I’m not an economist….
I usually don’t watch the morning news…but I’ve been up since about 3 am because my backs been killing me, I need to schedule a chiro visit! So here I am watching KARE11 Sunrise, and they’re talking about Minnesota nurses authorizing a strike. And it got me thinking…
A few years ago there was a major national debate on the minimum wage. I’m here to tell you that I 100% believe that wages WILL rise.
But not before a severe reduction of the workforce. Even a much more severe reduction that’s taken place since the beginning of the first shutdowns in 2020. And here’s why:
Wages rose because the workforce shrunk while many people collecting unemployment decided to continue collecting unemployment. There weren’t many people actively looking for work, especially since they got accustomed to getting paid for doing nothing; sitting at home much like they had for months. The unemployment insurance program is a public benefit and it was very useful for tens of thousands of Minnesotans and Americans, and this post is not to debate that.
To combat short-staffing issues, employers were forced to make a decision themselves to offer higher wages (which they should be able to do themselves rather than be told and be forced by city, state, or federal agencies).
I really don’t know what’s happening these days….but the quality of the workforce has greatly diminished since. You may have read in the last twelve to eighteen months about the “Great Resignation” where people are leaving jobs in an industry they may have been in for years and have loved but have grown to despise based on working conditions, how they’re treated by employers, customers, co-workers. This includes nurses. It includes teachers. Fill in the blank with whatever industry you work in as well and I’m sure it applies.
What that leaves then is when high-functioning, productive employees leave an industry….when you combine that with the fact that employers have to raise their pay offering to attract potential employees, is that low-functioning, less than expected productive employees start to fill the void. And they’re getting paid the SAME as the high-functioning and productive employees. Expectations start to get laxxed, and even worse – tolerated. Labor costs start to skyrocket, because you need to staff appropriately to handle business volume. High-functioning and productive employees morale drops SEVERELY, and they start to resent the fact that expectations for themselves have not only stayed the same but in fact have been elevated because they are expected to take on more to handle and cover the fact that their new low-functioning and less-than-expected productivity coworkers can’t handle as much as they can.
And those high-functioning and productive employees LEAVE. They might go to another company. They might be so jaded that they might just say screw this and start a business for themselves. (See this article, a record number of businesses were started in Minnesota during the pandemic https://www.kare11.com/article/money/minnesota-is-seeing-a-record-number-of-new-businesses-during-the-covid-pandemic/89-0679ad1e-9017-4af5-8a8c-75115b4826fa )
And the low-functioning, non-productive employees are left to try and attempt to carry the load of the entire business.
And now I’m seeing a report this morning that more employers are TRACKING THEIR EMPLOYEES because productivity has dropped (which is exactly the message I’m saying…) You think high functioning and productive employees will like to be micro-managed like that? Uhhh…no.
Just like us in the restaurant industry – the ones who SURVIVED – taught us that if we can make it thru the horrid conditions the Governor expected us to survive in (seriously, OUTDOOR DINING in November and December in a Minnesota winter? 🖕🖕🖕) then we can be CHOOSY about what kind of customers we want in our establishments. If you treat our staff like shit, out the door you go and you ain’t coming back.
Employers need to have the same level of expectations for their employees. It’s time for employers to be CHOOSY instead of DESPERATE for employees. You ain’t performing up to our standards to help compliment and run this business effectively? You ain’t showing the traits of an employee that works well with others, isn’t a team player, and you have an entitled attitude? Sayonara. Because if you aren’t going to be proactive on this front….then it’s going to be your productive and high-functioning employees that will be saying sayonara to you.
So yes, wages will increase, but not before a severe reduction of the work force both in quantity AND quality due to high functioning and productive employees being treated like shit.
So back to nurses here….here’s a little snippet from the movie Idiocracy. Here’s what the healthcare industry is going to look like if we don’t take care of our HIGH FUNCTIONING AND PRODUCTIVE nurses!!!