Lately, the talent pool at my store has been dwindling. We lost one of our delivery drivers to age, a good man with a good heart and great knowledge…and the kind of humor that could embarrass even the most jaded military man. We fired Special Ed for many different reasons. We have four people who work multiple jobs, two that are just about pointless and two that work their asses off but are getting tired of carrying a lot of the load, and myself. We are short on drivers. The Store Manager and the Warehouse Guy round out the list, and they’re full time.
For someone who is only supposed to be a part-time employee, I’m averaging damn close to 40 hours a week. This is because we simply can’t find enough workers in the area that are old enough, willing to work, able to pass a drug screen, and don’t have the kind of background history that makes them an instant “no”. I’ve sat in with the Store Manager a couple of times during slower periods and have observed the kinds of people who are applying…its scary. The ones that know cars have the checkered backgrounds, the ones who are clean don’t know jack squat. I do know of one interview with a potential candidate, where when asked what he knew of cars, replied something to the effect of, “Who cares? I drive mine until it breaks down, then trade it in.” Yikes.
I also remember the guy who came in asking for an application one night, tweaking on meth, reeking of weed, with all the visual appeal of a bus fire and a four-inch knife scar on his face. I’m fairly certain that if we gave him a urinalysis, he’d melt the cup. Um, thank you for your interest, but no. Our only useable talent pool right now is filled with retirees who can’t lift over 30 lbs. without filling their Depends.
There are lots of reasons for the lack of automotive knowledge, especially with the younger age groups, which would take up too much writing space here. What bothers me is twofold: The lack of effort of the younger candidates that we do get and the oversight of the companies when it comes to talent retention.
It’s not hard to train someone up for this job: effectively, you are teaching them how to run a warehouse operation, which is an intelligent form of playing Fetch: “Identify part. Find part. Now, bring it back…GOOOOOD BOY!” The automotive knowledge would form as they worked. There are high schools across the country…why aren’t there more students applying for these jobs? If nothing else, it’s a paying job that isn’t freaking McDonald’s! I understand the nervousness about bringing in someone younger, but a high school senior that’s 18 would be easy to get onto the payroll. If a student was enthusiastic about working and was willing to learn, I’d be psyched to have them onboard and would personally bring them up to speed. Unfortunately for me, since there’s no app for that in the iTunes store, I’m S.O.L.
The inability (or unwillingness) to retain talent is the part that bothers me the most. Out of the counter-workers in my store, there are three two (myself and one other) who are knowledgeable, have great work ethics, great customer service attitudes and are easy to cooperate with. Unfortunately, that is breaking down at a rapid pace. Our store sales leader, finally broken by the pace (as well as other issues that just piss me off) decided to just flat quit. The other is a part-time employee elsewhere in a family company, and is only working the store for experience and spending money. He generally has a more positive attitude, but again, the load-sharing, plus the lack of effort from the others, is getting to him as well. I learned that he’s even being paid less than me, though he’s been there longer and knows the job better than I do. That’s sorry. I understand starting pay being low, but what the hell happened to rewarding good talent?
I hope something changes soon. It’s hard make extra money working a corner when your face looks like mine does. I’d love to hear the opinion of someone in higher management (read: above district level) on this subject.
Preferably before I get a new employee that sounds like the “DING FRIES ARE DONE” Burger King guy.