How Subway Improves Motivation of Hourly Workers

November 12, 2018
It's a common myth that hiring hourly workers is easy. Another common myth associated with hourly workers is that they are easy to find, require little knowledge, and will not influence the general bottom line of your organization.

If that sounds too good to be true, it's probably because it is. Hourly workers, and let's just say it, good hourly workers are extremely hard to find, and in this market are quickly snatched by companies offering better working conditions. Furthermore, the general myth that hourly workers can come and go, and that this strategy is efficient is a pure lie.

In HR, it is common knowledge that each and every worker is a part of the team and needs constant attention and care to perform well so that the whole team can prosper.

You've probably read about the issue that exists with the Subway franchise model, and how they treat and pay their workers. Basically, they change them constantly, and pay them the bare minimum. And while the franchise itself insists that the users of their name (smaller owners who rent the right to use the name Subway) can decide for themselves how to pay their workers, it still reflects poorly on the brand.

While companies like Subway are more interested in how, when, and where their logo is used; how you care or pay for workers is not high on their priority list.

How can you use this, and draw some conclusions in order to improve motivation of hourly workers, and make them not only happier, but more efficient workers?
It's a good idea that every hourly worker has the opportunity to work during busy shifts but also to have down periods.
1. Be Predictable with Shifts

Yes, hourly employers are expected to have constantly changing shifts, but still, if you want your workforce to be satisfied, you need to create a routine for them to feel comfortable. This does not only include their working hours but take into an account that most of the income for shift workers (especially in the service industry), comes from tips – and tips vary depending on the time of day.

Because of this, it's a good idea that every hourly worker has the opportunity to work during busy shifts (where they can get more tips), but also to have down periods where they can enjoy a slow-paced shift from time to time. This can easily be solved with monthly shift planning.

Naturally, some other unpredictable events might happen, but those should be rare – if they keep on happening, consider your planning skills; they might need updating.

2. Keep Workplace Fun

Just because someone doesn't work for you on a full-time basis doesn't mean that they are not a part of your team, that they should be neglected or not included in your team activities.

Making a fun workplace will not only increase efficiency but will also boost morale. By organizing team-building events ahead of time, you can make sure that employees see their workplace in a much different light. Offer free snacks and drinks, this can help during long work hours and can save your workers a few bucks.

Encouraging a few competitions that give bonuses based on performance is also a good idea – while many hourly workers simply don't see their current job as a career, they will appreciate your effort to make them appreciated.
Creating a small budget that is dedicated for the best hourly worker is a good idea to start, everyone could definitely use more money in their lives.
3. Think About Their Needs

While it's not easy to show your appreciation to the hourly workers – they don't receive the same benefits as your full-time employees, there are other ways to think about their needs. We've mentioned how important properly managed shifts are to them, and while all this requires a bit more time on your part, it's worth the effort.

Creating a small budget that is dedicated for the best hourly worker is a good idea to start, everyone could definitely use more money in their lives. This can increase the competition that we've mentioned, and it will appear as an authentic effort from your side. If hourly workers complain, listen to them.

Just because they are temporary, doesn't mean that their complaints are unfounded. By paying attention to what they have to say, you will ensure that your fully-employed personnel, and your business, are also taken care of.

4. Ask for Opinions

Another important thing that most companies tend to do is completely forget about their hourly employees, not only their needs, but their input as well. Some of them might have some pretty good insight that could help the future of your company.

They will have the most unbiased view of your company, and this is why their ideas might just be the best ones. Ask them to participate in decision-making meetings, to give their own ideas – most of them will shy away from such an opportunity, but some will see this as a great way of staying there longer – which is exactly what you should be looking for as well.

By recognizing their potential in advance, you can quickly add valuable members to your team.

Treating your hourly-workers like fully-employed will only bring good results for your business and will do wonders for their motivation. Small things can go a long way, especially if you are genuinely interested in helping them feel more comfortable working for you.
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