I have a message for CEO’s and small business owners

If you survived the Great Recession then you’ve obviously done some things right. Well done, and grats! I bet one of the things you did right was keeping a lid on labor costs and focusing on business and customers that paid off. In a brutal recession, you are in driver’s seat in terms of labor. You can pick and choose among the cream of the crop for rock-bottom, bargain wages. The question is how will you survive and thrive as the recession comes to an end?

Because my guess is around half of you are at risk of fucking that up royally. One of the ways you might fuck it up is by not adjusting to the reality of fuller employment. It makes sense ethically to reward those employees who stuck with you through the darkest days. It makes business sense to pony up to retain and/or attract the higher performing employees who can carry your business to ever greater profitability in the expanding earnings environment ahead. And the companies that do the latter first will be able to pick and choose among the best and brightest in their respective fields at reasonable wages. The companies that drag their feet might end up fighting over the scraps left behind for premium pay. How you act now may well determine which group you fall into next quarter and next year.



  1. says

    So here it is, two hours before my shoft begins. me and another top performer I’ll call Fred are here in our seats, already sessing out the workload to convey to our coworkers and managers who have yet to show up. I’m not trying to be a dick folks, it’s just a fact: Fred and I are the top perfomers out of a couple of hundred people, we are here every day earlier than anyone else, we are better educated and have more experience than our boss’s boss, and we can run rings around our bosses in every last thing. And yet, somehow, for two years, he and I and several more like us have been isolated at 12 – 13 bucks an hour, with no chance of a meaningful raise or promotion, while our boss makes a comfy 50k and his boss makes a cool 75k. This is not a stable situation. Next year my company will lose top performers like me and Fred and try to get by on second and third string workers, or they’ll pony up to retain us.

  2. says

    They’re contemplating another round of layoffs during a time of record profits.

    Of course — they have to punish all those malcontents who may have voted for the Islamo-Communist Obama. You DO want them to keep their promises to their workers, do you not? How else do you think they can prove Obama is a job-destroyer?

  3. Ben P says

    I hope you’re wright, but if you’re wrong, here’s where you’re wrong.

    You’re under estimating the impact of six sigma thinking and the legion of six sigma trained consultants.

    The essence of six sigma is that you can increase outputs by decreasing variability. Although the idea originally applied to manufacturing I’ve seen it applied to human resources in a lot of ways.

    In short, under this way of thinking, employee standouts are a bug in the system, not a feature. They predicate their whole system of business on being able to guarantee that all the employees will produce 10 widgets a day, even if this prevents employees from building more than 12 widgets. They just don’t care about finding or keeping employees that can naturally produce 15 widgets unless those employees can be trained into managers who can somehow make all the employees produce at least 15 widgets.

    I don’t know precisely what you do, but this thinking tends to infiltrate a lot of areas.

    Suppose you succeed at what you’re suggesting. You go to your boss and say “I’m your best employee, without me, your production suffers, I want a 15% raise or I’ll leave.” Maybe you get that raise if your boss recognizes your value.

    Now, a year or two years down the road, you’re still in the same position, but earning 15% more than all your colleagues. The company wants to cut costs, they’ll bring in a consultant. The consultant will look at the numbers and say “why is this guy getting paid 15% more?” Your boss will say “he’s a great employee,” and the consultant will say “but that’s not worth the extra five widgets a day when we can be efficient here and here, and cut all your workers by 10%, and have them all produce 12 widgets instead of 10. And we can replace this high pay guy with a drone who will produce 12.”

  4. coragyps says

    Holy crap, Ben P!! You need to be writing management books for businessmen! Well, except that they won’t read that kind…..

  5. Trebuchet says

    And we can replace this high pay guy with a drone who will produce 12.

    Or three drones in China, who will paint the widgets with lead paint.

  6. DiscordianStooge says

    Sounds like you’re being punished for working hard. Isn’t that what the republicans claim to be against? Isn’t that why they say non-government employees are better?

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