Business owners and hiring managers understand the numerous challenges in hiring qualified hourly employees for their businesses. The process is already time-consuming enough without the added burden of unanswered, costly advertisements, higher turnover due to mis-hires, and possible liabilities because of improper interviews and selection processes. What you and others responsible for hiring hourly employees need is a simple-to-use guide that will walk you through the steps of finding, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding your hourly employees.
In The Smart Way to Hire Hourly Employees, you will learn where to look for qualified employees as well as how to lure these candidates to your door. This guide will provide you with six steps for hiring hourly employees quickly, for when you experience a boost in business or an exit of more than a few employees. You will also discover various tips and tricks for interviewing the right way to avoid the pitfalls that get many employers in trouble and how to construct a job description that clearly explains all that is expected of the new hire that avoids confusion down the road.
This guide will also uncover streamlined processes for onboarding, (another term for employee orientation), that opens channels for greater success for both the employee and your business. In a nutshell, this is the only guide you will ever need that covers all bases of hiring hourly employees from the introduction of the candidate to the job offer, and all the way through the indoctrination of the company's policies, procedures, and culture.
The Smart Way to Hire Hourly Employees includes the following:
- Identifying Hourly Employees
- Finding Hourly Employees
- Interviewing Candidates
- Onboarding Hourly Employees
Every section provides detailed information about what should be done and how to do it, along with explanations about why you are doing it a particular way. The sole purpose of this Guide is to show you, not only how to hire quality hourly employees, but also the correct way of doing so to keep you and your business safe, productive, and successful.
Identifying Hourly Employees
1. Know Your CAPS
This section will unravel the mystery of finding the employee that fits well into your organization. You've probably heard some business leaders state that as long as that person can fog up a mirror, they'll take them. But that strategy never works even for the most menial of job tasks. Quality candidates is what we're shooting for here. People with at least some basic skills and knowledge who can be trusted to work with integrity, seeking direction at appropriate times.
Our job as business leaders, hiring managers and HR supervisors is to first establish what the person we need actually looks like. We need to determine, at the bare minimum, this candidate's required CAPS, or:
- Capacities — the physical and mental requirements to do the job
- Attitudes — customer service skills, dependability, etc.
- Personality — the traits needed such as temperament and assertiveness
- Skills — what is required to perform well on the job
To acquire this information won't take long. In fact, you probably already know the answers. Simply look at what is currently required for the job positions you now have. What does it take to do those jobs? What are the capabilities they would need to perform the job successfully? What skills? And what kind of attitude or personality would they need to possess?
2. Design a Job Description
After you've identified the type of employee you need for your business, it is time to construct a good job description. And don't worry about this taking up a considerable amount of your time. Since you already know what is required to successfully perform at a particular job, creating a quality, workable job description shouldn't take more than 20 to 30 minutes. The job description is one of your best communication tools. Having them in place helps keep employees in their lanes of operation and avoids confusion through the entire hiring process.
The job description is a useful, plain-language tool that explains the tasks, duties, function and responsibilities of a position. Job descriptions should communicate five things:
- Let the job candidate know what you are looking for
- Explain how the employee's job fits into the company's Vision, Mission and Purpose statements
- Set clear expectations for the employee
- Help you cover all of your legal basis, e.g. physical requirements and how those impact the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Provides the foundation for performance reviews and compensation decisions
According to a Society for Human Resources (SHRM) article, although the structure of the job description may vary from company to company, all the job descriptions should be standardized so that they have the same appearance.
