25 Strategies for Keeping Hourly Workers Engaged
Businesses in most industries from retail to restaurants rely on hourly workers. Most hourly workers have temporary contracts or work on a part-time basis. As a result, some businesses struggle with keeping hourly workers engaged. It’s important to prioritize the engagement of hourly workers because they have a big impact on the customer experience, which has a direct effect on your profits.
Many businesses also struggle with creating schedules for their hourly employees as well, ensuring their employees receive their schedules in a reasonable time span versus at the very last minute. With a workforce management platform like Deputy, your managers are able to create schedules in half the time as well as allowing you to send employee schedules right when you’re done creating them. To see the platform in action for yourself, click on the button below to begin your very own free trial and to see why it’s the highest rated workforce management platform by G2 Crowd.
That said, the following 25 strategies will help you keep your hourly workers engaged in your business.
1. Create a workplace culture of trust and respect
Your leadership style should include being honest with your hourly workers when you make a mistake that affects the company. This can reduce employees’ stress as they believe that management is aware of issues and are trying their best to come up with solutions. Additionally, if you need to make a last-minute change, such as scheduling, it’s important to inform your workers as soon as possible by using the most convenient form of communication.
2. Show your hourly workers their importance in meeting your objectives
One great way to do this is actively involving all your hourly workers in big company announcements. These announcements may include the following:
- Updates on the company’s progress.
- Plans for the future.
- Explaining to your employees how their work affects the company’s bottom line.
3. Provide more certainty
Hourly workers normally complain that the unpredictability in their work schedules leads to difficulties in work-life balance. Some hourly workers are required to be on hand at a moment’s notice, which allows them little time to plan their private lives. This unpredictability also affects the amount of pay an hourly worker takes home.
Some states have tried to address this uncertainty in relation to hourly workers by introducing predictive scheduling legislation. Even if your business is not affected by predictive scheduling laws, you should try to give your hourly workers as much certainty as possible.
Consistent scheduling in peak and quiet times will help you allocate shifts on a more predictable basis. Deputy’s auto-scheduling feature helps you to accurately predict how many hourly workers will be needed at different periods.
4. Lead by example
Your hourly workers will follow the example set by management. You need to show dedication and commitment to your customers and your business in order to motivate your employees to take the same approach.
5. Be transparent
Be open with your employees regarding workplace issues.
Developing a workplace culture of openness with your hourly workers has several advantages, which include:
- Developing a close-knit team.
- Building a stronger brand because your business will gain a good reputation for treating hourly workers with respect.
6. Establish a rewards program
Encourage management to involve your hourly employees in an incentive program where your staff work together to recognize the most outstanding employees. This can have several benefits for your hourly workers, which include:
- Encouraging strong relationships among workers.
- Fostering good-natured competition.
- Promoting peer and management recognition.
7. Say thank you
Employee evaluation time should not be the only opportunity to let your employees know how valuable their work is to you. You should consider implementing employee appreciation ideas for both your full-time and hourly workers.
According to a Gallup poll, praise and recognition are powerful elements for nurturing positive feelings among your employees.
The Gallup poll found the following benefits for employee engagement:
- Higher customer satisfaction.
- Increased productivity.
- Higher retention rates.
- Happier hourly workers.
8. Demonstrate fairness
To comply with labor laws, you must treat all of your employees fairly and implement policies that detail how you will deal with allegations of unfairness, abuse, and discrimination. You should train your managers on how to deal with discriminatory behavior to encourage a fair work environment.
9. Create an inclusive work environment
A study by the Pew Research Centre has found the workplace is becoming more diverse and the millennial generation is the most culturally diverse of any generation. As well as complying with anti-discriminatory laws and regulations, you should encourage a workplace culture that values respect amongst all your workers, whether they are full-time, hourly or independent contractors.
10. Build smaller teams
According to research, the ideal team size for productivity, which could impact engagement is 4.6. Even if your hourly workforce is significantly larger than the number suggested, you can split them into smaller teams based on scheduled shifts or the tasks they perform.
11. Involve your employees in brainstorming and decision-making
Many times managers are hesitant to involve their hourly workers in making business decisions or suggesting ideas for building the business. However, your hourly workers are at the front and center of your business on a daily basis. They are close to the customer experience regarding different company practices. Therefore, they can offer practical and unbiased opinions regarding ways to grow your business.
12. Think about offering more hours to current employees
There could be hourly workers who need more shifts. So, if your business is growing, you should hold off on hiring more workers immediately. Instead, meet with your employees to find out whether any of them could use more work. Some employees may take this opportunity to move from part-time to full-time work.
