How to retain good hourly workers in a job seekers market (hint: it’s not all about pay)

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Devin Miller
September 28, 2021

In a job market that favors employees, it takes more than competitive pay to attract and retain good hourly workers.

Employees have the upper hand in today’s job market.The demand to fill open positions exceeds supply, and employers must sweeten the deal to attract the workers they want. Many are looking for jobs that not only offer a competitive wage, but are able to provide extras like a flexible schedule, access to financial benefits, and improved workplace culture.

Retaining great team members is not just about pay 

A competitive hourly rate is a given – all things being equal, no one’s going to take a job that pays less than others. 

So, what else are people looking for in a job? What makes them stay once they sign on? You need to give employees working conditions, culture, and benefits that meet or exceed their needs.

How to retain hourly employees outside of pay:

  1. Offer a stable, flexible work schedule 
  2. Add benefits that improve employee’s day-to-day lives
  3. Change the way you connect with and engage your team 
  4. Provide continued training and discuss career progression 
  5. Build an organization with an employee-centric culture

Offer a stable, flexible work schedule

When people were asked why they stayed at their jobs, the most common answer was “I liked my work schedule.” Scheduling is important, both in terms of stability and flexibility. People want to know when they’ll be working, and they want to be able to switch shifts if something comes up. This flexibility isn’t just about convenience – no one wants to use a sick day or leave time just to go to the dentist or drive a parent to an appointment.

For shift workers, efficiently communicating schedule adjustments to their managers is key. Managers need to know when team members are going to be late or need to leave early. Calling or texting a manager directly, or using a call out hotline, is frustrating and inefficient for everyone. Instead, look to technical solutions that streamline and simplify the process for employees, managers, and HR, like TeamSense’s absence management solution.

Add benefits that improve people's day-to-day lives

Ask what your company can do to make your employees' lives easier, to reduce their stress, to improve their happiness. And then find benefits to do just that. 

Daycare takes a sizable bite out of an hourly workers’ paycheck, so some companies are offering childcare benefits, such as on-site daycare, and daycare subsidies. Reliable transportation is another common pain point for workers, making transportation assistance a popular benefit. 

Emergency financial assistance is another benefit to consider because even with a good hourly wage, unexpected bills can create debilitating stress for your workers. With emergency savings programs, like SecureSave, you can help non-exempt employees prepare for unanticipated events, and if you match funds, you’ll help them save more quickly and be better prepared for the unexpected.

Change the way you connect with and engage your team

Show continuous improvement in the way you connect with and engage your team. Show your team that you care about them and that they are more important than what they deliver on a day to day basis.

Consider how you could engage your hourly team differently than you do your office workers. Are you communicating with these employees in a way they prefer? Are you taking their needs into consideration when you are selecting solutions that work for them?

Your hourly employees aren’t used to using desktop portals to access employee information, or an email for employee communication, and English may not be their first language. 

The technology that you implement needs to be user-friendly, available in multiple languages, and with no barriers to adoption for your team. 

Many organizations are opting for mobile tools that don’t require employees to download an app or remember a password. Some organizations are even opting for text-based digital tools where they can share company news, celebrate team wins, manage attendance, and get employee feedback all through text.

Provide continued training and discuss career progression

Offering tuition and training is another way of showing employees how the company values them. These are benefits that pay off in the long term – you’re investing in their future and showing them that they have some security and stability on the job.

Regularly share job openings with your team. Link the training opportunities directly upward mobility in the company and career progression. Your new managers are likely to come from your pool of existing talent. Help show them the path and build the future of your organization with the base you already have today, 

Build an organization with an employee-centric culture

Consider how else you can improve processes and workflows that work for everyone.

Can processes be simplified to make things easier for your team? Can you improve the onboarding or training process? Can you send out communications in your team’s preferred languages? Can you make information more easily accessible with tools like ESS portals? 

Allow your team to share feedback and suggestions. Give everyone a chance to have their voice heard regarding employee policies and procedures. 

When you build an organization with an employee-centric culture, you don’t have to figure out how to improve employee retention because you won’t have a retention problem in the first place.

Give your team the pay, the benefits, and the support they deserve

Offering a competitive wage may drive initial hiring efforts, but data shows that money is not what is keeping employees around.

Your hourly employees want (and deserve) access to the benefits that support their physical and emotional well being. Their jobs are strenuous and they deserve to be protected and supported so they can feel good about going into work. They deserve access to continued education and training, and the opportunity to progress in their career, with the right tools that work for them.

Building an employee-centric workplace culture will not only help you attract and retain talent right now, but it will also help you build a sustainable organization for the future.

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Devin Miller

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