When you construct your job descriptions for hourly positions, the following topics should be included:
- Job title — Name of the position
- Salary grade — Compensation levels, including minimum and maximum pay
- Reports to — Title of the position this job reports to
- Date — Date when the job description was written or last reviewed
- Summary/objective — Summary and overall objectives of the job
- Essential functions — Essential functions, including how an individual is to perform them and the frequency with which the tasks are performed. These tasks must be part of the job function and truly necessary or required to perform the job
- Competency — Include here the knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform the tasks of the job. (Remember this is what you've previously determined)
- Supervisory responsibilities — Direct reports, if any, and the level of supervision this candidate may have
- Work environment — Define and describe what the work environment is like. Will the employee be working in a hot conditions? What is the level of noise? Are they working inside or outside? Include any other factors that will affect the person's working conditions while performing the job
- Physical demands — Describe the physical demands of the job, including bending, sitting, lifting and driving
- Position type and expected hours of work — Define here if the position is full time or part time, typical work hours and shifts, days of week, and whether overtime is expected
- Required education and experience — Include if the candidate must have a certain level of education or experience based on requirements that are job-related
- Additional eligibility qualifications — Include here any additional requirements such as certifications, industry-specific experience and the experience working with certain equipment, (e.g., forklift operations, short-order cook, phone operations)
- Affirmative action plan/equal employment opportunity (AAP/EEO) statement — Include here that you are an equal opportunity employer. Other similar statements and communication should be included in your hiring packet or employee handbook
Once you've completed your analysis of what type of employee you need and constructed a job description for that employee, it is then time to find candidates to fill open vacancies and perform those described job tasks.
Finding Hourly Employees
1. Know Where to Look
Candidates for hourly employment are everywhere, but why is it so difficult to find them? In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 59% of the US workforce, or roughly 78 million Americans are now paid on an hourly basis. These are folks who have chosen to work hourly, yet businesses struggle everyday to find them. Part of the problem is that these businesses are not looking in the right places.
A survey by PeopleMatter (now called Snag), found that out of 974 companies surveyed, two-thirds of respondents said they need more applicants than they receive and 60% are unsatisfied with applicant quality. Respondents reported that most service industry workers are recruited through employee referrals (71%), followed by the company website (59%t), job boards (59 %), walk-ins (48%), social media (34%) and local advertising (34%). However, the top source by quality is social media. Quality social-media-sourced applicants rose 28% against walk-ins and 15% against employee referrals, according to the survey.
Conclusion: go to where the quality applicants are—social media. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are the largest workforce in the US. These are the folks who use social media. They are tied to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and so many more. Employers who tap into this resource will find a wealth of qualified candidates, but they must be strategic with their search.
Here are five tips, by order of importance, for finding quality hourly employees:
1. Go Social—Don't just post willy-nilly to Facebook and other social media sites, but be strategic and form groups on Facebook. For example, you can form "Coffee Experts in San Francisco" to hunt for baristas, or "Hostess with the Mostest in Redwood City," to attract needed restaurant help. Respondents are typically more likely to respond to a group on Facebook than a help-wanted ad.
2. Go with Referrals—According to the survey mentioned above, employee referrals was at the top of the list for recruiting employees. That's because employers trust good employees to recommend someone like them. But referrals can come from various sources including your competition, customers, and vendors. You can't go wrong looking at referrals from people you trust.
3. Go Postal—Get in the habit of posting, or delegate this task, a job available everyday on top internet sites such as Craigslist, Indeed, and ZipRecuiter. By consistently posting and re-posting your job ads daily, you sometimes move up lists and stay fresh in the eyes of the job seeker. Be creative with your ads, but to the point. People seeking hourly jobs typically need work yesterday, so be both brief and creative.
4. Go to the Fair—Local job fairs are time-consuming and costly, but can be worth it, depending on the setting. If the timing and location of the organized job fair is right, spend all you can for a booth and staff it well. You or your people should be ready to speak to a lot of folks attending and hand out prepared packages about your company. Give attendees who come to your booth a trinket that will stand out. Don't just hand out pens with your company name on it. When Boston Beer, maker of Sam Adams attended a job fair, they handed out bottle openers with their name on them.
5. Go Back to School—Some local schools may put on job fairs too, but aside from those, visit high schools and community colleges in your area and ask where you can post information about your company. Most universities and some high schools allow you to place information in a designated location where students know to go to find work. As with the job fairs, be creative in your ads and company literature. Remember, you are competing with so many others in your community who are also experiencing high turnover rates.
Just as with fishing, you have to go where the fish are—or where you think they will be going. Job candidates can be a slippery bunch. Use these five tips to reel them in and keep them.
2. Be Attractive
Just as in dating, if you want to attract suitors, you have to look attractive. In the same way, to find hourly employees, you must make you and your company presentable. According to a survey of 1,290 employees conducted by Kepner-Tregoe, 64% of workers stated that the company's management wasn't initiating programs to reduce turnover or make the company more attractive to those seeking work. Making your business more attractive to those seeking employment will help you stand out above the noise of so many more hustling to latch onto hourly candidates.
