Notes from the Editor: Keeping Good Employees

Oct. 2, 2019

A recent article discussed the labor turnover which occurs in the fast food industry. According to the article, fast food chains have at least a 100% turnover of help each year. While flipping burgers or waiting tables generates a paycheck, opportunities for advancement and repetition of work routines soon apparently makes most workers search for other employment.

During the last few years there has been a noticeable 'graying' in the locksmith industry. This is not unusual since the average age of the population in general has risen. In 1960 the average age in USA was 29 years while in 2018 the average age was 38. Younger people who do become attracted to locksmithing in many cases are attracted to automotive work which fits more closely with less regular routines, more challenges, good profit, and a similarity to the era of the computer which they have grown up with.

In a discussion at ALOA with one young person who is a locksmith distributor, he related that his family has been in locksmith hardware distribution for many years and he chose to follow in their footsteps. He has noticed a decrease in sales of traditional locksmith supplies which was a large portion of their business. Today this distributor is scrambling to find how to cope with the business realities of today by offering a new mix of traditional and electronic products.

For individual locksmiths, business expansion can only be accomplished with employees. One person can only do a finite amount of work in a day’s time. At one time our family locksmith business had an employee who worked for us for forty years. As time went on his pay was periodically raised and he was provided with a company vehicle with all expenses paid. His was a hardware installation specialist. That was during the heyday of traditional locksmithing.

Locksmithing today consists of many vertical markets. In my opinion employees must be offered cross training in other procedures such as automotive, safes work and access control. This provides a well-rounded employee who has more value to the company and who is not caught in the same job routine day after day. This provides higher employee interest levels and a better company atmosphere for both employer and employee.