A Colorado liquor-store owner says workers are quitting after one shift if they don't like it because they know they can get a new job on their lunch break

·2 min read
  • The owner of a liquor store in Fort Collins, Colorado, said he was struggling to retain workers.

  • It's so easy to find work that some people are leaving after one shift to go elsewhere, he said.

  • For the first time in years, retail workers have more bargaining power in the labor market.

The owner of a liquor store in Fort Collins, Colorado, said the labor market in the US was so competitive that retaining workers was almost an impossible task.

In an interview with the local news site the Coloradoan, Wilbur's Total Beverage owner Mat Dinsmore said people were skipping interviews or quitting after one shift if they decided they didn't like the job. They can simply walk up Main Street and find a new job on their lunch break, he said. 

"We have hired and hired, and the rate of attrition is exponentially what it's ever been," he told the Coloradoan.

"We never had problems attracting and retaining people. With the 'Great Resignation,' a lot of people were saying they didn't want to go back to customer-facing jobs," he said, citing the risks of getting COVID-19.

Wilbur's is among the retail businesses in the US that are struggling to find workers who have been put off by low pay, a lack of benefits, and pandemic health concerns, among other things.

Some are raising wages or offering perks such as free college tuition to attract workers. Others are being forced to close because they can't find enough staff.

For the first time in years, workers have more bargaining power and the opportunity to pick and choose the best-paying or most stable jobs.

Experts say it isn't only higher wages enticing workers to enter different fields. Other aspects, such as flexibility in working schedules, have also played a part.

"People are leaving because they're not feeling valued; they're not feeling as though when they bring something to a manager that they are being listened to, especially if it's a challenge," Adam Crowe, a business-development manager at Larimer County Workforce Center, which helps businesses find workers, told the Coloradoan. 

"It's hard to say they need to be more empathetic because that feels like a slap in the face," he added.

"Over time, businesses will learn that lesson. Empathy has strong ties to production," he said. "If you take the time to really understand the needs, values, skills, and attributes of individual employees, they'll know how to support them in the very best way."

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