To attract, and even keep, good hourly employees, you must first develop what is known as Employee Value Proposition (EVP), which is a fancy term defining the total value an employer offers to their employees in return for their work. It is more than compensation and benefits, (or tangible rewards), but a mix of tangible and intangible rewards such as great company culture, interesting projects to work on, flexible hours, etc.
When courting someone we typically put on our best clothes, fix our hair, and be on our best behavior. When trying to be more attractive to job candidates, here are five things to consider:
1. Be Positive—Do all you can to create a positive work environment. Give positive reinforcement to the employees you have now. Let them know they are appreciated. Often just saying the words, "I'm impressed with you..," or "I enjoy working with you," can go a long way to motivating and showing them that they matter to the organization. The message that your business is a positive, fun place to work will spread. Typically, as friends gather for social activities or school, talk turns to making money which turns to working, which directs the conversation toward your company because it is a positive place to work.
2. Implement Creative Compensation—Do more than simply offer a better paycheck than the competition. Come up with creative incentives that fit your workforce. Give movie tickets, certificates for a car wash, and tickets to concerts as rewards and bonuses. Find a way to offer more and better things than your competition.
3. Develop Great Culture—Company culture is something that most hourly employees can get their heads around. Company culture is all about the theme or interwoven thread that runs through the business. A good culture is welcoming and interesting. I recommend reading Seth Godin's book, Tribes, which is all about developing a following and using that following to gather more followers. The more you understand your tribe, the more you can offer them.
4. Help Your Employees Leave—Of course you don't want to lose your good employees, but one great way to become more attractive is to offer resources to your employees for advancing their careers. Start a company library, invite recruiters or career planners from local colleges to come in and share with your employees what is available for them. Sounds scary? It is, but you will develop a reputation of an employer who looks after their employees.
5. Install Opportunities for Work/Life Balance—Do all you can to be flexible with work schedules to allow employees to take time off for school, family, rest, or just to have fun. Even if your business requires someone working during set hours like a restaurant or store, there is still wiggle room for allow for some balance in the lives of your employees.
Preparation, Profiling, and Promotion
Like all important things in life, interviewing job candidates for your business should begin with a plan. You can't just call in someone interested in the position and talk for 10-15 minutes without some kind of guide to follow. You should list out what is needed to make the interview a success, whether you hire the candidate or not. One of the most important of these items is a list of standardized questions you will be asking the candidate. Here are three main categories with some sample questions you want to be sure to cover in the interview:
1. Availability—Because scheduling can be extremely challenging, be sure to find out what the candidate has in mind regarding work schedules. Ask questions like:
- Are you available to work weekends?
- Are you available to work some holidays?
- Can you work late at night?
- What were the hours like at your last job?
- Did you enjoy that schedule?
- Do you have any other commitments?
2. Retention—Turnover is expensive and when you find a good job candidate, you want to try to keep them for a long time. Determine the candidate's intentions by asking the following:
- How long did you stay at your last job?
- Why did you leave that job?
- What are some of things that would make you stay at this job if you get hired?
- Where do you see yourself a year from now?
- Where do you see yourself five years from now?
3. Conflict Resolution—Employees who work well together are more engaged in their work and therefore more productive. Of course, not everyone will get along marvelously all the time, and when that happens, you want to know that your employees can act like adults and resolve their issues for the sake of the business goals. Ask these questions to get an idea of how well the candidate deals with conflict:
- How do you handle stress while at work?
- Have you ever had conflict (confrontation, arguing, disagreeing), with any co-workers before?
- How do you handle conflict with a co-worker?
- Can you tell me a situation where you resolved a conflict at your last job?
- What do you think is the best action to take when you have conflict with a co-worker?
- What do you think is the best action to take when you have conflict with a customer?