13. Provide one-on-one mentoring
When you have an hourly worker in the training process, pair him or her up with a more experienced and trusted employee to show them how things are done. This gives the hourly worker hands-on experience in relation to how the work is actually carried out.
14. Keep the lines of communication open
Part-time employees may often feel disconnected from the workplace because they are not present as often as full-time workers. You should use a communication portal that makes it easy to keep in touch with one or all of your staff.
Deputy’s newsfeed feature removes the need for emails and SMS messages as all messages are sent and received through one convenient portal. Using the newsfeed makes collaboration with your hourly workers easy and seamless.
15. Keep your payroll accurate
If you consistently pay your hourly workers late or less than they have earned, they will leave your business. If your attention is drawn to an inadvertent error you made, resolve the situation as quickly as possible. To prevent payroll mistakes, your scheduling system should integrate with your payroll software.
16. Offer leadership positions
An assumption can be made that hourly workers are not interested in leadership positions because they have other commitments. However, this may not be the case. Therefore, it’s important to offer all of your employees’ career development opportunities. You can do this by investing in programs that help your employees develop additional skills.
17. Provide the right equipment
You need to provide your hourly workers with the right tools to do their work. Workers who struggle to do their best work with insufficient tools and equipment will be less engaged. If you have outdated equipment, include upgrades in your budget for the next year. Poor equipment can cause frustration, which will lead to a lack of engagement.
18. Include your hourly employees in employee resource groups and councils
If your company is large enough to use employee councils or resource groups, include your hourly workers. This participation can encourage employee engagement by providing hourly workers with opportunities to gain experience in leadership, presentation and other skills that may lead to promotions.
19. Display loyalty
If your company is struggling financially, and it looks like you may have to lay off hourly workers, consider all other alternatives before taking that step. Review your financial position to see if there is anything else that can be reduced before releasing employees. If you let your hourly workers know that you are doing your best to avoid layoffs, they will see that you care about them and are doing everything in your power to keep them in employment.
20. Be mindful of your employees’ needs
It is important to understand that some of your employees may have special needs. So be approachable when employees have special requests regarding scheduling or time off for personal issues. Your willingness to work with them when these situations come up could be beneficial in the future in terms of employee loyalty and productivity.
21. Learn about your hourly worker’s interests
Most people have a hobby outside of work. Find out what your employees love to do when they are off work. Getting to know your employees at this level will help with engaging hourly workers by letting them know you care about them as individuals.
22. Offer hourly workers creative benefits
Some business owners want to offer their hourly workers benefits beyond their basic wages. However, they want to offer them something of value that will increase loyalty, without breaking the bank.
Here are a few benefit ideas for engaging hourly workers:
- Offer Paid Time Off on a more limited basis than your full-time employees (i.e. fewer hours off per pay period).
- Do you have a Direct Primary Care (DPC) healthcare practice in your area? These DPC practices offer a wide range of routine health care services for a very low cost every month – usually from $50-$75 per month.
- Offer group insurance discount rates for different needs, such as car or renter’s insurance.
23. Create a fun atmosphere
It is likely that your hourly workers would rather work in a job they enjoy, for less money, than make more money in a job they dislike.
Here are a few ways to make your workplace appealing to hourly workers:
- Provide a comfortable break room with free snacks and drinks.
- Celebrate your employees’ birthdays and have mini birthday parties.
- Organize get-togethers outside of work.
24. Demonstrate that you care about your employees’ health
You may have a very small business that cannot offer standard health benefits to your hourly workers, especially your part-timers. However, there are ways to encourage your employees to develop healthy habits that lead to wellness.
Here are some strategies to build employee engagement and productivity:
- Do not limit vending machines to junk food, but provide healthy food choices.
- Organize a walkathon or half marathon event outside of the workplace and involve the community.
- If you have a spare room at your workplace, provide a few basic fitness machines such as a treadmill or exercise bike.
25. Encourage a work-life balance
It’s often a challenge for employees to achieve the right balance between work and their personal life. It may be a good idea to conduct a meeting with your employees to receive suggestions regarding how your company can help them enjoy their personal lives as well as their work lives.
Pay is a key motivating factor for most employees and hourly workers are no exception. Working shifts that are subject to change can result in hourly workers being paid incorrectly.
Use Deputy to make sure your hourly workers get paid accurately for the shifts they work. Click the button below to start our free trial to find out why companies like Nike trust Deputy to handle their scheduling needs.
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