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    5 Time-Tested Steps for Hiring and Keeping Hourly Workers

    More than 59% of the US workforce, or 78 million Americans, are holding hourly jobs. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost three million American workers left their jobs voluntarily.

    The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) states that the cost of losing an hourly employee averages to be $4,969. This costly turnover can hurt business in terms of loss productivity and often times, low morale. 

    The key to reducing  the problem of high churn in employees is to create an environment where employees are engaged in their work and feel like they are able to contribute greatly to the business. Engaged employees are involved in, committed, and enthusiastic about their work which makes them happy, content, and productive. Striving for full employee engagement is a mighty task, but well worth the efforts. These five steps can help you to not only keep good hourly employees, but to attract more.

    1. Have Empathy, Lead With a Heart

    One of the main reasons cited as to why hourly employees leave a company is because of their manager or supervisor. These people are the starting point for keeping good employees and reducing turnover. A Gallup study uncovered that managers are responsible for 70% of variance in the engagement and that the best managers make an effort to get to know the employees to improve engagement

    To counter this, ensure that all managers and supervisors are trained in the simple concept of treating their employees with respect. This includes responding to the concerns of employees in a timely manner. With the rise of text messaging, businesses can leverage on this to engage hourly employees too. 

    Read more on How to Use Text Messaging to Engage Hourly Employees

    Businesses should always aim to train managers to lead with a heart. That means the supervisor should treat employees as fellow equals, showing empathy when needed as well as direction and guidance. Managers should also focus on the strengths of the employee, rather than weaknesses. 67% of the employees in the very same Gallup study agreed that there would be a stronger chance for them to stay with the company if they were kept engaged.

    Leading with a heart is not difficult. In the world of HR, this is also known as Emotional Intelligence (EI). This means finding the good in others and focusing on these positive traits. If an employee has a positive relationship with their manager, they are more likely to be engaged in their work and produce better performance.

    2. Be Creative with Benefits

    There are a few common benefits that many businesses use as an incentive to attract hourly employees. The list of benefits seem exhaustive, but with a little creativity, you can stand out from the competition and provide benefits that are valuable and unique towards your business. For example, allowing employees to pick up a new skill from cross functions or giving them the flexibility to break up the day-to-day routine can go a long way towards increasing engagement. Burton Snowboards provides employees with free season passes to local Vermont ski resorts, demo gear to test and lessons to learn snowboarding. Offering opportunities for employees to work on the weekend or different shifts, either for regular pay or overtime, provides some variety in the work and offers insight into the functions of the business. 

    Other benefits can include allowing employees to paint their own parking space, buying small tokens of appreciation like gift cards to their favorite restaurant, car detailing, books, sporting events, concerts, or massages. It is key to remember that creative benefits are not about the monetary value that was taken out of the business, but rather, it shows that the company values the employee and took the effort to show display this appreciation. 

    3. Provide Flexible Schedule

    Millennials today value flexibility in their work schedule. Since the majority of hourly workers are made up of millennials, it is important for businesses to consider providing flexible work schedules to cater to these millennials.

    Some hourly employees enjoy following a routine - working the same hours on the same days to allow them to plan their off days. On the other hand, there are some others that may need time off for school, family, appointments, etc. Employers that can adapt and cater to the needs of their employees reasonably stand a better chance at keeping the good employees from leaving. Businesses can consider using scheduling apps to organize shifts such as When I Work or 7Shifts to allow for advance notice on the shifts so that their employees can plan the rest of their schedule accordingly.

    4. Paving for Future Endeavours

    Often, hourly workers use the job as a foundation to build towards a future of their dreams. When interviewing candidates, businesses could show these candidates how a job with them can allow them to attain their goals. Even if they don't decide to stay in the same company or industry for long, they will remember the guidance they were given. Offer to send your employees for seminars or courses that will develop their skills that are relevant for the job scope they are working towards.

    5. Seek Feedback

    Finally, seek feedback from your hourly employees. This helps them to not just feel included in a business, but also, these employees can provide insights and ideas that the management may have failed to consider. Hourly employees are often on the front line and experience things that the office doesn't hear about. Having a suggestion box is a good start. Businesses can also consider organizing regular physical meetings with their employees to gather feedback. 

    Keeping the Good Ones

    Because you work hard to source, screen, hire and on-board good employees, you don't want to see them leave quickly. Qualtrics found that the average time hourly employees stays with the business is around two years. To rise above the average, businesses can apply the five steps above and work towards a higher retention rate.

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    Desirene Neo

    Desirene is a marketer and content-writer of Workstream. She has been with the Workstream team for over a year and is based in Singapore.

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