HR Insights

Hiring and Retaining the Best Hourly Employees 

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April 26, 2016

Top-notch hourly workers aren’t a dime a dozen anymore. With the labor market so tight, fewer people are out looking for jobs these days. So what’s an employer to do? We pulled some great tips just for you from a recent post on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) blog.

  1. A little kindness and respect goes a long way. Get to know your hourly workers–their needs, desires, and a little bit about their personal lives. What matters to them? How can you help? Ed Doherty, longtime owner of over 150 successful restaurant franchises, knows firsthand how powerful this can be. He’s been recognized for creating workplace cultures that exude care and dignity to all employees. For example, he once loaned an employee the money she needed to have extensive dental work done. The employee was genuinely moved and surprised by the gesture, eventually paying him back every penny.
  2. Employ managers who care. Hire and train leaders who are willing to invest in the lives of your hourly workers. Teach them how to treat employees with respect and kindness across the board. Make sure they are leading by example.
  3. Invest in culture. Create a desirable workplace by looking for ways to inject fun and corporate pride into work. Lighten things up when you can and provide incentives for top-notch performance. “When you run an organization a certain way, people feel proud to work there. It’s an environment you create that builds on itself,” says Doherty.
  4. Be flexible and fair in scheduling. Last-minute schedule changes or inflexible policies can be a nightmare for hourly workers. Remember, they have lives, too, and are trying to plan ahead when they can. Post schedules as early as possible and avoid changes late in the game. Be fair and flexible when employees face unexpected happenings in their lives such as sickness, personal crises, or even positive opportunities like a chance to further their education or go on a trip.
  5. Don’t skimp on perks. With unemployment as low as it is, now’s not the time to be stingy with benefits, professional development, competitive pay, or other perks. Be creative and come up with ways to make your workers’ jobs more desirable. Ask around or even do a survey–find out what you can do to keep your top employees.

As the SHRM post points out, the best employees are usually the easiest ones to lose. Take the time now–before it’s too late–to evaluate how hourly workers are being treated in your business. Create new policies, culture shifts, and patterns of behavior to nurture and support these employees. Create a working environment they can thrive in.