Going up!

Workers are rebelling. Work is too hard and stressful, pay is inadequate, benefits miserly. Job hopping is easier.

The competition for workers is intensifying.

The demand for more is on the march … and many employers are responding with higher pay offers, hiring bonuses and creative benefits. Now they are trying to figure out how to pay for it all. How far can price increases go without dampening demand?

Going up!

In any case it all seems to add up to higher inflation which was thought to be a spike; perhaps not.

Experts pontificate that higher pay and better benefits are great motivators for employees. They are happier, more productive, better team players, provide better customer service, etc., etc., etc.

Now if all that was true, you would think the smart people running businesses would have figured it out sooner? Why antagonize workers you need to be successful? Why wouldn’t any company want better workers?


Because it is not true. Yes, immediately following a raise, or a new benefit announcement people are jazzed, motivated, but it soon wears off and in a few months we’re at “what have you done for me lately?” The raise has faded into the ongoing paycheck and lifestyle has quickly absorbed the extra income. Better benefits are an entitlement.

As long as the economy is humming along thoughts turn to another employer who can provide even more.


  1. I once read a study that stated that any time you pay attention to employees their work will improved. I believe that this study was done in the 1920s(?). All they had to do was improve the factory floor lighting. The employee “happiness” lasted if I remember correctly about 6 months.

    For the last 30-40 years employers saved money by cutting training programs and benefits. They would hire or steal “trained and experienced” employees. They also got rid of pensions and retirement medical (mostly because they couldn’t afford them).

    Now that 401Ks make it easier for employees for jump employers maybe employers will start offering some long term benefits again to get employees to stay longer. I don’t see the days of pensions coming back, but maybe something where the employees are not just chasing the hourly wage. As long as the government is willing to pay employees to stay home than work, workers will believe that they won’t have to work hard to collect a paycheck. I some believe that can come and go as they please and big government will take care of them. What have they done for the last 18 months?


  2. How are businesses going to pay for higher wages and more benefits? Raise prices. Of course. So then people will complain about how inflation is eroding their higher pay and ask for more money (and better benefits). Like unions have been doing forever.


    1. Damn unions!
      If only it were that simple.
      I could fill a book with everything I know about human resources; wages, motivation, retention, etc.
      I could fill a library with everything I (or you) don’t know about human resources and the economy in general.
      More Low-Wage Workers Are Job-Hopping
      “Employers need to consider training, compensation as retention strategies”
      SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, September 26, 2019 (AKA, before the pandemic.)
      “Across the country, low-wage workers are finding their voice and finding purpose, after long simmering in silence. Savvy business leaders are keeping an eye on these developments while revamping their policies to keep this significant chunk of their workforce engaged.

      Among U.S. adults 25 years or older who are not self-employed, 16 percent earn less than $12 per hour.”
      It’s not just entry level jobs, or second income jobs.
      ” Savvy business leaders are keeping an eye on these developments while revamping their policies to keep this significant chunk of their workforce engaged.”
      What I call enlightened self interest*
      If a society, or an economy, is to run as a well-oiled-machine, It would behoove us to ensure sufficient oil is reaching every sector, even the 16 percent, more or less, at the bottom. Instead of “blaming” them for daring to want basic economic security.

      *No, I did not coin the phrase. Merriam Webster: “behavior based on awareness that what is in the public interest is eventually in the interest of all individuals and groups” or vice versa.


  3. Several years ago, I ran across this headline:

    Apathetic Workers in State and Local Government Are Costing Taxpayers Billions
    The Fiscal Times, July, 2016

    Apparently it is a recurring Gallup poll.

    Damn government workers! But wait…

    “More broadly, employee disengagement across the economy costs the U.S. economy roughly $500 billion a year, which suggests that the problem is just as prevalent — or more so — within the private sector.”


  4. Are you engaged?

    “…54% of workers are “not engaged” — they are psychologically unattached to their work and company. These employees put time, but not energy or passion, into their work. Not engaged employees typically show up to work and contribute the minimum effort required. They’re also on the lookout for better employment opportunities and will quickly leave their company for a slightly better offer.”


    (“engaged” workers… those who are highly involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace — reached 38%)

    ( “actively disengaged” — those who have miserable work experiences and spread their unhappiness to their colleagues — remained at approximately the same engagement level. It was 14% in June…)

    Yeah, they don’t add up to 100%. There may be some overlap. But apparently, it’s not just about the money.


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