Dear Dave: I realize that employers are having a difficult time finding workers to fill the jobs that have been created as a result of our “reopening.” But I also think that people would take these jobs faster if they thought they would be treated well by the employers. So many of us have worked for bad managers who were either mean to us or had no idea about what they should be doing. It’s pretty hard to feel good about our work if we are beaten up every day. Am I wrong? -- G

Dear G: No, you are not wrong. I believe that people are more likely to seek out and accept a job if they were convinced that they would be treated well by management.

Having a poor relationship with your immediate manager is – according to surveys – the No. 1 reason that workers quit their jobs. No one wants to go through the agony of working for mean-spirited and inept managers.

Like almost everyone these days, I hear about how hard it is for employers to find good or even fair workers. Employers need to remember that workers from one company talk to workers from other companies and they share stories about how well or how poorly they are treated. It doesn’t take long for people to learn about the horror stories people have experienced when they worked for a particular company.

Most good managers realize that people want to work where they receive ample pay, are motivated to do work well, and are provided opportunities to grow their careers.

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In truth, attractive wages will not retain workers if they are treated with disrespect and are “yelled at” each and every day. Great pay and benefits may catch workers, but only great cultures will keep them.

To be clear: I am not saying that companies and managers should hire every person who expresses an interest in working for them. Not all employees are great employees and do not deserve good jobs until they can prove that they are productive and are strong team members.

Accordingly, companies must be careful about who they hire, and they must make sure that new hires will reflect the quality and integrity of the company. Companies are known by the people that work for them. The brands of companies are built by good employees doing good work.

How companies find good employees

Workers are the company. This includes both management and nonmanagement workers.

Positive “word-of-mouth” attracts loyal customers and quality workers. Good companies know that customers will stop buying from them if they have had bad encounters with their staff – either directly, or from lousy experiences with the products and services that are produced.

I think we all have experienced excellent relationships with some companies or an “I will never buy from them again” belief with other companies. And, most likely, these relationships were produced by encounters with workers who either took care of customer needs or did not care if customers bought from them again.

Good companies screen their workers well and if they have a doubt about a prospective employee, they will keep looking. The “dazzling” customer experience can only be produced by employees who take pride in their work, put the customer needs before their own, and live up to the promises that companies make to their valued customers.

How employees find good companies

Employees talk about how well they are being taken care of by their employer. Companies that do shabby work, lie and cheat, could care less about how customers are treated, and treat their workers poorly, become well known in the community and people will refuse to work at these organizations. Even if these companies are able to hire productive workers, the workers will probably end up spending a great deal of their time looking for jobs elsewhere.

Sparkly job postings and super-friendly employee recruiters at job fairs cannot mask the realities of bad companies with bad leadership. Smart people try to look “behind the curtain” to determine if a particular company is a good place to work. Accordingly, I know that money is important, but so is the sanity of working for a company that treats workers well – and would not fire them for no reason whatsoever. There is no enjoyment or fulfillment in having a great job at a bad company. Sooner or later, good people leave bad companies.

As I have mentioned in the past, when looking at a job, it is crucial to check the culture of the company and not just the work to be done. People need to talk to as many people as they can to learn what a company is (really like).

Simply, good leadership will attract and retain good, contented employees.

Contact Dave Conrad with questions or comments at conradd@augsburg.edu. Conrad is an associate professor of business at Augsburg University in Rochester.