Having a great company culture is very important, no matter what type of employees you have working for you. It will allow you to improve various aspects of your business and have everyone on board with your next moves. However, when it comes to company culture and incentives that go with it, hourly workers are often overlooked.
A TTC report from 2017 has shown that a lot of hourly workers have a worse perception of company culture at their work in general.
This is somewhat expected, as hourly workers share many things with temporary workers. Good company culture is built through shared identity and community and hourly workers often aren't exposed to this kind of environment.
In case you have a team of both salaried and hourly workers, it is important to try and engage them equally to maximize their contribution and have them working together effectively. In this comprehensive guide, we will talk about all the strategies you can use to achieve this.
Why is company culture so important?
A survey done by Forbes in 2015 has shown that around 50% of employees think that company culture has a strong impact on overall profitability, creativity, and productivity of the whole organization. Additionally, to the majority of workers, the company culture is more important than the wage.
Simply put, people would rather work in an environment where they feel comfortable and welcome, rather than making more money.
The company culture can act as your workforce manager without anyone being aware of it. When a manager leaves the room and leaves employees alone, the one who takes over to control the situation is the company culture.
The company culture fills in all the gaps that you might have in your workforce and allows employees to do their jobs properly.
When employees don't have any manager near them, they will have to make decisions on their own. If you want to ensure that they make the right decisions, then you need to have a strong culture.
On top of that, with clear and transparent company culture, your employees will come up with creative and innovative ideas they know will actually be useful.
Make sure that your culture development involve hourly workers
One of the biggest mistakes that owners and managers alike make is that they zone out their hourly workers. They don't consider them when taking steps to improve the culture, and if the hourly workers are aware of this, it irritates them even further and pushes them away from the organization.
In other cases, they are missing out just because of the organization and work itself. For example, hourly workers often have a different schedule than salary workers and they don't get the same face time as other employees.
If you haven't created a workplace where all the employees have what they need to engage in collaboration or team-building activities when they're not at the workplace, your hourly workers will miss out. At the same time, salaried employees will look at them as uninterested, not invested, and ultimately, less important.
This is why you need to think about your hourly workers and salary workers to find out where their schedules overlap and make an effort to involve both groups in your culture and engage them properly. Even if this requires investing some money, you should still do it.
Engaging hourly workers can be difficult
When trying to engage hourly workers, managers and owners can't easily establish and maintain relationships with them. Hourly workers often have an inconsistent schedule, they move from one work location to another, and work a different number of hours every week.
This is why all the management work related to hourly workers is harder compared to salary employees. It's more difficult to schedule them, have constant communication, and work closely together with them.
With all these things, it's naturally challenging to engage hourly employees with your company's culture.
The crucial thing for engaging employees is "consistency", and with hourly employees, there isn't a lot of it. They always work in different shifts during the week, so their work hours, schedules, and starting hours change. This means that managers can have a tough time communicating with these employees and developing a relationship with them.
However, this is something that needs to be done if you want to have satisfied hourly workers. This is why managers should engage these workers whenever possible and help them feel appreciated.
Why you should build a culture around your hourly workers
Even though there are many challenges around engaging hourly employees and incorporating them into your team, this effort won't be in vain. With a strong company culture and an engaged group of people, workforce management is simple and efficient, which will reflect on your business in many ways.
For example, an employee who is engaged and proud to be a part of a certain organization will never be late to work. At the same time, engaged employees are going to work more productively and won't use every chance they get to slack off or do something else that isn't work related.
When an employee knows that their contribution is appreciated, they will always give their best. Simply put, engaging hourly workers will make them more satisfied with their jobs, increase productivity, improve retention, and promote business growth.
Having a healthy company culture that includes all your employees is the basis for a successful business. When you have a consistent team that works well together and doesn't change often, their positive dynamics will transfer to your entire business. Your hourly workers are just as important as your other employees, so start treating them that way.
