Are People Really Refusing to Work?

They call it the “big resignation” or the “big refusal to work.” Whatever we call it, the unemployment rate in April 2020 was 20 percent and is now less than 5 percent. Small business owners report increasing difficulty in finding people, especially in service industries. In addition, their turnover is at an all-time high.

On The Small Business Radio Show this week, I spoke to Roberta Matuson, president of Boston-based Matuson Consulting, a workplace strategist who helps organizations attract and retain the best people. She is the author of six books, including the bestsellers, “Suddenly In Charge” and “Evergreen Talent”. Her new book, Do We Talk: Seven Principles for Managing Difficult Conversations at Work.

Roberta says the “big refusal to work” is a lie. “Unemployment benefits aren’t the reason we haven’t found people; they haven’t stowed that money away. People are now looking at all the available opportunities and they don’t want to work for that company or take that kind of risk in that industry. How do you explain that Apple doesn’t have a hard time finding them? People to work in her stores, but Macy’s is having a hard time? It’s not because they don’t want to work, they just don’t want to work for you.”

Roberta suggests that small business owners become a “talent magnet” and work on their brand as an employer. And it’s not just about paying them well, she adds. They need a “concierge hiring” practice where the CEO is involved in the appointment of their key CEOs; Roberta adds that when the CEO calls, he has a greater impact; “You have to be the one who nurtures this talent in your organization.”

To retain your team, you as a business owner must become a “magnetic leader – someone they will follow in this job and the next.”

Hear the entire interview on how to attract and retain your employees on the Small Business Radio Show.

Photo: Matosson Consulting


Leave a Comment