Employment numbers have been volatile over the past several years. While the pandemic shook up the employment picture, it appears that, for now, the unemployment rate has stabilized and is at the lowest rate the country has seen in years. However, employers with an hourly workforce, particularly in industries like health care, transportation, and food, are still experiencing major labor shortages.
High turnover of hourly workers has been attributed to many factors, including pay rates, rigid scheduling demands, and poor company benefits. But successful employers can embrace this time as an opportunity to test new tactics to better support employees and limit company turnover.
Be Upfront with Compensation
Ensure your wages and benefits are competitive for your industry, and be transparent about them from the start. List the starting wage in all recruiting pieces and job ads. Hiding that information until someone asks for it during an interview only wastes candidates’ and hiring managers’ time. Stating the salary information up front allows potential applicants to self-select out if the wage or other benefits aren’t going to work for them. Then you’re able to move forward with only informed and interested applicants.
Training and Learning
Potential employees, particularly those from younger generations, frequently list training and career development opportunities as part of their desired job benefits. Learning and development opportunities can help with not only recruitment but also employee retention. According to a McKinsey survey, more than 70% of frontline workers feel job growth and learning opportunities are important for career advancement. Every employee should have the opportunity to learn something new, have on-the-job training or technical skill learning/refresher courses, participate in team meetings, and teach or train fellow team members.
Organizations that want to take it to the next level can offer tuition assistance and encourage employees to always be learning as they desire.
On-Demand Pay Options
Nearly three-quarters of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, according to the American Payroll Association. This particularly affects hourly employees, as they’re more likely to be in need of money before payday.
Offering on-demand pay, also known as earned wage access, helps attract employees and demonstrates that your company cares about the financial health and well-being of its workers. Plus, there is increasing demand for this option; 21% of Americans would prefer to access their wages as they earn them instead of waiting until payday.
Positive Company Culture
When leadership genuinely listens to workers and acts to implement their suggestions, it goes a long way toward contributing to a positive company culture. Great internal culture is far more than just offering an employee Ping-Pong table or casual Fridays. In fact, that’s not appropriate for every workplace—your hourly employees may be required to wear uniforms, for example.
Check in regularly with employees to determine what motivates them, what benefits would be most helpful for them, and what suggestions they have for improving or adding to company culture.
Many employees, particularly those in younger generations, report they prefer to work with companies that focus on social responsibility. Most people like to know they’re working with a company that stands for something bigger than the job itself. So, when the company gives back to the community or helps on a local, a national, or an international scale, be sure to involve employees and communicate to them that those actions are part of the company culture.
A positive company culture also includes prioritizing work/life balance. Your employees’ performance directly impacts the success of the business, so employee burnout doesn’t benefit anyone. Employers that ask workers to do more than they’re physically able to or expect them to sacrifice a great deal just to stay employed aren’t generally very successful at retaining employees.
Avoid scheduling long shifts or back-to-back shifts or asking people to regularly work overtime, and be flexible in granting time off. For business owners and leaders, the business can often feel like your life. But the people working for the business have their own lives outside of work, as well. That should be respected.
In a tight labor market, recruiting gimmicks are everywhere. Plaques and gift cards are fleeting and aren’t much of an incentive, but evolving your shift-based company culture to be an employee-first environment is a winning long-term strategy.
Asking employees what they need, listening to what they say and truly incorporating their suggestions, regularly recognizing excellence at work, and being flexible are the hallmarks of an employee-first workplace.
One of the top most requested items, particularly for hourly workers, is flexible scheduling options. In a recent Snagajob hiring report, 66% of hourly workers reported looking for flexible hours when applying for jobs. People want more control over when they work. Flexible schedules (also known as self-scheduling) allow leaders to determine what the schedule requires based on a number of factors, like customer demand, job tasks, and more. From there, instead of getting shifts assigned, employees can choose the shifts that work for them and even trade shifts with colleagues.
Flexible scheduling increases productivity and decreases issues with no-shows because employees choose their own schedules. Employees are also healthier and more economically stable with predictable hours.
Show up for your employees, and they’ll show up for you. It’s a simple concept missed by too many companies, but it matters now more than ever. The best way to decrease the amount spent on hiring is to retain your current employees. And the best way to reduce recruiting costs is to have an employee-focused company everyone wants to work for.
Chad Halvorson is the Founder and CEO of When I Work, a complete employee management platform used by over 200,000 workplaces that ensures shift-based workplaces have reliable shift coverage and engaged employees and can make quicker decisions through integrated scheduling, time tracking, and team messaging.