Bob Funk – Express Employment Professionals


ROB MCCLENDON: TODAY WE
BEGIN WHAT WILL BE A
REGULAR SEGMENT HERE ON HORIZON THAT RECOGNIZES
OKLAHOMANS WHO ARE SETTING
A STANDARD OF SUCCESS WE CAN ALL BE PROUD OF. BOB FUNK IS THE FOUNDER
AND CHAIRMAN OF THE
LARGEST PRIVATELY-HELD STAFFING COMPANY IN
THE UNITED STATES. EXPRESS EMPLOYMENT
PROFESSIONALS IS A
HEAVYWEIGHT IN THE HUMAN RESOURCE INDUSTRY, WITH
ANNUAL SALES OVER TWO AND
A HALF BILLION DOLLARS AND MORE THAN SIX HUNDRED
AND FIFTY FRANCHISES
NATIONWIDE. BUT IT’S THE NUMBER OF
PEOPLE WHO FIND WORK,
THANKS TO EXPRESS, THAT GIVES FUNK HIS
MOST SATISFACTION. YET HE SAYS AT ANY GIVEN
TIME EXPRESS HAS AS MANY
AS TWENTY THOUSAND JOBS GOING UNFILLED BECAUSE THE
COMPANY CAN’T FIND THE
RIGHT WORKERS WITH THE NECESSARY SKILLS. NOW I WAS ABLE TO SIT
DOWN WITH MR FUNK AT HIS
COMPANY’S ANNUAL MEETING IN OKLAHOMA CITY. MR FUNK FIRST
OF ALL THANK YOU SO
MUCH FOR BEING HERE. BOB FUNK: WELL THANK
YOU FOR INVITING US. ROB: NOW, YOU HAVE SEEN
YOUR SHARE OF RECESSIONS. WHAT MAKES THIS RECOVERY
DIFFERENT THAN THE LAST? BOB FUNK: WELL
THIS RECESSION WAS
MUCH DIFFERENT. OF COURSE IT WAS MUCH
DEEPER THAN ANY OF THE
OTHER RECESSIONS I’VE EVER BEEN IN, OF THE OTHER
EIGHT OR NINE OR
SO THAT I’VE BEEN IN. BUT WHEN THE COMPANIES
LAID OFF THEIR PEOPLE
DURING THIS RECESSION, THEY KEPT THEIR BEST
SKILLED PEOPLE. THEY LEARNED FROM THE
RECESSIONS OF THE PAST,
THAT IF YOU LAY, TEN PERCENT OFF FROM TOP TO
BOTTOM, THAT THOSE SKILLED
PEOPLE WON’T BE THERE WHEN YOU COME BACK OUT
OF THE RECESSION. AND CONSEQUENTLY THEY
KEPT MOST OF THEIR GOOD
SKILLED PEOPLE AND AS THE RECESSION TURNED AND
BECAME, THE ECONOMY BECAME
MUCH BETTER, THEY’RE HAVING A MORE DIFFICULT
TIME FINDING THE SKILLED
INDIVIDUALS ROB: SO WITH THIS EVOLVING ECONOMY THAT
WE’RE IN, ARE YOU WORRIED
THAT WE ARE FACING A SERIOUS SKILLS GAP? FUNK: WE ARE FACING A
SERIOUS SKILLS GAP. NOW WE’VE HAD A SERIOUS
SKILLS GAP IN THE HEALTH
CARE AREA FOR MANY YEARS, NURSES, DOCTORS,
SO ON AND SO FORTH. NOW WE’RE FACING IT
IN THE I-T ARENA. WE’RE FACING IT IN
THE ACCOUNTING ARENA. WE’RE FACING IT IN THE
SEMI, WHAT I CALL THE
SEMI-SKILLED AREA WHICH IS THE C-N-C
OPERATORS, WELDERS,
MANUFACTURING AREA. AS A MATTER OF FACT, WE’RE
EVEN HAVING A DIFFICULT
TIME FINDING PEOPLE WITH A GOOD WORK ETHIC FOR
THE NORMAL MANUFACTURING
JOBS THAT ARE OUT THERE. AND THAT’S A LITTLE
BIT MORE ONIMOUS, I
THINK, IF THAT EVOLVES. BECAUSE WE NEED THOSE
MANUFACTURING EMPLOYEES
IN ORDER TO BRING THAT INDUSTRY BACK FROM
CHINA AND OTHER PLACES
AROUND THE WORLD. ROB: WHAT DO YOU
HOPE WE CAN DO? DOES INDUSTRY NEED TO WORK
CLOSER WITH EDUCATION,
EDUCATION CLOSER WITH INDUSTRY? FUNK: WELL MY OPINION IS
EDUCATION NEEDS TO BE MUCH
MORE FLEXIBLE THAN THEY HAVE BEEN. THE TENURE LAW HAS HURT US
