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3 Labor Issues, 3 Solutions

Posted by Rudy Miick on Oct 1, 2019 11:00:13 AM



Regardless the business or industry, the topic of labor keeps bobbing its head screaming:  Core Issue, Core Issue!  Core Issue!!!     

Three issues, three solutions:
Issue I. Finding and keeping great staff is illusive.   This is the same old story.   Here are three solutions to this issue:


  1. Define excellence in every job or position.  Instead of relying on common sense (there’s no common sense by the way) create a shared sense of what performance excellence is.  Period.  See item II Below!
  2. Tell a story in your job posts.  Re-think help wanted and talk about the kind of work place you have and the opportunities there are for anyone working here.  Hire attitude, teach skills.   See item II Below! 
  3. Hold interviews on a regular basis.  Instead of hiring a warm pulse, interview until you find the right attitude.   Hire A+ when it shows up.   The ratio we’ve found typical is about twenty (20) interviews for one (1) A+ hire.  (All the better when we define what A+ actually is.)      

Issue II. Be aware of three (3) cultural norms!  Two are deadly.  After forty years building, evolving and growing values driven, high performing companies, I find the following Irrefutable:  Workers work in three broad culture norms.  Each is created by leadership behaviors which by choice or default create a Brand/Culture norm.  Motivators are one of three:

  1. fear = do the job or else. 

With fear, A+ players leave because they know they can get a job anywhere.  A company driven by fear gets left with average or below average performance. 

  1. neutral = it’s a job;

A company playing in the neutral mode, have leaders thinking it’s the workers that need to change or evolve to our habits, it’s not us that have to shift attitudes it’s the employees that need to adhere to us.   

Here’s what happens:  In neutral mode (the typical restaurant or hospitality side is neutral) and performance is, well, average, not great, not horrible.  Outcome?  The attitude of leadership we find is that labor is hard, we can’t find any good people.  We have a turn over median that is +/- 185%.   


C. inspiration = I am inspired by what we do and thus, I perform at a higher level.    

In an inspired workplace excellence is defined, A+ players are inspired, performance rises, and we just keep getting better!  Turnover drops and retention rises in an inspired workplace because the team is, well, inspired

Of interest too is this:  people not inspired leave of their own accord.  Ironically who replaces them are other inspired workers.   Hence the potency of a values driven work place.  The more we define excellence and coach to the positive, the culture/brand acts as an attractor for new hires that want to perform!  Turnover goes down, costs go down, retention, sales and profits go up!  Period.   


Issue III.  AI is a paradox: Incredible opportunity and threat!  Be Aware!

The good news and the bad news is that unemployment is at a near all-time low.   Bad news, our story continues to be, “I can’t find any good people out there!”  (Where do I find great people? start over, read from the top of the blog)

Good news: Just “around the bend”, 5 years, 10 years at most, there’s a freight train headed straight at us.  Thanks to the story about how hard it is to get good help, and ever enhanced technology, AI is going be a capital investment that replaces any staff position that demands consistent, replicable performance.    

Bad news:  As low as unemployment is now, it’ll be that proportionally high when AI kicks in hard.   Seems like it can be an employer’s dream.   

… One last piece that I’m not hearing anyone talk about is what happens to gross sales when so many people will be unemployed and potentially unemployable?

   What’s our role as leaders, founders, c-suite and floor for vision with training, ongoing learning of all kinds for the team members we have and will have?      


Obviously, the three issues relate.   When issue I. and issue II are put in place, Issue III. takes care of itself for now.  (More on this in coming blogs.)

Questions come to mind:  What’s it take to have a truly inspired workplace?    Do We actually care enough to inspire?   Is it just easier to drive people?   Is our training enough?   How do we keep getting better?

As my colleague/friend Horst Abrams asks, “Your Thoughts?”

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Topics: Leadership, Company Culture / Change