There’s no longer any question whether transit companies should hire men for jobs formerly held by women. The draft and womanpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient men available and how to use them to the best advantage. Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from Western Properties:
- Pick young married men. They usually have more of a sense of responsibility than their unmarried brothers, they’re less likely to be flirtatious, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it, they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.
- When you have to use older men, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Older men who have never contacted the public have a hard time adapting themselves and are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older men the importance of friendliness and courtesy.
- General experience indicates that “husky” boys – those who are just a little on the heavy side – are more even tempered and efficient than their underweight brothers.
- Retain a physician to give each man you hire a special physical examination – one covering male conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit, but reveals whether the employee-to-be has any male weaknesses which would make him mentally or physically unfit for the job.
- Stress at the outset the importance of time; the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.
- Give the male employee a definite day-long schedule of duties so that they’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that men make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them, but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.
- Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day. Men are inclined to be less nervous and happier with change.
- Give every boy an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for masculine psychology. A boy has more confidence and is more efficient if he can keep his hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash his hands several times a day.
- Be tactful when issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Men are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way women do. Never ridicule a man – it breaks his spirit and cuts off his efficiency.
- Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around men. Even though a boy’s wife or mother may swear vociferously, he’ll grow to dislike a place of business where he hears too much of this.
- Get enough size variety in operator’s uniforms so that each boy can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too much in keeping men happy.
Adapted from an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine, a piece originally called “Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees,” written for male supervisors of women in the workforce during World War II.