In the same way, there are latent illnesses and inefficiencies in many commercial organizations which never reach the point of strikes and lockouts. For some reason or other that lively germ, the walking delegate, fails to get a foothold. Perhaps there would be a beneficial house cleaning if he did. Discontent, dissatisfaction, unrest, and constant changes in personnel load the body up with wastes, inefficiencies and unnecessary expenses. Any employer who thinks at all, and who has any basis for judgment as a result of observation, knows that what he desires to purchase, when he pays wages, is not a prescribed number of days and hours, is not a standard number of foot pounds of physical energy, but rather human intelligence and human willingness and enthusiasm in the use of that intelligence in his service. It is true that most employees do a certain amount of physical work, but it is also true that the value of that work depends entirely upon the amount of intelligence and good will the employee puts into it. The employee who is doing work for which he is not fitted and is unhappy and discontented is doubly inefficient. He is inefficient because he is not well fitted for the work and could not do his best even if he were perfectly satisfied and happy. And he is inefficient because he is in a bad psychical state. With his mental attitude, he could not do good work even if he were in the place for which he was best fitted.
Efficiency experts maintain that the average employee in our industrial and commercial institutions is only from twenty-five to thirty-five per cent, efficient. Sixty-five to seventy-five per cent, loss in productive power on the part of the forty million workers in this country constitutes an almost incalculable sum.
Who is to blame for this loss? Are we not too intelligent, too well versed in the laws of cause and effect and too courageous to try to blame the Almighty for it or to lay it to the public schools or to hold the employee accountable? As a matter of fact, no matter how we may try to shift the blame, those of us who are executives know only too well that our board of directors and stockholders hold us strictly responsible for results. What they want is dividends, not excuses. They do not care to hear how hard it is to find good men. They are not interested in the stories of employees who are so ungrateful as to leave just when they have become most useful. They will not permit you to shift any of the blame upon the shoulders of the employee. They expect you to use methods in selecting and assigning employees and handling them after they are selected that will yield the largest possible permanent results.