IN THE K THROUGH 12 AREA. BECAUSE THE GOOD TEACHERS
LEAVE BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT
GETTING PAID ANY MORE THAN THOSE WHO MAYBE NOT BE
DOING AS GOOD A JOB. AND THAT’S THE BIGGEST
SOCIALISTIC SYSTEM IN
THE UNITED STATES AT THE CURRENT TIME. EVERYBODY GETS PAID
THE SAME NO MATTER WHAT
KIND OF A JOB THEY DO. THAT’S NOT THE
AMERICAN WAY. THE AMERICAN WAY IS
THAT WE’RE INCENTIVIZED
FOR DOING A BETTER JOB. THE BETTER JOB YOU DO THE
MORE OPPORTUNITY, THE MORE
PAY YOU OUGHT TO GET. AND THE SAME THING WITH
HIGHER ED; HIGHER ED HAS
A CHALLENGE THERE AS WELL WHERE THEY MAY NEED
TEACHERS OVER IN OTHER
DISCIPLINES, BUT THEY CAN’T PUT THEM OVER IN THE
OTHER DISCIPLINES BECAUSE
THEY ARE TENURED IN THAT DEPARTMENT OR
IN THAT SYSTEM. SO, WE NEED TO CHANGE
THE SYSTEM TO A DEGREE,
AND GET INCENTIVE BASED PROGRAMS FOR TEACHERS
AND TEACHER SYSTEMS. ROB: SO, IS IT FAIR TO SAY
THEN THAT MAYBE EDUCATION
HAS SUFFERED FROM THE LACK OF FREE ENTERPRISE? FUNK: YES, THEY HAVE. THERE’S NO
QUESTION ABOUT IT. AND THE FASTER
WE GET THERE THE
BETTER OFF WE’LL BE. AS YOU PROBABLY SAW IN
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL,
OF THE 24 INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS, THE UNITED
STATES IS FOURTH FROM
THE BOTTOM IN EDUCATION. THAT’S A SHAME, BECAUSE
WE HAVE GREAT PEOPLE. WE HAVE, I THINK, GREAT
TEACHERS WE HAVE GREAT
EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS. THE SYSTEM JUST NEEDS TO
BE CHANGED TO A DEGREE IN
ORDER TO INCENTIVIZE AND TO REWARD THE TEACHERS
WHO DO A BETTER
JOB THAN OTHERS. ROB: IS IT FAIR TO SAY
THAT WE MAY HAVE BEEN TOO
FOCUSED IN EDUCATION ON DEGREES AND NOT
ENOUGH FOCUS HAS BEEN
PUT ON SKILL SETS? FUNK: I THINK THERE’S
NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. AND WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR
ATTITUDE THAT THE SEMI
SKILLS AND SKILLS AREAS ARE REALLY IMPORTANT
FOR OUR ECONOMY. THEY ARE IMPORTANT
FOR THE FINANCIAL
WHEREWITHAL OF PEOPLE. WHEN THE SKILLED JOBS ARE
OUT THERE AT 60 TO 80 TO
100 THOUSAND DOLLARS, THAT’S NOT A BAD JOB
IN MY ECONOMY ANYWAY. BECAUSE MANY COLLEGE
GRADUATES COME OUT, THEY
CANNOT FIND JOBS AT THAT LEVEL. AND IT’S BECAUSE
THEY WERE GUIDED IN
THE WRONG DIRECTION. ROB: AND I’VE HEARD YOU
SAY MULTIPLE TIMES, THE
BEST SOCIAL PROGRAM OUR COUNTRY CAN HAVE IS A
JOB, AND REALLY YOU’VE
DEDICATED YOUR LIFE TO THAT IN WHAT YOU DO. FUNK: THAT’S RIGHT. WE’RE INTERESTED OF COURSE
IN PLACING PEOPLE ON A
TEMPORARY BASIS SO THAT THE COMPANY GETS AN
OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK AT
THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE INDIVIDUAL GETS AN
OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK
AT THE COMPANY. AND THEN THEY MAKE A
