MN employers: Students need common sense, work ethic

Finding people who want to work and not just collect a paycheck is next to impossible. The skill most lacking is a work ethic. Not to mention, it is nigh on impossible to find a creative mind in today’s work place.

-Mark Hayes, head of Research and Development for a small company

We just recently posted an opening. Our last opening was in February of 2011. We haven’t had many applicants applying. Today I received a resume through email. The applicant had used a form letter he found online and hadn’t “filled in” the blanks. If it wasn’t so funny it would be sad.

-Ann Iverson, works for a small manufacturing company

While reporting an MPR radio story on skills that Minnesota employers are looking for, colleague Molly Bloom and I queried some of the employers in our Public Insight Network to hear what they had to say.

Looks like some of the skills they want just can’t be taught in a classroom. Molly wrote it up in News Cut, which you can read here.

  • suestuben

    A strong work ethic must be learned through the example set by the parent(s). I expected my children to help out from the beginning; there is always some simple task that a 1-yr-old can do, like putting their blocks in a bucket, or picking up twigs in the yard. As they grow, these children take on more complicated tasks, always with an eye on teaching them that working around the house makes them a valuable member of the ‘team.’ Our family had a rule: when Mom works, everyone works–so there was no question about working, just negotiations as to what tasks must be done. Everyone has chores they don’t mind doing as much as others, so we always tried to divide the chores so that the child could pick something they didn’t hate–this made the work seem less burdensome which added to a strong work ethic. As the grew older, they learned to do their own laundry, clean up the kitchen after themselves, etc. By the time they moved away, my kids had the confidence that they knew every skill required to be independent (I considered that to be one of my most important jobs during child-raising).

    The children began salaried jobs at 16 and have never been without one since. They have stellar work histories, whether it be in college or on the job. They understand that they owe the boss/company excellent service in exchange for their paycheck, and are happy to give their best. My kids have been recruited by competing companies and so have been able to exert their preferences and salary requirements, while doing something they enjoy (at least moderately). All of their success goes back to that little tot on ‘stick patrol’ who was happy to be an important member of the family. Learning to work is as important as learning to read; parents can teach their little ones to be winners or handicap their child(ren) by their failure to teach.