As part of our series on revisiting old blog posts, today we wanted to expand upon a previous posting where we detailed three strategies for reducing turnover among hourly wage workers. In this blog post, we highlighted the need to make their work meaningful so that workers understand how their tasks factor into the broader mission of the company; leveraging strong management to provide the type of leadership and relationships necessary to boost engagement; and rewarding their help with tasks that go beyond their daily duties by providing them with recognition and opportunities for growth.
While these strategies are still certainly valid today, there is still more that you can do to keep your hourly workers from moving on to greener pastures. Below, we outline just a few more key strategies you and your managers can easily implement today.
Do not dodge onboarding:
One of the best ways to keep folks from leaving is to appropriately onboard them. Just like any salaried worker in your company, an hourly worker should still be given the opportunity to learn the basics about your company, including your history, your mission, your culture, and your place in the market. If you work in a niche industry, now is also the time to teach them about exactly what you do and why you do it. As we touched on in the previous blog posting, the on-boarding process should also include information on the new employee’s role within said company so they can best understand how their work plays into the broader goals of the company, which in turn helps to drive productivity and engagement right out of the gate.
Offer opportunities for growth:
If the movies are to be believed, just about anyone can work their way up from the mail room to a corner office with enough grit and determination! While this might not be exactly accurate in today’s corporate world, the reality is that hourly workers are still eligible to climb the ladder and should be provided with opportunities to do so. Starbucks, for example, offers their hourly workers the opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree on the company’s dime, but if that’s not feasible you can still provide your employees opportunities to upskill, such as online courses or even in-house training opportunities. Another popular option to help employees understand how to advance within your company is to offer mentorship programs where you pair employees with higher ups in the company that can provide coaching and guidance on all things corporate.
Cultivate a career path:
In addition to opportunities to expand their skill sets, hourly employees also want to understand what it takes to move up to the next level. As early as the on-boarding time, you should provide information to employees about what career progression looks like in your company. For example, if most folks start by running inventory and stocking the floor at your retail shop, let them know that they could next be trained on how to be a cashier, and then a manager, and then a closer, or whatever the order is. If there are multiple pathways that employees can choose, let them know what those options are and what they should do to progress to the next level. It is also helpful for employees to understand what the time frame for these changes generally looks like and what they can do to expedite the process.
Don’t skip the check ins:
Sure, you have regular meetings with your managers to understand what’s going on with their various teams, but if you’re skipping check ins with your hourly workers, you may be missing out on some valuable insight. Not only can your hourly workers serve as your ear to the ground, but your being interested in their feedback and experiences can help to significantly drive engagement. Further, these employees crave feedback and praise, especially if they plan on sticking with the company, so your insight can prove both helpful and motivating to them as they seek to better understand where they stand within the company.
Some hourly workers are on a rotating schedule, some on a fixed schedule. What most of these jobs have in common is that hourly workers typically don’t have much say over when they have to work. However, a survey by ShiftWorks suggests that 59 percent of hourly workers said that not having some degree of a say in their schedule makes them want to leave their job, and just a hair under half said they’d actually take a pay cut if it meant having more control over their schedule. While it takes more planning on your part, offering employees the opportunity to determine their own schedules, within reason, can do wonders for boosting both morale and engagement.
Promote your perks:
While an hourly worker may not accrue enough hours to be eligible for full benefits under your company, it creates a more welcoming environment if they are invited to participate in some of the fringe benefits. If, for example, your company scores discounted tickets to various entertainment and recreation locales, provided it doesn’t represent a huge burden to your company, perhaps you could consider extending it for your hourly workers and their families to also enjoy. Similarly, hourly workers should be invited to any work appreciation events, such as luncheons or even a simple bagel Friday, and any other opportunities that might facilitate their ability to bond with employees from elsewhere in the company.
Know your 90-day window:
According to multiple studies, employees are most likely to leave their job within their first 90 days of hiring and up to 20 percent may make a break in the first 45 days! In general, employees say they leave because the job was not what the expected or was misrepresented to them, they do not possess the skills or aptitude for the job, they aren’t a good cultural fit for the company, or they do not feel supported by their manager. While this sure feels like a long list, most of these grievances tied to jumping ship can be avoided by making sure that your interview and onboarding process is top-notch. While it isn’t always feasible to give hourly workers a 90-day orientation to their job, it would go a long way if you checked in with them at several points in those first three months to gauge how they are acclimating to their role and the company in general and what they may need from you in order to feel more successful.