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Survey: Unreliability Most Undesirable Employee Trait, Majority of Dry Cleaners Say

CHICAGO — Dry cleaners deal with a number of challenges any given day, so the last thing they want is for their own employees to be part of the problem.

The majority of cleaners polled (43.1%) say being “unreliable” is the most “undesirable trait” for an employee to have, according to results from this month’s American Drycleaner Your Views survey.

Dry cleaners also found these traits “undesirable” and a “[sure] way for an employee to tick [them] off”: “Doesn’t follow rules” (13.9%), “Doesn’t work well with others” (12.5%), “Unmotivated” (9.7%), “Disloyal” (6.9%), “Lacks initiative” (5.6%), and “Fails to meet goals/deadlines” (1.4%).

The average number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) employees a dry cleaner oversees day to day is 18.8, according to survey results; the total number of FTEs reported by cleaners ranged from zero to 155.

When asked if they’ve received any “formal training in personnel management,” 52.7% of dry cleaners say they have, and 47.3% report they have not.

“Finding good, reliable employees, whether experienced or inexperienced,” has become a personnel challenge for one dry cleaner.

“In our area, it is difficult to find workers,” says another. “At $10 per hour for non-skilled entry-level job, it is hard to draw applicants, so we let a little more go in terms of what the workers can get away with. Can’t afford to lose anyone.”

One respondent revealed that an employee had stolen a large amount of money from their business, and was fired immediately after the company’s POS system “revealed [the] activity.”

Regarding how personnel management plays into the success of a drycleaning business, one respondent says, “It affects every aspect of your operation.”

Others say it is a “priority,” and that “it is critical” and “vital.”

“Without proper employee motivation and controls, quality will suffer in the plant and we all know how fast a clerk with a bad attitude can run off customers,” says another respondent.

American Drycleaner’s Your Views survey presents an unscientific snapshot of the audience’s viewpoint at a particular moment; due to rounding, percentages may not add up to 100%.

Subscribers to American Drycleaner e-mails are invited to participate anonymously in an industry survey each month.

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Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].