I posted these recollections on a forum that’s oriented toward mechanics and car guys, and the responses have been interesting, to say the least.
It’s been many years since I managed a large printing facility in San Antonio. We had a large work force (for the industry) and paid top dollar in the area for equipment operators, mechanics, and warehouse workers. Every time we had even a janitor position open we would get 20+ applications, in addition to people who just walked in and applied for any openings.
Over the years I saw incredible things happen to people we interviewed or hired. The most common bad practice was I would make an offer to a skilled guy, and they would ask when they could start. I would tell them as soon as they were available but that we understood they had to give notice at their current job. Probably half the time the guy would go back and put in his two-week notice and the employer would fire him on the spot. For some reason it seemed as if mechanics had this happen to them more than other trades. Why would you treat someone like this? All your other employees will hear about it, and loyalty will naturally suffer.
The other one I remember clearly is that one day a manager from another division of the company (at the same location as me) was at a local fast food place and noticed a cashier who was really hustling. Impressed, he handed her his card and said call him if she was interested in a better paying job. Now, entry-level jobs with us were a good 50 percent higher than what she was being paid. Her manager saw it happen and asked her what it was about. This was a San Antonio based fast food company.
The manager called up his chain until their CEO called our CEO, who actually called the other manager (my peer — he had told me about it because he was excited at spotting talent like that) and told him it was in appropriate to try to hire someone that way. The girl was as smart as we thought; she waited a couple of months and came in and filled out an application, and became a very valuable (and well paid) employee. The fast food place is a big San Antonio based barbecue chain (not franchised); there were very few big companies headquartered in San Antonio so all the CEOs knew each other and moved in the same circles.
I still can’t get over management behavior in these situations. I always thought it was the American way — work hard, get ahead. If you are scared that your employees will jump ship you are doing something very wrong. And if you resent an employee for taking a better opportunity someplace else, you are just a jerk.