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Episode 11:

How to Build a Strong Culture Among Hourly Workers

Having a great company culture—shared attitudes and behaviors—is very important. It allows you to improve various aspects of your business and align your team to your next moves. Unfortunately, hourly workers are often overlooked when it comes to company culture. As a result, most of them feel disconnected from their employers and underappreciated for their hard work.

So, how do you build a strong culture among hourly workers to ensure that they feel a sense of belonging as much as your salaried employees do? Start by identifying who they are and what’s important to them. Many of them are probably parents or students and have a lot of obligations outside of work. Some may have another part- or full-time job to make ends meet. Look at things from their perspective and implement practices that meet their very real needs. Here are several strategies you should consider adopting:

1. Giving Them Autonomy to Schedule Their Shifts

One of the best ways to do this is by giving your employees the power to schedule their shifts. This shows that you trust them and their abilities (and that you don't consider them to be just hourly workers who must do as they’re told) and gives them the flexibility to balance their hectic schedules. By doing this, you’re also likely to gain happier employees who are more efficient and content with their jobs. (And, bonus, you’ll have one less obligation on your plate.)

2. Communicate Frequently

Because of the nature of hourly worker shifts, not all employees will be present when you make announcements or discuss important issues. So, you need to make sure that you’re communicating with them whenever there is something important to be said. Keep them in the loop to the best of your abilities.

Do your best to gather the entire team before making an announcement or when sharing important information. When that’s not possible, consider asynchronous communication like text messaging or email. At Workstream, we offer automated SMS services that allow you to send training videos to your new hires and existing employees. Automated reminders are also provided to ensure the completion of the tasks. 

3. Provide Predictability

One of the biggest downsides of being an hourly worker is unpredictability. Apart from their shifts changing constantly, their wages are also inconsistent. Sometimes they will work the same hours and get paid differently, just because some days were slower. These issues are especially difficult for hourly workers at bars and restaurants, where tips make up a large portion of their pay.

The nature of their role is simply unpredictable, and no employer can promise to change this. However, you can make an effort to provide at least some level of predictability whenever possible. Add some structure to your scheduling process so that everyone gets an equal opportunity to sign up for busy and slow days.

4. Offer Career Development Opportunities

Hourly workers shouldn’t be excluded from career development. Most workers say that a lack of opportunity for career progression has resulted in them leaving their job. They choose to take or keep jobs that offer them an opportunity to learn something new and improve their skills.

Talk to your hourly employees and learn more about their ambitions, interests and career goals. Consider investing in their training and give them the chance to prove themselves. If the circumstances fit, they may even become full-time employees in different positions. Doing this promotes a culture of trust and a rightful rewarding system where hard work and investment pay off. 

5. Collect Feedback

The backbone of your company culture is your employees. With numerous ways available to come up with an optimal culture, many leaders forget about the simplest strategy: asking for feedback. There is nothing wrong with simply asking your employees about how you can improve your approach.

By showing them that you genuinely care and are interested in their opinions, you’ll be able to increase transparency. It will also emphasize the importance of honesty and openness in your company culture. Meet with your employees on a semi-regular basis and talk about their ongoing issues and how you can help them make their experience in your company better.


Prioritizing your company culture—especially being mindful of your hourly workers—will set you apart from other companies. Hourly employees want to know that they’re part of a company that sees their needs and values their contributions. While implementing one, or all five, of these strategies will help your employees feel a sense of belonging, they are not “one and done” approaches. Regularly take inventory of who your employees are and adjust your company’s attitudes and behaviors to meet their evolving needs.

Interested in knowing more about the latest trends in the industry? Subscribe to our blog for regular updates!

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Zakiyah Hanani

Zakiyah is a freelance content writer. She’s a lifelong learner, looking for opportunities to expand her horizons whenever she can. She loves traveling, playing volleyball and reading up on general developments in the industry.

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