Have you begun to notice that your employees are becoming more tense and uptight? Do they fly off the handle at even the most insignificant of issues? As I talk to my fleet friends from around the country I am getting a sense of employee frustration at levels I have never seen before in my fleet career.

Employees who once were proud of their public employer now treat them with distrust and disdain. As each fiscal year goes by there are more calls for layoffs, reduced salaries and increased contributions to medical & retirement plans. Some employees are experiencing these cuts without ever having a raise in years. Many employees, including some of mine, might lose their homes if they continue to forego more of their take-home pay.

Now, there are some in the private sector that will say “well it’s about time.”  But what they fail to realize is that not everyone in the public sector makes the big money. Many of our technicians have never made “big money” and most likely never will. They are decent people trying to support their families on budgets that haven’t significantly changed in decades, contrary to the good times the private sector experienced during the same period.

As our employees’ financial pressures continue to grow we, as managers, need to become more attune to their personal situation.  In the end, there’s not a lot we can do about the country’s economic situation, but we can try to tone down their anger and frustration with understanding and compassion. That obviously won’t pay their bills, but showing and demonstrating concern for their wellbeing, and that of their family, may well be the deciding factor on whether you retain the good technicians who could go elsewhere.

Lastly, as a suggestion, talk to your employees about the amount of tax deducted from their paychecks. I have noticed that many of them over pay their taxes and get significant refunds at the end of the year. If that have not changed their number of exemptions in several years they should consider doing so. This may instantly add hundreds of dollars per month in take home pay that might help them weather the storm.

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Anonymous Author

Public Fleet Manager

The anonymous public fleet manager is a current working fleet manager who oversees a public fleet in the U.S. He writes about controversial and stimulating topics and expresses candid opinions about some of the challenges and demands of running a fleet operation day-to-day, as well as topics that affect the industry. More than one author can contribute under the "anonymous" name, leading to a diversity of voices and opinions.

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The anonymous public fleet manager is a current working fleet manager who oversees a public fleet in the U.S. He writes about controversial and stimulating topics and expresses candid opinions about some of the challenges and demands of running a fleet operation day-to-day, as well as topics that affect the industry. More than one author can contribute under the "anonymous" name, leading to a diversity of voices and opinions.

View Bio
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