What Does Labor Day Mean to Employers?

According to the Department of Labor, Labor Day, the first Monday in September, “is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

With Labor Day approaching, we asked an executive recruiter, a college professor, a tech CEO and career author what Labor Day means to them.

Labor Day recognizes the contributions that workers have made to the prosperity of our nation, saysKaren Schmidt, Managing Director of Sanford Rose Associates, an Executive Search Firm.

“As recruiters, we are fortunate to play a role in building on that prosperity by having a direct impact on the advancement of the careers of our candidates and the strength of our client organizations,” says Schmidt.  “At Sanford Rose Associates, we know that recruiting is one of the toughest jobs, but most fulfilling careers that one can ever have. We recognize, as with so many who worked diligently throughout past generations, that success in this business means that you must be passionate about being a recruiter, and wake up every day craving success. We have all met individuals who are passionate about so much yet accomplish so little, because they lack the ability to focus their thoughts into action. They live in their dreams instead of in reality, often because the fear of failure holds them back and becomes easier to talk than to do. The importance of Labor Day is that it celebrates all those who have let their actions speak louder than their words.”

Larry Baldwin, a Professor and Director of The Human Resources Institute at the University of Alabama, says Labor Day is a grand celebration of the hard work of so many.

“While disputed by some, it is a special day originally advocated by a Machinist in the 1880’s with the simple idea of celebrating the hard work of working men,” says Baldwin. “Today, we don’t celebrate this holiday because it is designated by the federal government, rather we do so because we honor the hard work and toil of all men and women everywhere in our country.  In what seems a turbulent time for all working people today – stop and take time to rest from your daily grind of labor.  You earned it.”

Andre Lavoie (@aglavoie) CEO of ClearCompany, the talent management solution that helps companies identify, hire, and retain more A Players, says Labor Day is a time to reflect on the accomplishments of the American workforce, and how much the workforce has evolved.

“It’s difficult to imagine where the country would be without all the leadership and strength put forth by our country’s laborers,” says Lavoie. “Our country’s economy was in bad shape a mere eight years ago, and over half a century ago there was still a great divide with racial tensions. Now we get to celebrate the booming diversity movement we see in offices all around the country. With all these evolutions we’ve seen in recent years, I am excited to see where our country will head next.”

Doug Kisgen, author of Rethink Happy, points out that back in the 19th Century, many people worked 12 hour days 7 days a week.

“We have certainly come a long way since then,” says Kisgen.  Kisgen takes time to remember though, the importance of family this Labor Day, and how that should always come first.

“One of my clients who owns a very successful tech company puts his cell phone in a kitchen cabinet the minute he comes home from work and doesn’t look at it again until he’s touched base with his wife and all his kids are down for bed,” says Kisgen. “Work is incredibly important. But our spouses should come first and then our kids second not simply because these relationships are far more enduring.”

Labor Day means different things to different people. What does it mean to you?


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