Things that make me go hmm…. job attitudes?

I work at a small business that sells over the Internet. The operation of the business is pretty simple. We get an order over the Internet, one of our employees picks the items on the order, another employee packs the items, and finally another employee labels the package and loads it onto the truck. Like most small businesses that have seen their sales drop 20% to 30%, we have reduced employees hours during our off season months. This caused one of our productive employees to seek employment elsewhere early this year. A little while later two employees crossed the line of what you can do at work and were let go. We noticed something interesting. Our business seemed to be working very smoothly with less employees.

So as we entered our peak season we hired replacement employees.  Not surprisingly we were swamped with job applications. So after going through the job interviews, we hired a packer and customer service representative. The packer did not work out and left after two weeks. Since everyone is working more that a full week, we hired two more packers. On the Friday before Memorial Day one of our long term employees decided to quit. She had a variety of answers including that the commute was too much, she was not getting enough hours, and her husband almost burned down the house. On the same day our new customer service representative decides to quit. Although she was productive, she still had more training to complete before she could handle all of the issues a customer service representative is expected to handle. Mondays are our busy days since we have to pack and ship the order from Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday. When we have a three day weekend we have an extra day to pack and ship. We had over 640 orders to pack when a typical Monday is about 500 orders. So I was quickly trained and spent the day packing orders. Every available management person was helping out with picking, packing, and labeling. After a very long day all of the orders shipped. Every business makes promises to the customers. In our case we promise to ship orders made before 3 pm. Our promise was fulfilled.

What I find very interesting that these employees are leaving on their own and cannot claim unemployment insurance. A Wall Street article, Employers on Strike, and the BLS report shows that businesses are leery about hiring employees. There is a consensus of opinions amongst the economic pundits that the job market is not going to improve for several years. Yet the attitudes of the employees are those that we see in a more robust job market. Business owners have a completely different viewpoint. Since our business is now over the peak selling season, the business strategy is that we add temporary employees and overwork our employees for the next month or so. It is a done deal that we will not be adding permanent employees this year.