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What Is A Living Wage?

BY TIFFINY FLAIM

No matter where we are on the food chain, we all have the same goals. We want to go to work where we are valued, provide for our families and have a little left over for a rainy day. Good labor is difficult to find, and turnover is expensive. As owners and managers, we need to take the time to reflect on our company culture. Are you looking for laborers that will end up being undependable and always looking for the next best thing, or are you offering a career where hard work and dedication is valued?


To keep things simple, let’s assume you’re able to offer an employee 40 hours a week, which we know never happens in construction, but this is the best-case scenario. Ten dollars an hour, for 40 hours a week, for 52 weeks is $20,800 a year without considering Uncle Sam’s portion. There’re not many places in the United States you would be able to provide for a family on $20,800 year. I believe the helper is equally as important as the sprayer. They are the person that that preps the jobs site and cleans in the end. Essentially this person’s responsibilities depict weather you will have a call back or not: over spray, missed areas, etc.


Questions I always ask myself when there’s employee turnover:

  • Were current employees informed of our new hire, as to eliminate their fears of losing employment?

  • Were current employees aware of their role in helping the new hire to succeed?

  • Did I onboard the new employee correctly, so that they understood our company expectations?

  • Were they introduced to our processes in a timely manner?

  • Did I set this person up to succeed?

  • Did I provide proper training?

  • Did they receive clear communication with reasonable timing expectations?

Unfortunately, I can’t always answer yes to all these questions. There are times when you just need to complete the job. I’m thankful for those that have been with us year after year, and I try to show my gratitude through praise and acknowledgment for the smallest efforts and improvements. After all, it takes a special type of person to show up on time, day after day ready to get dirty, while wearing a polyethylene suit and respirator.


Tiffiny Flaim, BIOFOAM SPFA President


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