S8 E2 Motivating Hourly Employees – The neglected workforce with Jeremy Gray artwork
Practical Solutions to Difficult Problems with Jeremy Gray

S8 E2 Motivating Hourly Employees – The neglected workforce with Jeremy Gray

  • S8E2
  • 12:58
  • January 13th 2022

If you Google motivating hourly employees you will get 6.8 million results, Google motivating salaried employees and will see 181 million results. Nearly 30X the hourly figure. Nearly 60% of workers in the US are hourly and many are part time. The percentage may be higher or lower in other countries, but it is likely that globally well over 50% of workers are paid by the hour. The much talked about Great Resignation is occurring primarily within the ranks of hourly workers. Given that most employees are hourly workers and are leaving their jobs even more rapidly, why is so little attention paid to motivating the largest section of the workforce? A major challenge in engaging with hourly staff is their working patterns. Many hourly workers work shifts and are often working when HR professionals have gone home for the day. This makes connecting with them more difficult. Unfortunately, many HR staff do not take the time to come into work during the night to chat with chat with the workers on shift. Another issue is when the word retention is mentioned, thoughts tend to jump to senior and high potential employees who are usually salaried. Given that most senior managers, except the Operations Director and maybe the HR director, do not often interact with hourly employees. They may greet them during a plant tour, but they are not top of mind. Finally, many HR leaders do not “get” their hourly employee’s motivators. It is often assumed that what motivates salaried professionals will motivate hourly employees. A study by the Wilson Group found that hourly workers are driven by job security and were motivated by A sense of purpose – that what they are doing makes a difference Mastery – getting better at something meaningful Autonomy – the ability to control their own lives.

Given that hourly employees are looking for something different than salaried employee, your retention strategies should be tailored to meet their needs. Rather than imposing strategies that seem to work for salaried employees. When developing your engagement program for hourly employees keep in mind what is important to them. Remember that they will have commitments outside of work, they maybe parents, they may be students, some will have second jobs, especially if they are not full-time employees. Put yourself in their shoes when developing retention strategies. Here are some ideas to kick off your thinking: Predictability: As much as possible give your hourly workers a set schedule of hours when they will be working. There maybe rotating shifts but these should be known in advance. Accommodate their needs, if you operate a rotating shift pattern but an employee prefers to work nights, because their spouse works days, and they have childcare to worry about. See if you can make this happen. Flexibility: People get sick, unexpected events happen in their lives, be understanding when an employee needs to take sometime off. Fear of losing their job should not force employees to come into work when they are ill. There are reports of employees coming to work when they had been exposed to Covid 19 as they felt their jobs were at risk if they did not turn up for work. Predictability and flexibility may sound like impossible goals, but companies have managed to deliver this for their employees. Ideas can include cross training so employees are capable of covering for others, scheduling enough employees to cover for these unexpected absences. Review on average how many employees are unable to come to work on any given day and use that in your scheduling plans. Offer professional development programs. These can range from literacy training for employees who cannot read or write, to degree sponsorships. Many hourly employees aspire to improve themselves. Talk to them, understand what they want, see if some of your employees are willing to train their colleagues. If they are, pay them for their time.

Practical Solutions to Difficult Problems with Jeremy Gray

After over 30 years in the MNC corporate world at the C-suite or General Manager level I am now focused on helping Entrepreneurs and SME's succeed. Using the lessons learned from working in Europe, North America and Asia while as an MNC executive along with 7 years supporting smaller businesses I bring this knowledge to my listeners. The topics will change but the message will remain the same, how to profitably grow your business.

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