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Some Thoughts On Caring For Your Employees

Dear Editor:

Our busy season is fast approaching and most of you who are Estes Park business owners are evaluating your employee situations. If you are in touch with your employee’s needs, you know that they cannot begin to live in Estes on the salary you pay them. Most employees, if lucky, make seven-10 dollars an hour. If given full time work, which is seldom, that means a take home of $780-$1120 a month. Most rent is that much or more.

A business owner may see six applicants who all need work so they hire them all part time. What do they get? Six employees who are all still hungry and six employees who either live with the other five to survive or drive two hours a day or more to get here to work four hours a day for you. You end up with six employees who are not happy and who, if they like to eat, will probably leave your business in the hopes of finding more hours or more money. Fat chance. Business owners have expenses that the average worker never sees. High rent, high utilities and high taxes all add up and what is left over is delegated to employee wages.

Business owners will spend money on advertising before they give that hungry employee a lousy 50 cent raise. Yet a good business owner knows that happy workers are good workers and that good workers make for a good business.

There is a simple way we can at least start to address the problem. It takes some concentrated thinking about employee schedules. It means giving your employees a regular working schedule. It means thinking about your workers as a valuable part of your business instead of a temporary piece of overhead much like the plastic bags in which your customers toss their purchases. Given a regular schedule these people can take on a second maybe even a third job and maybe, just maybe, make enough money to live here. I’ve even run into situations where employers expect their workers to be “on call” without pay. And you really expect these people to show up for work with a smile on their faces?

Yes, I am a business owner. My workers all have other jobs but luckily, for them, I can adjust my schedule to accommodate them and I try to give them upcoming time frames. Yet they almost never have the same days off each week nor are they aware of what these will even be until that day arrives. Can’t business owners with regular hours prepare regular work schedules? Irregular job scheduling isn’t always easy for me but I do it for a reason. I do it for the workers who like to eat and put a roof over their heads. And you know what? Even though my little efforts aren’t enough to solve the larger problem I am rewarded with employees who show up for work with smiles on their faces. At least they know I care.

Carol J. Shannon

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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