Seeing my employers headaches in the day-to-day running of the welding company I work at, I often say to myself "I don't ever want employees................"
The welding business, particularly the kind of work we do (a mix of structural steel, miscellaneous metals & mobile welding & repair) is similar to landscaping in some respects: physically demanding, hours are often open-ended (2 examples: yesterday I went out to a local asphalt plant, they needed some repair work done right away on one of the track links on their o-l-d D-8. Started at 11:00 am, worked through till it was done at 2:30 pm & took lunch then. Today I got back at 6:45 this evening, an "emergency repair" was needed out at one of the nearby gravel pits (got the message from our office when I checked the phone at lunchtime, was working on a joists/metal deck roof). One of their "Eucs" (rock truck) decided to shed a wheel, required a bit of arc-air & welding to sew things back up. When they call, they don't mind paying the $ but they want you to stay 'till it's done. As well, hard-facing on the crusher is usually a Saturday job - pretty hard to weld in the crusher while it's crushin'!) & being able to think is a definite plus. So the turnover is there, plus with fewer people getting into the trade to start with there just aren't as many good people out there as we'd like. For the most part, those that are any good already HAVE jobs. Plus it's not the kind of trade you learn in a few weeks.
I'm quite happy where I'm working now (just remind me if you happen to catch me on a bad day!
) and I currently have a "fringe benefit" of the custom paint job on "my" welding truck which I take home each night, but that had to be earned! A lot of people these days seem to think they should get that right off the start.
One of my employer's problems has always been getting people who can drive! Some had licenses & lost 'em, others have 'em but their driving record is spotty enough the insurance co. says "extra $ for them to be on the list".
Then there's the "equipment (lack of) care" factor. Not even going to GO there..................
Stonehenge: I'm not 100% up to speed on labour laws here vs the US, but I think part of what Dan was referring to is the fact that part-time & seasonal workers (at least here in Ontario) fall under a different set of rules than "regular" employees with regard to OT. In my field, we're OT after 88 hrs in a 2-week pay period, while some of the aggregate companies crusher crews ("seasonal") don't see OT until around 60 hrs in a week.
I think everyone here has good ideas: the interview process is important, and I like Stonehenge's "test". We have a similar idea, but geared towards reading a (simple) drawing & fabbing a (simple) part based on that info. Interesting how many ways a drawing can be interpreted................ And definitely, when you DO find someone good be good to them. Perhaps "be fair to them" is a better way of putting it.
Here's an idea for the ones who think everything should be handed to 'em: send them off for a few years truckin'! I did 3-1/2 years of THAT, makes me appreciate the job I have now................