How to Engage Hourly Workers and Make Them a Part of Your Team

October 29, 2018
Many business owners take their hourly workers for granted, ignoring their needs due to a common notion that they can always be replaced. They focus on engaging their salaried employees, as they usually spend a much greater deal of time and effort into finding and hiring them.

What they don't realize is that hourly workers are the backbone of their organization. They are the ones who directly communicate with customers and make sure the organization they work for always keeps running smoothly. They are the face of a brand that customers get in touch with, responsible for creating excellent customer experiences.

If you're reading this, then you're certainly not one of those people who ignore hourly workers when creating engagement strategies. Even if you were, reading this is a huge step towards improving your organization and creating a powerful team of workers who can lead your business to great heights.

Here's what you can do to effectively engage your hourly workers and make them a part of your team.
When they see you as a friend rather than merely a manager, they will definitely perform much better and not think about leaving the company for a small increase in wage in some other workplace.
Give them a Sense of Purpose

When your hourly employees have a sense of purpose in your organization that truly motivates them and gives them real value, they will go above and beyond their assigned tasks to turn your company into a successful one. They will want to contribute more in order to feel meaningful and for you to recognize their efforts.

How can you make their work meaningful? Through clear and effective communication. Communicate with all your employees professionally yet in a friendly manner, because you're all partners working towards a common goal.

There was a study by Gallup on factory worker motivation that showed that hourly workers don't really care about the organizational mission, but rather about giving back to the community. If you could communicate to them how their work can contribute to the community, you could motivate them to embrace your mission and significantly increase their engagement.

Build Meaningful Relationships

Building strong relationships with your hourly workers is a fantastic way to increase their engagement and retention. When they see you as a friend rather than merely a manager, they will definitely perform much better and not think about leaving the company for a small increase in wage in some other workplace.

It's crucial that you create enjoyable experiences for your hourly employees so that they feel great when they clock in. Friendly relationships are your best bet for achieving that. What's also very important is being available to them. Being there any time they need you is what will show them that you care and value them.

So, don't leave them out. Don't disconnect them from the rest of your company. Keep them updated on everything, just like you do with your salaried employees, and they will start seeing you as a partner and a friend. It will boost their morale and create a wonderful workplace culture that they will not want to leave.

Include them in Problem-Solving Processes

It's a very common practice among business owners and managers to ask their salaried employees for help when coming up with solutions to various problems and creating a company strategy. That's completely normal, as they are often knowledge workers with plenty of experience and expertise regarding various business-related issues.

However, this doesn't mean that you should completely ignore hourly employees and not even ask for their opinion. Perhaps some of them have a groundbreaking solution to a particular problem. After all, they are the ones engaging in numerous day-to-day operations, so they may have first-hand information regarding improving your company's processes.

That's precisely why you should give them a seat at the table. Tap into their knowledge and really hear what they have to say. Give them a chance to really be a part of your team and introduce some change in your organization, the change that they already brought on their level. Their on-the-job experience may just be what your company has needed all along.

Including them in your strategizing process will give them a sense of purpose and motivate them to continue contributing to your company. Another study by Gallup on hourly vs. salaried workers' job satisfaction shows that 46% of hourly workers are satisfied with recognition for work accomplishments. That's more than half of those who are not satisfied. So, recognize their work and include them in yours.

There's rarely anything more engaging than actually engaging them into your problem-solving processes, as that shows that you truly value their opinion and that they are crucial links in your organizational chain. It shows that they matter and that you really notice them.
Make sure each and every hourly worker has a chance to build a future at your company.
Open the Door to Promotion

If your hourly workers don't have an opportunity to grow in your company and actually build a career, they will simply leave you after a certain period of time. No one wants to stay someplace where they cannot ever move away from square one. If you don't allow them to grow, they'll find a place where they can.

The aforementioned Gallup study on job satisfaction of hourly and salaried workers also shows that only 35% of hourly workers are satisfied with opportunities for promotion.

So, make sure each and every hourly worker has a chance to build a future at your company. You never know, they may turn into remarkable salaried workers. They can't if you don't show them the path to promotion and treat them like renewable resources.

Some of your hourly workers may have completely different career aspirations and your company is only a stepping stone towards their goals, but it may not be the case with all of them. So, talk to them and find out who would like to build an in-house career. Once you know that, lead them to a path to promotion.

That's a very good incentive that can lead to lifetime loyalty and considerably improve your entire organization.

If you only focus on engaging your salaried workers and don't ever think about your hourly employees and their needs, your company will never reach the level of engagement you're looking for. Only when you fully recognize your hourly workers as valuable contributors to your company's success, as they definitely are, will you be able to truly grow.
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