Value and Purpose in the Work We Do

I went out to lunch to my favorite place yesterday. The parking lot of the steakhouse was nearly empty, yet I had to wait 15 minutes for a booth. The restaurant wasn’t full, but the restaurant did not have enough staff to serve those who were dining in. It was to the point that I observed the Hostess greeting patrons in the lobby then running back to the kitchen to pick up food to deliver it to those already seated. Now, I understood why there was a 15 minute wait for a table; the restaurant didn’t have enough people to handle even the smallest of dine-in patrons. This has become an all too frequent theme in almost every industry. But why?

I tend to believe that people are just not willing to work at a job where they are  exchanging hours to earn a paycheck. These days, that doesn’t mean much to an employee anymore. When you consider the fact that employees are also taxed on their earings, that hourly wage takes a hit and employee begin re-evaluating their efforts. The government checks have stopped coming in, so why are people still not flooding employers with applications and resume’s?



I believe that the answer is two-fold;

  1. Employees have placed more value on their time.
  2. Employees are no longer willing to settle for just a “job”, they want a “purpose”.


We have all witnessed the Amazon culture and hiring practices. Amazon has been building distribution centers all across the country and have been paying their employees well. Despite their cookie-cutter hiring approach, Amazon still suffers one one of the highest turn-over rates in the nation. According to, Amazon’s turn-over rate is at 150% every year, “even before the pandemic”.


How is it that one of the nation’s most popular employers struggles to keep people employed while paying a higher than minimum wage? Again, the answer it two-fold; the employee’s valuable time and their need for purpose.


What are employers to do to retain their current work-force and build upon it with new hires?


If an Employer Can Create a Purpose for it’s Worker, it Will Give the Worker Value


An employer in Phoenix, Arizona has addressed this dilemma and has created a work environment which promotes quality work from quality employees. They’ve done so by implementing the following:


  1. A starting wage that is above the current minimum requirement. Their starting wage is $15 an hour. (Phoenix’s cost of living in higher than most cities).
  2. The company offers Continuing Education. As employees become proficient in their current work assignments, the company offers them opportunities to train at other positions which pay more and have favorable schedules.
  3. Levels of achievement with pay increases.
  4. Earned time-off.
  5. Earned sick-leave.


The company is just beginning to scratch the surface with it’s implementation of these items. It recognizes that it still has further to go. In the meantime, the company has been able to reduce their turn-over rate by 6% yearly and have enjoyed an increase in their new hire candidate pool.


I write this blog as I finish up my lunch at the steakhouse I first told you about. The 15 minutes wait was not too bad and the food was worth the wait. As I conclude this writing, the server has brought me my check and credit card. He says, “Thank you for coming.” I respond with, “No, thank YOU for coming to work and providing such excellent service.” I have a feeling I’ll see him again next time.



-Omar Tarango is a Freelance Blogger and Social Media Manager-