Rob Goldiez, co-founder of Hirebotics, configures a robot at Tenere Inc. in Dresser, Wis. (Ackerman + Gruber/For The Washington Post)

The Aug. 6 front-page article “Rise of the machines” tackled a key economic trend, but it missed key points in diagnosing the firm’s challenges. The company, Tenere, said it struggles to fill vacancies and some workers aren’t reliably showing up. The article suggested the usual culprits: poor skills, a tightening labor market and lack of motivation in some workers. But what about the firm’s own practices?

Tenere has a fairly poor rating on Glassdoor (2.4 stars and several “doesn’t recommend” ratings). Further, its pay rate of $10.50 per hour hardly competes with those of other manufacturing, health-care, or even retail and restaurant jobs. Maybe the firm should heed market signals and offer better pay to attract more skilled and attached associates.

Is robotics the only or right answer for Tenere? Employers won’t attract great employees to longer commutes and demanding work with pay below $22,000 per year. Job quality, including pay, matters. If companies want the profits that come with an engaged and productive workforce, then they must invest in that workforce.

Maureen Conway, Washington

The writer is executive director of the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program and vice president of the Aspen Institute.

Mark Popovic, Washington

The writer is director of the Good Companies/Good Jobs Initiative at the Aspen Institute.