You’ve probably heard the joke about the six year-old boy who had yet to say a word…..
One morning at the kitchen table with his mother he said: “Mom this cocoa really stinks!” Of course, his mother was very excited and said, “Jack, Jack! You’re finally talking. How come you’ve not said a word for six years?”
Jack replied, “Well, up until now I haven’t had anything to say – everything’s been pretty good!”
Well, that’s been the story with my blog over the past couple of months. I just haven’t had all that much to say, and rather than write something I didn’t care about, I thought I would just take a break.
But, this month I would like to talk about the book, The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton, President of the Gallup organization. He sums up the book in the first sentence. “The coming world war is an all-out global war for good jobs.”
This is an important book whether you are an employer or an employee. While I won’t do a book review here, below are a couple important points.
- There are 7 billion people on earth, with 5 billion 15 years old or older. Of this group, 3 billion tell Gallup they want to work. But there are only 1.2 billion full-time, formal jobs in the world today.
- The real unemployment rate in the U.S. is approximately double the government-published statistics (about 18.6% today).
- The unemployment rate for educated and highly skilled people is about 5% in the U.S. today. Employers are having difficulty finding quality employees for key roles.
- Better leadership, NOT government intervention is the solution to creating good jobs.
- Employee engagement leads to customer engagement, which leads to more demand for your company’s goods and services, which fosters job creation.
This last bullet point brings me to my need to give Starbucks a major shout out and a “Thank you!” My 20-year old daughter, Marielle, is now working for Starbucks. I am amazed at her transformation since she started with Starbucks in November 2011.
The first very impressive thing about Starbucks is their training. Marielle received more than 30 hours of training in her first 3 weeks on the job as a PART-TIME partner. And the majority of the training was not focused on customer service (they took care of that in the selection process by hiring a person who had an inherent “personal culture” compatible with Starbucks “customer service culture.” Her initial training was on Starbuck’s business CULTURE, including coffee history, Starbuck’s history, corporate responsibility, sustainability, and more. Even more impressive to me was their emphasis on savings and investing in the company. Of course, she received training focused on customer service too. Today Marielle has a Fidelity 401K account and she is a Starbucks shareholder. (This from a kid who didn’t save a dime before this! Wow!)
Since starting at Starbucks, she’s learned about improving revenue, managing inventory, reducing waste, how labor costs affect store profitability, and the importance of customer engagement and treating her fellow partners well. She speaks with passion about new products her company is testing and gives us updates on how those tests are progressing. She was recently promoted to a shift manager. She absolutely loves her job and is highly committed to it and to the Starbucks culture. While sitting at breakfast with Marielle, I was very pleased when she mentioned that she would like to start taking business classes.
In my opinion, Starbucks sets a very high standard for training our future employees and leaders. I’d be proud for either of my kids to have a career with them.
There are just over 100 million full time jobs in the U.S. Typically, there is a supervisor to employee ratio of 10-1, and the same ratio for managers to supervisors. Roughly speaking, that means about 1 million managers are leading the nation’s workforce. What’s scary according to Gallup, is about ½ of U.S. managers are dangerously lousy (“DL”). They are neither developing their people, nor leading their teams. They fit my favorite description of bad employees (which definition is: “worse than nothing”).
If you have some DL managers in your organization, fire them now! You will not train them to become good managers. Then develop a criteria for excellent leadership in your organization, and hire to that standard. Remember, we are not just competing with the guy across town anymore. We’re competing with China, Korea, and even the EU. But we know how to lead. It’s our competitive advantage.
To wrap it up, maybe up until now, everything has been OK. But today, almost everybody in the world wants a “good job.” With the exception of fixing up our screwed up immigration policies, government would do us all a favor by staying out of the “Job Creation” business. Employers create good jobs with creativity, innovation, and leadership. By creating engaged employees, especially at a young age, we are creating the future managers and leaders of our organizations.
Time to hop on the bike. Happy Spring!