Have a purpose with the culture you are trying to create
Before you start working on your company culture, it's important to know where you want to go. Not all companies have the same culture, and there are many reasons why they have to be different.
Different organizations and industries need different things from their employees and this is why the culture needs to be adjusted accordingly.
Of course, some organizations just let the people naturally form their company culture, but this is a big risk you shouldn't be willing to take. With proper management and actions, you can take it in the right direction. It is up to the leaders to guide the narrative, and most employees agree with this as well.
Employees look up to their leaders and they pay attention when they talk. This is why company leaders and managers are the ones through which you will set the foundation for the culture of the whole organization. Make them set an example and show how employees should behave while at work.
Strategies for building a stronger culture for your hourly workers
As we mentioned earlier, hourly workers are very specific, meaning that retaining and engaging them is not the same as with full-time employees. They have a different employees profile, and they approach your organization with a completely different mindset that you need to take into account.
When trying to engage your hourly employees, consider what's important to them and their backgrounds. A lot of them are probably parents or students, and they have a lot of obligations apart from work. Some also have a full-time job and work on an hourly basis to earn more money.
Try to look at things from their perspective and give them something that will make their work at your company more fulfilling and less stressful. Here are some of the strategies you should use:
Allow them to schedule their shifts on their own
One of the best ways to do this is by giving them power over organizing their scheduling process. This shows that you have trust in them and their abilities. It shows them that you don't consider them to be only hourly workers that must do as they are told.
This will allow them to organize properly amongst themselves and work when it suits them. This works both ways, as you will have happier employees coming to work who are more efficient and content with their jobs. Additionally, you will have one less obligation on your plate.
We mentioned earlier that hourly employees are often going to be away when you are making important announcements or discussing important issues.
This is why you need to make sure that you re communicating with them whenever there is something important to be said. Try and keep them in the loop as best as you can.
Bear in mind that the chance of having hourly workers who feel disconnected with the workplace is far greater than with salary employees. Try and get them when they are all together to make an announcement and share important information.
If not, choose a couple of individuals to pass important information to their coworkers.
One of the biggest downsides of being an hourly worker is unpredictability, it just goes with the job. Apart from their shifts changing constantly, their wages also change quite often.
Sometimes they will work the same hours and get paid differently, just because some days were slower. These issues are especially difficult for hourly workers at bars and restaurants, where tips are important.
The nature of their role is simply unpredictable, and no employer can promise to change this. However, you can make an effort to provide at least some level of predictability whenever possible. Try to organize the schedule so that everyone gets an equal amount of busy and slow days.
Provide career development opportunities
Just because hourly workers aren't full-time members of your organization doesn't mean that they should be left out from career development.
This is something that employees love and they want to take jobs or stay at current positions just because they have the option to learn something new and improve their skills.
Talk to your hourly employees and learn what their career goals are, what they would like to learn, and what their ambitions are. Invest in their training and give them the opportunity to prove themselves and maybe even become full-time employees in different positions.
This is how you will promote a culture of trust, and a rightful rewarding system where hard work and investment pays off. Both your hourly workers and your salary employees benefit from this.
Ask for feedback from hourly workers
The backbone of your company culture are your employees. With all the ways of trying to put them all together and get them on the same page, many leaders forget about the simplest strategy – asking for feedback. There is nothing wrong with simply asking your employees about how you can improve your approach.
By showing them that you genuinely care and are interested in their opinions, you will be able to increase transparency. It will also emphasize the importance of honesty and openness in your company culture. Meet with your employees on a semi-regular basis and talk about their ongoing issues and how you can help them.
These are only some of the methods you can use to include your hourly workers in your company culture. You can create additional strategies by keeping in mind all of the important aspects of company culture, your employees, and their mindset.
Make sure that you consider all these things and you will be on the right track when it comes to promoting togetherness and strong values that will push your organization forward.
Workstream (www.workstream.is) is an end to end hiring software built for the hourly workforce, cutting in half the time to hire and on-board workers, via SMS / text communication, automated workflows, online document signing, and more.