You may need to brainstorm for other questions that fit your particular business. Remember to try to keep the questions open-ended and encourage the candidate to take their time answering. Some of the questions you DO NOT want to ask include:
- Race or ethnicity
- Gender or sex
- Country of national origin or birthplace
- Marital or family status or pregnancy
Building a Profile
The term profiling has received a bad rap in recent years, but profiling can be a good thing. Based on the answers you receive from the candidate, you are building a profile on this person. You are summing up who he or she is in the limited time that you have. A helpful tip is to remember that interviewing job candidates is 25% art, 25% skill, and 50% listening. You want to listen closely to all of the answers the candidate gives you and note how those answers are given. Is the candidate confident? Are they comfortable communicating their answers? This is the time for the candidate to shine and woo you. Included as part of the plan for interviewing should be a list of important items that may come up in the interview discussion. You should have these items ready so you can refer to them if you need to. They include:
- Job description
- Pay range for position
- Work schedule candidate is expected to fill
- Benefits offered
- Candidate's resume
- Testimonies from current employees
Toot Your Horn
The interview process isn't just about learning more about the job candidate. It is also a time for you to promote your business and sing the praises of your company. This is where employee testimonies, customer feedback, and community activity awards prove helpful. Share with the candidate about how your company celebrates employee birthdays, have annual picnics, provide creative perks, and promote the advancement of employee careers. The interview process also serves as a selling opportunity. You want to keep the good job candidate with your company and not lose them to the competition. Take this time to explain all of the many benefits of working at your organization.
Onboarding Hourly Employees
Often referred to as organization socialization or employee orientation, onboarding is simply the introduction phase of the employee lifecycle. It is the time needed to introduce the new employee to other employees, to their work station, to the business processes, and ultimately, to the culture of the organization. For many years, businesses have stuck to the handed down, unproven rule that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. That means that the faster new hires feel welcome and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the company's mission and goals.
As mentioned in the section on making your company more attractive, the employee experience you create will get shared with the employee's peers, family, friends, and their social media following. This development of a program for a great employee experience should be considered from before the employee is hired. One of the most important phases in the lifecycle of an employee is the onboarding phase.
A Society of Human Resources (SHRM) article found that on average, companies lose 17% of their new hires during the first three months of employment. So without a good onboarding process, an employee may flounder and perform poorly, not because of a lack of skills and talents, but because a lack of knowledge of the company's values, mission, and processes. The onboarding process is the responsibility of the owner, manager or supervisor and should be taken seriously.
How to Onboard
Onboarding is a process that should be conducted for every employee. Using a standardized method each time will help you to remain consistent and keep all employees on the same page of music regarding where the company is heading and how the company expects to get there. One helpful tool used by many organizations that provide successful onboarding is called the Four C's. These are:
1. Compliance—this is the lowest or first level and includes teaching employees basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations.
2. Clarification—this is the stage where you ensure that employees understand their new jobs and all related expectations. The job description plays an important role here.
3. Culture—a broad arena that includes providing employees with a sense of organizational formal and informal norms to give the employee a sense of things like respect and fairness and trust and integrity that are all part of the organization's society.
4. Connection— refers to the vital interpersonal relationships and information networks that new employees must establish. This is the area that helps the employee find a social "fit" within the organization.
This is a critical time and should be used wisely to teach the employee about the culture and values of the company. According to a Harvard Business Review piece, Google puts so much importance on onboarding that it uses an electronic checklist to remind managers to discuss the roles and responsibilities with new hires. Create a similar list or assign a new hire with a peer buddy to show them the ropes and start off the journey with a good experience.
Use the Guide, Trust Your Instincts
Hiring hourly employees is not an easy task. It is even more difficult when a business or particular industry is prone to high turnover. The goal of The Smart Way to Hire Hourly Employees is to ease a lot of the pain and frustration typically experienced when trying to bring new hourly employees into the organization. By following the tips and information provided in this Guide, we are confident that you will have a better and more successful hiring journey for years to come.
But this is a guide, and should be used to steer you in the right direction for making the right decisions in hiring the quality hourly employees that you need for your business to succeed. As you unfold and use the information in each section, trust your gut to tell you where you can tweak and customize some of the tips and information to suit your particular needs. Perhaps some of the information will spark an idea of how you can improve on steps within the guide. Great! That is the point.
A recent Deloitte Insights report discovered that almost 80% of executives rated employee experience very important (42%) or important (38%), but only 22% reported that their companies were excellent at creating a differentiated employee experience. This is partly due to confusion about what constitutes a good employee experience. Our hope is that when you use the Guide, you will seek even greater methods and strategies for creating great employee experiences and therefore keep good employees longer and attract quality employees when you need them.
We wish you much business success!
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.