Did you Honor Labor?

Summer is dwindling, pools are closing, and we have to put away the white bucks and linen pants until Memorial Day. Maybe it’s my age, but I find myself reflecting more and more on the (true) meaning of holidays lately. Over Independence Day, as an example, I found a copy of the Declaration of Independence and read it for the first time since eighth grade. Sad, I know.

While its past is storied, the U.S. Labor Day was founded to celebrate “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations,” our workers who make this engine go round, and the overall economic, civil, educational, and spiritual components of our workforce.  When it comes down to it, HR is a major stakeholder in this holiday. Yet I wonder whether any of us put any more significance on it than the average Joe out there. Glassdoor.com recently conducted a survey that  makes me think we probably didn’t.

  • Less than half (41%) of people think of Labor Day as a celebration of U.S. workers
  • More adults associate the holiday with the end of summer (59%) and a long weekend (47%) – not to mention that 19% see this holiday as the start of football season
  • Majority of employees (52%) say their employer has done nothing to reward their achievements in the past year
  • One in five employees (18%) planned to work on Labor Day, and 53% of those unemployed but looking planned to do something related to their job search on Monday

We may hate planning company picnics and holiday parties – and I loathe the idea of that being our responsibility by default – but we still play a major role in rallying the troops (sometimes we’re sadly the only ones playing that role). This would have been a good time to do that. Did your CEO at least send out a message thanking your people for all that they’ve done? Was there any formal indication that Monday was a day off for a reason? Did you do anything special to recognize and acknowledge the meaning of this day? I hope so. And if not, mark your calendars for a week in advance of the 2012 holiday to spend a few moments planning for a bit more hoopla around this next year. Our workforce deserves it…and so do you.

Photo Credit: SusanPolgar

  • Anonymous

    Once again, you strike a chord of relevance. This is the core issue. I wrote about this topic today on my blog http://hirefriday.com/blog/2011/09/the-us-unemployment-outlook-what-does-this-mean-to-you/

    The US Employment Outlook is bleak in some sectors, promising in others. My heart hurts for American’s right now. The Compassionate HR radio show is not just a show, it’s a call to action. Get off your tush HR, Recruiters, Career Pros, and spring into action. We are engaged in strategic philanthropy, service learning, and corporate responsibility…but are we doing it for good PR, or are we doing it because it is the right thing to do, for the right reason?

    As labor day hits its stride, I want our industry to be more aware of the suffering around us, and less concerned about head count, time to fill, the cost of hire, and the cost of retention. How about we examine the cost of humanity, and what this economy is doing to the human spirit.

    We are in the midst of the most horrible recession since The Great Depression. While this could be argued 1,000 ways, we have to wake up, and practice compassionate action.

    No, we may not be able to save the world, but maybe we can save one person from the incomprehensible demoralization of unemployment.

    I started HireFriday with one thought in mind: Let’s role up our sleeves and put America back to work. What started out as a rag tag group of committed volunteers has turned into a world wide movement.

    We can’t do it alone. We need everyone’s help.

    I know most people don’t have time to volunteer, but this Monday the ZeroUE movement is collaborating with HireFriday, and all the other candidate communities to give a helping hand.

    I volunteer each and everyday of my breathing life. That’s just me. But, I hope each person that reads this will reach out to an unemployed American on Monday and offer a helping hand.

    Thanks Charlie for letting me share. Big ups to you my friend.

  • Anonymous

    love your comments, love your passion, love your compassion, love what you’re doing for the world of work. you are…and have been…a beacon for so many people. thanks for all that you do.

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