Delbert Hosemann, the Mississippi secretary of state, this week released the results of a survey that said the thing businesses most want is an educated work force.
That’s an appropriate desire, and Hosemann’s survey of 5,300 businesses also reported that they want employees who have a strong work ethic, are honest and have communications skills.
Interestingly, state and local tax incentives ranked pretty low on the list of priorities. That’s probably because most of the respondents to the unscientific survey were small businesses, with less than 50 employees. These are the businesses that rarely if ever qualify for any such tax assistance.
Mississippi’s education scores, when compared with the rest of the country, are too low. And there is an evident brain drain of our smartest young people, who are moving to other states for work.
Those are easy things to be negative about, but business operators should remember that some 21-year-olds are more mature than others. With a little luck, and a little encouragement, a good many of the Mississippians who stick around will grow into the role of a productive worker.
Some will need a little more assistance. So while education and a good work ethic are desirable — and honesty is essential — it is clear that some people will need teaching and training at an even more elementary level when they enter the work force.
What businesses really need is for their workers to show up as expected. Not four out of five days a week, but all the time. While sickness or personal problems are unavoidable, this missed time should not be excessive. But too often it is.
In an age when even the smallest businesses are forced to do more work with fewer employees, absenteeism can cause real problems.
Showing up for work illustrates that one key element to success at any job is simply being there. That way, you learn how things work and how to treat customers, and you gain the appreciation of the owner or manager.
Jack Ryan, Enterprise-Journal