Engaging hourly workers is difficult when compared to salaried employees. Gartner states, “The best workplace is the one that cares for its employees, then positions employee engagement as the catalyst for improving important business outcomes.”
But, why is this so difficult?
It’s hard for hourly employees to build strong relationships with their managers and HR. With continuously rotating shifts often and sometimes, in multiple locations, regular communication becomes a serious challenge.
Low employee engagement causes absenteeism, increases accidents, reduces corporate profitability, degrades customer service, and lowers share prices. And, depending on the position, when an employee does decide to leave, the turnover for these employees could cost an organization much as 200% of an employee’s annual compensation. The need to address engagement and retention is clear and has a detrimental impact on bottom lines.
Through understanding the relationships between engagement, satisfaction, and retention, we are able to offer some simple ways you can tackle one of the biggest challenges facing organizations today.
The Relationship Between Engagement and Retention
In the State of the American Workplace report, Gallup sums up the relationship between engagement and retention as, “Employees who are engaged are more likely to stay with their organization, reducing overall turnover and the costs associated with it.”
So, what are some things you can provide to employees to keep them engaged and retain them? We’ve listed a few ways below:
Providing your hourly employees with a predictable schedule will help deliver the ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance. For hourly workers, not knowing their schedules causes a lot of problems. Mostly because it makes it very difficult for them to schedule events outside of work, which we know leads to low engagement and turnover.
Giving employees work schedules in a timely manner will allow for a better work-life balance. This will then lead to increased sentiment and higher engagement.
A flexible work environment has numerous benefits for engaging employees and lowering turnover rates. It facilitates a better work-life balance for employees, which raises morale and increases satisfaction. The cost of hiring and training new employees is thereby decreased, as is the turnover rate.
Examples of ways managers are creating a flexible workplace include:
- Analyzing the style and preferences of individual subordinates
- Praising the work of a productive employee more frequently because she craves feedback
- Providing time off for parents to attend their children’s school programs
- Rewarding subordinates who make impactful suggestions
It’s also important to know that flexibility is a critical element when it comes to scheduling practices as well. It allows for easy coverage for last-minute changes, and outages – and will increase morale when Employees can have their vacation time approved well in advance.
Many hourly workers look for overtime opportunities at their job, as a means to additional income. The chance to make more income is essential when thinking in terms of engagement and retention. However, it’s vital to ensure overtime is awarded fairly to the people who want it. It’s important to dissect why overtime is needed in the first place. The four main reasons for using overtime:
- 24/7 coverage
- Workload fluctuations
- Staff variations
- Labor market considerations
It’s crucial to record both overall trends and precise overtime hours. Otherwise, you might miss key insights in your data. Just because one week needed additional overtime for a project doesn’t mean all overtime is guaranteed.
Some businesses limit how many hours a worker can work in a week, a month, or a year. Others have policies that make the distribution of overtime more equitable. No matter what strategy you decide, make sure overtime is monitored properly.
According to an article from SHRM, The State of Equity Plan Management 2022 Report, offering employees an equity compensation program has become the second-most popular method among companies with at least 100 employees to reduce turnover and attract new hires, second only to providing higher pay.
Expanding the pool of employees who can advance within a company and contribute to a future with more varied leadership is what equity in the workplace entails. Since investing in employees is necessary to create a fair workplace, equity can also result in higher employee engagement and retention rates.
One way to promote equity in the workplace is consistent scheduling practices. All employees want to be treated fairly and with respect, without visibility into decision makers, it’s easy to fall into picking favorites or the ones that will always say yes to being forced.
There are five main positive outcomes in equitable work environments:
- Equity encourages diverse decision making
- Equity enables workers to learn new skills/reskill
- Equity drives employee engagement
- Equity prevents dissatisfaction and ultimately employee attrition
- Equity equips the entire company to work towards shared goals
The Relationship Between Satisfaction and Engagement
If an employee isn’t engaged at work, they may become complacent and unproductive. Similarly, if a person is dissatisfied at work, even if they enjoy their position, they too may become unproductive and disengaged.
Here are a few ways to increase engagement and satisfaction.
A foolproof way to increase manufacturing productivity and efficiency is through employee training. Employees must develop together with the organization as it grows and expands, which requires suitable training for each task.
When employees are offered limited to no training, they are less confident. This leads to a degradation of not only their work but their satisfaction. The benefits of training employees at a manufacturing facility are vast, some key advantages include:
- Prepare employees for additional responsibilities
- Show you value your employees
- Patch skills weaknesses and gaps
- Increase productivity
- Enhance problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
- Improve safety standards.
Ultimately, employees are human – and a company’s most important asset. Everyone has weaknesses and limitations. It’s human nature. It is in the best interest of the company to prepare employees to the best of their ability. Training is just one way to ensure your employees are prepared.
Younger generations, ages 18-35, who try to picture themselves on their ideal career path, are more than twice as likely to stay at their job for more than a year. Yet only 35% of young people surveyed described their current job in those terms. How can employers close that gap?
- Opportunities for professional growth within the company
- Educational attainment for young people
- Management and leadership training
- Professional certifications and licenses
- Technical skills training
Utilizing all employee recognition to the fullest extent is necessary to create a culture of recognition.
Here’s a quick overview of the four fundamental types of appreciation that your company should include in the employee experience.
- Informal recognition: Every act of appreciation that your company doesn’t preplan. It could be acknowledged during the regular staff meeting, thank you via chat, or given as reward points through your company’s recognition platform.
- Formal recognition: Organizations have long used a variety of methods of appreciation, including formal acknowledgment. This includes everything from anniversary parties to positive performance assessments, to bonuses and increases.
- Social recognition: To enable social recognition at your company, you must give staff members the tools and the incentive to express their gratitude to other team members routinely. Social acknowledgment is as crucial as financial reward.
- Rewards: Employees receive concrete evidence from rewards that your company appreciates them. Traditional incentives like bonuses and raises are included in monetary recognition, but a thorough reward and recognition program needs to go above and beyond to offer individualized benefits.
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About the Author
Claire Pieper is the Marketing Communications Coordinator for Indeavor. She aims to share information to improve the customer journey. To learn more or get in touch, connect with Claire on LinkedIn.