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Low unemployment, increasing levels of automation, and the rapid evolution of jobs have made it more difficult to attract, retain, and reward the hourly employees needed to ensure the smooth and continuous flow of your operations. In response to these challenges, you are likely seeking to optimize your current approaches to compensating and rewarding hourly employees.
Let's start with pay. Just like with your salaried employees, hourly employees care a lot about their pay. The ability to get an hourly worker in the door might be impacted by less than $1 per hour. If the business down the street pays $1 per hour more than you do, you might be losing some qualified candidates or even current employees. Getting pay right is fundamental. There is very little you can do to keep any category of employee without paying them what they deserve.
You need to understand your local labor market and have a realistic definition of what skills are needed to perform your jobs. Finding a reliable source of hourly pay data is first and foremost. Now, what do you do if you're confident you've got pay correct but still can't keep or recruit hourly workers?
Let's look at 3 things you can do:
Like pay, if you are just offering what you are required to offer in terms of benefits then it is probably not enough. Look at your local labor laws and the FLSA to make sure you’re doing what’s required. Then go beyond to set yourself apart from others trying to recruit hourly employees.
Consider things like:
There have been plenty of examples of companies stepping up and incentivizing their hourly employees. Look at companies like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. These household names are not only offering traditional benefits that are competitive. They’ve gotten creative and found ways to support their employees with benefits and perks that set them apart. It’s also worth noting that those benefits are easy to find online before a candidate applies. Consider following suit and making it clear what the benefits of working at your organization are on your website, in your offer letters, and in any employee marketing. It’s likely that you will see more people applying when they don’t have to hunt for these added benefits.
Flexibility in the workplace has become increasingly valuable over the past few years. People are more aware than ever of the importance of work-life balance. This goes for the hourly workforce as well. Hourly employment and flexibility have not always been linked together given the nature of the work. However, with proper planning and listening it is possible to give your hourly employees workplace flexibility.
Here are a few ways you can provide flexibility to hourly workers:
All three of the above accommodations allows for your hourly employees to feel some layer of flexibility. By splitting shifts, they can clock in for a few hours while also making it to that important doctor’s appointment. By being able to pick their own shifts they can choose to take their birthday off and celebrate. By easily being able to pick up shifts they can grab a few extra hours on the clock when they need it. Offering flexible start and stop times will support employees managing childcare, eldercare and other family or personal responsibilities.
Let’s say you run a call center that operates with hourly employees. Your shift manager has continuously mentioned that between the hours of 8:00 am-10:00 am they receive triple the call volume and she needs more coverage to handle the influx of calls. Scheduling more hands-on deck during those hours is a great way to support her and ease the team’s stress and frustrations. Ignoring her will most likely result in a high level of frustration and you having an open shift manager position to eventually fill. Providing an easy way for concerns to be voiced is the first step. We have a bunch of tools to help you with receiving feedback, check them out here.
BUT, simply listening to the feedback won’t get you very far. Make sure you have a way to listen AND act on reasonable requests. Open a two-way communication channel to ask more questions and provide feedback of your own. Even if you can’t accommodate all requests, letting employees know you heard it and explaining your current position is equally as important.
Overall, creating a positive work environment for hourly employees is just as important as it is for salaried employees. The competition for hourly employees is high and positively setting yourself apart from others recruiting in the space should be a top priority. Start with getting hourly pay right. Follow up with benchmarking your policies and practices against other organizations and make lasting changes that will help you attract and retain an hourly workforce.