Survey: Dependability is Trait That Dry Cleaners Value Most in Their Employees

Bruce Beggs |

CHICAGO — Dry cleaners find dependability to be a highly valued trait in their employees, according to the results of this month’s Wire survey.

Roughly 42% of managers who responded to the survey say dependability is the trait they value most in an employee. Next most valued is being a team player and having a positive attitude, each selected by 20.8% of respondents.

Other traits that respondents value are trustworthiness (8.3%), and likability and taking direction (4.2% each).

Managers are less in agreement about the undesirable trait that is the surest way for an employee to tick them off. No. 1 is not working well with others, chosen by 23.8%. A close second, at 19%, is being unreliable. Equal shares of 14.3% dislike instances in which employees are unmotivated, disloyal, or don’t follow the rules. Lacking initiative was deemed most undesirable by 9.5%, while the remaining 4.8% chose “other.”

The dry cleaners who responded to this month’s survey oversee an average of 24 full-time equivalent employees day to day. The largest work force among those surveyed is 160 employees, and the smallest is three. Roughly 57% of respondents have received formal management training.

How does personnel management play a role in the success of your dry cleaning business?Respondents were asked that question:

  • “I think it’s the one thing we underestimated when we started the business. I think, in a labor-intensive, dollars-and-cents business like dry cleaning, personnel management is the difference between success and failure.”
  • “All we have to sell is the service our personnel provide to our customers. It makes all the difference.”
  • “So much about this industry is being able to work with and get what your business needs from the less educated, lower socioeconomic type of employee.”
  • “The HR portion of business is taking more and more time away from the core functions of the dry cleaning business.” also asked respondents to describe the most difficult personnel issue they’ve had to address. Their answers included firing or laying off employees, workers who don’t show up for work and don’t call in, theft, and resolving conflicts between employees.

While the Wiresurvey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.

Subscribers to Wire e-mails—distributed twice weekly—are invited to take a brief industry survey anonymously online each month. All dry cleaners are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define opinions and industry trends.

To sign up for the Wire, click the “Subscriptions” button at the top right-hand corner of this page and follow the instructions.

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.


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