Bryson Owens, Owens Oil Company
2023 2nd Quarter Newsletter
Where did everybody go?
I know I'm not alone in asking the question, "Where did everybody go?" when it relates to hiring in our industry. Since the government response to the COVID pandemic encouraged people to quarantine, it's like those workers just disappeared. I am fortunate to have a great core group of dedicated employees. I just need more of them! We are running skeleton crews 25-50% smaller than pre-pandemic levels because we simply can't find any help. We have increased our entry-level pay hoping that will help, but success has been limited. I don't know the answers, but I hear the same questions from nearly every business owner I talk to. Government jobs, food service, and office work also face the same challenges.
Due to this labor shortage, I feel like there are times when we bend over backward just to keep new employees happy. In years past, failing to show up for work without a good reason would get you fired. Today, employees show up when they want to, or they may not, with no call or explanation. That forces employers to adjust on the fly based on who shows up and causes disruptions to how we do business. Then I'm faced with the decision to fire them and hope I get an application from someone to replace them or just deal with it and move on.
It's a different time, and I know we are all going through it. But this is where being a member of EKOGA benefits us all by connecting us. It gives us a way to share our frustrations (see above) and find solutions that make all our operations better. Everything from parts to pipe, employees to transportation, someone out there has an innovative solution.
By working together, EKOGA members can find positive solutions. Thank you for your membership!