Engaging hourly workers is harder than engaging salaried ones mainly because the nature of their employment makes it more difficult to create strong relationships with them. They constantly work rotating shifts and it's very common that they work at more than one location, so their managers and other HR professionals cannot always communicate with them on a regular basis.
However, motivating and engaging them increases their job satisfaction, which is precisely why you should put in some effort to boost their engagement. When they're more satisfied with their job, they will become more productive and motivated to go above and beyond their assigned tasks to truly contribute to your company.
All of this leads to higher retention and increased ROI, but what can you do to achieve that? How can you effectively reduce your turnover rate and create a strong team of engaged hourly workers? Here are some of the most important steps you should start with.
Increase Employee Recognition
A lot of hourly workers are not satisfied with their job because they don't feel supported and recognized in their workplace. According to the Randstad Employee Brand Research (REBR) 2018, 27% of employees say that a lack of recognition is what drives them away from an employer.
A great number of HR leaders is increasingly realizing that, which is why many of them are introducing employee recognition programs into their organizations. According to the 2018 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Report, 84% of HR leaders say that their employee recognition program helps with employee engagement, while 89% of HR executives feel that their program improves the employee experience.
If you don't start an employee recognition program, you should at least train your managers to support your hourly workers by treating them fairly and providing them with constructive and actionable feedback. They should listen to them and make their feel valued, always acknowledging their every effort. That kind of respect and recognition will lead to much better job satisfaction and engagement.
Improve Your Scheduling Process
One of the most important factors for engaging hourly workers is their work schedule. Hourly workers need flexibility, but they often don't really get it. Your workers want to know when exactly they are going to work in advance, that is, all the days and times they will need to show up for work.
This is not a common practice among a great number of employers, and lots of them tend to phone their hourly workers outside work hours and ask them to switch their shifts and promptly come to work. Needless to say, this is not at all engaging. It's actually very infuriating and it can drive away even the most loyal employees.
Your hourly workers have their lives and responsibilities outside the job, so don't strip them of their free time. Instead of compromising their work-life balance, help them maintain it and let them know about their upcoming shifts in advance.
Offer Opportunities for Professional Development
Professional development is a factor that a huge number of employees are looking for when searching for a job. They want their job to be a stepping stone in their career. They don't want to stay at square one for years, not growing professionally and moving towards meaningful job opportunities.
According to a new study conducted by Bridge, 86% of millennials say that offering career training and development would keep them from leaving their current job position.
Therefore, don't let your hourly workers see their job as a temporary solution before they move to where they actually want to be. Show them that there are plenty of future growth opportunities at your workplace and help them build strong careers. Provide training courses and career mentorships, and help them learn and grow professionally every step of the way.
Introduce Healthy Competition
While there are hourly workers who simply want to eventually switch to a place where they would start receiving a fixed salary, there are always those who don't think about leaving their current job to build a career.
So, besides offering career development opportunities and improving employee recognition and scheduling, you should introduce some friendly competition into your workplace. According to a research conducted by Anthony Nyberg, a research director at the Center for Executive Succession, pay-for-performance bonuses can greatly boost employee engagement and performance and even generate a 213% ROI.
Therefore, motivate your hourly workers with regular bonuses based on their performance, instead of giving them an annual raise, for instance. Bonuses will make them want to work harder and they'll quickly become happier with their job, which leads to higher engagement and retention.
Make Your Workplace More Enjoyable
It's very common that many hourly workers prefer a job where they don't make a lot of money but where they feel great to a job that pays very well but that doesn't really fulfill them. This is why you should turn your workplace into a fun and enjoyable place that every employee will love.
Provide them with an awesome break room with snacks and lots of entertainment options, where they can have fun and recharge their batteries. Brighten the workplace, continually provide exciting team-building activities, and introduce anything else that will bring all the workers and managers closer together and make them genuinely look forward to coming to work.
All of this will significantly increase engagement, motivation, and retention, and it will bridge gaps in communication, helping all employees create meaningful relationships with one another. They will eventually become a strong team that will work closely together towards achieving your goals and objectives.
As you can certainly see, engaging hourly workers doesn't seem so impossible now, does it? It can be a challenging task, but all the effort really does pay off in the long run. So, follow all of these steps, but don't stop there. Be sure to explore some other ideas as well, because there's always room for improvement and there's a whole world of new opportunities for boosting engagement and retaining your hourly workers.
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