Setting workers up for success should be at the forefront of every leader’s mind, but many workers feel their company doesn’t know what they want or need in order to succeed—and we’re not talking about success on the job (more on that later). As the hiring of hourly workers increases for the holidays, let’s take another look at what these workers want from their employers.
Branch, a mobile app that gives people an instant paycheck advance, recently released the new Branch Report, which offers a look at the financial, work, and lifestyle interests of today’s hourly workers. The goal of this report is to help shed light on the deskless workforce and expand your understanding of today’s hourly worker.
Challenges Hourly Workers Face
According to the report, “One of the biggest challenges for hourly workers is the volatility of their schedules.” Nearly 80% of hourly employees say that their schedules always being different is impacting their paycheck from week to week.
According to the Bluecrew 2019 Holiday Hiring Report, conducted jointly by Bluecrew and Toluna, hourly workers are prioritizing flexibility over jobs with the highest pay when applying for hourly work—in fact, highest pay ranks among the least popular criteria for jobseekers this holiday season. Following access to a flexible schedule they control, seasonal workers cited “as many hours as possible” and “a good company and/or great atmosphere” as other top criteria.
Although Bluecrew’s respondents rank “high pay” lower than flexible schedules, the Branch report shows the opposite. A little over 63% of Branch respondents would prefer more pay, while 57% would like a more predictable schedule. One thing these two reports have in common is that hourly workers want to work more hours!
Over 40% of Branch respondents said they’d like to work more hours, while roughly 8% said they would prefer to work fewer hours. The Bluecrew report also shows that 55% of respondents would like to work 26 hours or more per week, but a majority (63%) expect to be given 25 hours or fewer per week by their employers.
How many hours are hourly workers working? Almost 47% of Branch respondents are working 40 hours or more a week, and just 36% are working between 21 and 39 hours a week. Almost 12% are working between 11 and 20 hours, roughly 4% are working 6 to 10 hours, and a little over 1% are working 1 to 5 hours per week.
Because hourly workers do not have a stable schedule, it makes sense that they would want to work more hours. These scheduling issues are also directly impacting hourly workers’ wallets. The Branch report finds that over 58% of respondents cite difficulty in affording basic living costs like mortgage payments or rent. The Branch report also shows that respondents struggle to pay utility bills (47%), buy groceries (42%), and pay for medical/health care (32%).
To understand more about hourly workers’ compensation, we turn back to the Bluecrew report. Bluecrew finds that just 32% of respondents expect their hourly rate to be $13.26 or higher, which is nearly double the federal minimum wage. Bluecrew also reports that to help supplement their pay, 58% of hourly, holiday workers are taking on a holiday job to earn extra money.
While some Bluecrew respondents say they may not want higher pay, the Branch report clearly indicates that the lack of money is a problem for some. How can employers help their hourly workers?
2 Ways Employers Can Help
“As the competition for quality workers continues to increase, employers that want to attract the best and brightest need to understand how the employment landscape is changing and what workers are really looking for,” says Adam Roston, Bluecrew CEO—in a press release. “The Bluecrew 2019 Holiday Hiring Report reveals that above all else, holiday workers want the flexibility to work when they want and as much as they can.”
Implement predictive schedules. While some major cities like San Francisco, California, and Seattle, Washington, have laws in place that require employers to implement stable schedules, it’s not the norm for all employers across the country. The first predictive scheduling ordinance was passed in San Francisco in 2014, and since then, other localities have taken notice. Seattle recently enacted a similar secure scheduling ordinance, effective in July 2017.
Predictive scheduling laws generally require a minimum amount of notice to be provided for an employee’s scheduled shift or if changes are made to an employee’s scheduled shift. Predictability pay may be required if shift reductions or changes are made after the initial notice is provided or if on-call employees are not ultimately called in to work.
Predictive scheduling makes life much easier for employees by allowing them to maintain a steady flow of income, schedule transportation to and from the workplace without continual last-minute changes, find time for a second job if additional income is needed, organize child care, and even commit to attending educational classes off hours in order to further their education.
California is known for setting employment law trends, so it would be wise to adopt a “predictive schedule” in case it becomes law in your region. As mentioned above, adopting this practice would help make your hourly workers a little less stressed and income-strapped.
Offer on-demand compensation. Another way you can help your hourly workers is by offering on-demand pay. On-demand pay is exactly what it sounds like—a way for employers to allow employees to access their pay on demand instead of waiting for the standard payday. On-demand pay is often implemented through a third-party app, coordinated by a payroll provider, to give employees early access to wages earned.
On-demand pay primarily reduces employees’ waiting time. Not having to wait for payday helps employees better manage their finances and provides for less financial stress over the timing of bills and payments. This is especially relevant for the millions of people living paycheck to paycheck.
Having quick access to pay before a standard payday can enable employees to manage an unexpected emergency, which reduces stress and anxiety for those in these situations. Overall, it can also reduce financial problems that result from inflexibility in pay dates.
It may seem like predictive schedules and on-demand pay benefit only the workers themselves, but numerous studies have shown that when employees are constantly stressed about their home lives and bills, their productivity decreases, which ultimately costs your company’s bottom line. Setting your workers up for success doesn’t necessarily mean providing the latest technology to get the job done; it means setting them up with a better home life so they can come to your workplace and do their best. Not only will these two benefits help retain your hourly workers, but they’ll also attract new workers, which is a double win in our book!