DECISION TO GET MARRIED. SO WHEN THEY HAVE A GOOD
JOB, THEY PAY TAXES. THEY PAY TAXES TO THE
STATE; THEY PAY TAXES TO
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT; AND IT BOLSTERS THE
ECONOMY ALL THE WAY AROUND
IF THERE ARE MORE JOBS AVAILABLE FOR THEM AND
THAT THEY HAVE THE
OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE. ROB: WHAT ARE SOME OF
THOSE AREAS THAT YOU LOOK
FOR WHEN YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT AN EMPLOYEE THAT
WOULD EITHER WORK FOR YOU
AT EXPRESS OR WHEN YOU’RE FINDING EMPLOYEES
FOR OTHER PEOPLE? FUNK: WELL AS I MENTIONED
IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
THERE IS THREE AREAS THAT I THINK ARE IMPORTANT. THE FIRST ONE’S INTEGRITY;
IF YOU DON’T HAVE
INTEGRITY AS AN EMPLOYEE THEN IT’S DIFFICULT
OF COURSE FOR A
COMPANY TO KEEP YOU. SECOND OF ALL, YOU HAVE TO
HAVE A GOOD WORK ETHIC;
YOU HAVE TO COME TO WORK EVERY DAY, YOU HAVE
TO SHOW UP, YOU HAVE
TO BE DEDICATED. AND THEN THIRD OF COURSE
IS YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE
TO PASS THE DRUG TESTS. AND WE’RE HAVING SOME
REAL CHALLENGES ACROSS
THIS COUNTRY WITH THE EMPLOYEES, POTENTIAL
EMPLOYEES, NOT BEING ABLE
TO PASS THE DRUG TESTS. THERE’S ONE CITY THAT
WE’RE IN, IN THE STATE OF
WASHINGTON, 70 PERCENT OF THEM CANNOT PASS
A DRUG TEST. WELL THEIR CONCENTRATION,
THEIR FOCUS LEVEL IS JUST
NOT AS PRODUCTIVE AS SOMEONE WHO HAS NOT BEEN
ON DRUGS ON THE WEEKEND. SO, IT’S IMPORTANT THAT
THEY HAVE GOOD VALUES IN
THEIR LIVES AND A GOOD WORK ETHIC. AND VALUES USUALLY
TRANSFER OVER INTO A GOOD
WORK ETHIC THAT THEY’RE WILLING TO PUT IN THE HARD
WORK FOR A HARD DAY’S PAY. ROB: NOW YOU’RE INITIALLY
FROM WASHINGTON STATE AS I
REMEMBER BUT YOU’VE MADE OKLAHOMA YOUR HOME. FUNK: YES. ROB: TELL ME ABOUT WHY
YOU LIVE RIGHT HERE IN
THE MIDDLE OF AMERICA. FUNK: IT WAS THE
BEST MOVE OF MY LIFE
TO COME TO OKLAHOMA. NUMBER ONE, THE PEOPLE
ARE JUST TREMENDOUS. THEIR VALUE SYSTEMS ARE
GOOD; IF THEY’RE YOUR
FRIEND, THEY ARE USUALLY YOUR FRIEND FOR LIFE, NOT
JUST A PARTIAL FRIEND, NOT
JUST A TEMPORARY FRIEND, BUT THEY WANT TO BE
FRIENDS WITH YOU FOR A
LONG PERIOD OF TIME. THEY’RE VERY SINCERE. THEY USUALLY HAVE GOOD
VALUES AND CONSEQUENTLY
THEY TURN OUT TO BE JUST A FABULOUS PLACE TO WORK,
A FABULOUS PLACE TO HIRE
PEOPLE, A FABULOUS PLACE FOR PEOPLE WHO
GIVES US LOYALTY. WE HAVE SOME OF THE MOST
LOYAL EMPLOYEES AT THE
COMPANY THAT HAVE BEEN WITH ME NOW FOR 35 YEARS,
AND MANY OF THEM OF COURSE
HOPEFULLY WILL BE THERE THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. AND THAT KIND OF LOYALTY
YOU JUST DON’T FIND IN
MANY OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. ROB: MR FUNK, AS ALWAYS
IT’S A PLEASURE. BOB FUNK: THANK YOU,
THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE. ROB: THANK YOU.