, or heck even thorn bushes and ladders. People say they want to work outside, usually when they've never worked outside.
We are two groups that don’t always see eye to eye. We sometimes think just because someone says they want to work outdoors that they truly know what it means to work outside. No add to that places like Amazon who are more than willing to pay somebody $17 an hour to pick stuff off the shelf. How can we compete with that? We just can't. Heck, they are some days that I wouldn't mind getting paid to pull stuff off the shelf and listen to music.
So understanding the problem is one thing, but how do we deal with it. Well, there are a lot of schools of thought on this, but the big thing for me is that I think you should always be hiring...ABH. Always have your nets out to catch the good ones. What we like to do is to accept applications all year round, this way I am able to do interviews and know which ones are worth it before I ever need the employee. Let's face it you will need the employee. People change jobs. Maybe they find the job they have always wanted. Or maybe they go pull stuff off the shelf. But either way, you will need employees eventually.
This may sound weird, but, I always have folders of people that I've done interviews for and I think are a good fit. Even after someone leaves, maybe a month down the road, I’ll call them if I need someone and ask if they're still interested. 4 out of 5 people haven’t found a job yet, or they aren't happy with the one they picked. This is a great way to always have people in your pipeline. Remember, always be hiring. And that means the whole process, not just signing them up.
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