Employee Engagement

Best hourly workforce engagement and retention strategies

September 30, 2022

RESOURCES Best hourly workforce engagement and retention strategies

Employee engagement has proven to lead to lower turnover rates. Recent data from WorkStep shows that hourly workers who provide feedback to their employers within the first 30 days on the job turnover 20% less than those who do not.

According to a Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report, 65% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged. So it’s not surprising that turnover has hit a record high, especially within the supply chain.

Workforce engagement is the key to a successful retention strategy. So how do you get your hourly employees to be engaged?

Give employees a platform to be heard

The first step to helping engage your hourly workers is giving them a platform to regularly provide feedback. Sounds simple, but many organizations don’t have an established way to collect feedback, and often if they do, it’s only annually or quarterly. In fact, 41% of hourly workers say management never seeks feedback. And 70% feel their voices are not being heard.

Having a way to collect that information anonymously is even better. Employees are more likely to provide honest feedback more frequently if they feel it won’t be tied back to them. Honest insights more accurately gauge true employee sentiments and are more beneficial for making impactful changes.

Another way to drive engagement across your entire workforce is by delivering check-ins in their native language. More than 20% of hourly workers in the supply chain do not speak English, so if that is the only language you are sending questions in, you’ll be missing a large population of people.

Make sure you’re spreading the word about how employees can give feedback. This should be included during the onboarding process for new hires and promoted in break rooms, offices, workspaces, etc., across facilities.

Create alignment with management and leadership

In order for retention efforts to succeed, collecting feedback and implementing initiatives need to be embraced by the entire organization from the top down. It can’t just rest on the shoulders of HR. There must be alignment between C-suite executives, Operations, managers, and HR to support a retention strategy.

Clear expectations need to be laid out across leadership roles. This will help hold everyone accountable in driving engagement and executing positive change.

Action on employee feedback breeds more feedback

If you’ve taken the first step by offering a platform to your hourly workers that allows them to provide regular feedback, you’re ahead of a lot of companies. But what will actually lower turnover and lead to a successful retention strategy is taking action on that feedback.

And guess what!? The more changes you make based on feedback, the more engaged your workforce will be. When employees see that their input is actually driving change they’re more likely to continue to provide valuable insights.

Close the loop on feedback

Don’t stop there though. Developing a communication plan into your retention strategy is what will help you close the loop on feedback. How are you telling your hourly workers about the actions you’ve made based on their feedback? If they don’t know about it, it’s like it didn’t happen.

There are many benefits to being transparent about the changes being implemented:

  • Your workforce will know they are being heard, which will lead to higher engagement
  • Morale will be boosted because they feel valued
  • It will lead to lower turnover and a higher retention rate

Develop a positive company reputation

When hourly workers feel they work for a company that is invested in them as people, it helps drive engagement because they have a sense of pride in their workplace. Here are five ways companies can develop a positive reputation with their employees.

1. Offer competitive pay and benefits

Competitive pay is now not a perk, but something expected. Our latest research shows that employees often prioritize other factors higher than compensation, with career growth being #1 reason for turnover and feedback #2.

2. Foster meaningful work

Hourly workers want to work for a company they feel aligns with their values. More than half of the workforce would take a 15% pay cut to work for a company whose mission aligned with their values.

3. Build strong leadership and management:

The best leaders act as mentors by connecting with their hourly workers on a personal level. They encourage them to have conversations about their goals and help them work towards their ideal vision of themselves.

4. Provide career development & growth opportunities:

Lack of career growth opportunities is consistently the number one reason folks are leaving their jobs. Providing a clear path to advancement not only encourages retention and boosts employee satisfaction and morale, but it also benefits employers because they are rewarded with a better skilled workforce.

5. Encourage work-life balance

Companies must recognize that a work-life balance promotes healthier and happier employees, which leads to higher productivity. Consider offering generous paid time off, flexible and predictable shifts, split shift options, job sharing opportunities, childcare options, mental health benefits, paid lunch, etc.

How you can easily drive engagement and improve retention

All of this may seem like a heavy lift for a company to drive engagement across a distributed workforce to improve retention. It doesn’t have to be though.

Choosing the right employee feedback platform for your organization will help you achieve this. You’ll want one that allows you to send check-ins automatically at a regular cadence, breaks down themes that can be filtered by facilities, departments, and roles, provides suggested actions to take, and measures the success of these actions.

Tune into your frontline with WorkStep

With the frontline employee engagement platform that delivers the real-time insights you need to take action, retain your workforce, and drive your business forward.

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Mark Bell

Mark Bell, VP of Marketing | markbell@workstep.com