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How to Find and Keep the Best Hourly Employees

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As a small business owner finding hourly employees can be a challenge. According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are 81.9 million workers age 16 and older in the United States paid at hourly rates representing 58.5 percent of all wage and salary workers. 

You are competing with large companies who may offer better pay and benefits which may make it difficult to find good, qualified employees for your small business.

Because of this you may find it is difficult to hire and retain good, qualified hourly employees.

How to Find Hourly Employees

Job boards like LinkedIn may not be best for recruiting hourly employees like they are for salaried employees. 

Here are some ideas for recruiting:


Create an employee referral program within your company. Getting recommendations from your current employees can be a great system to bring in more workers. Also, offering a large referral bonus can help motivate your employees to search their own networks. Be creative and create buzz within your business about your new program. 

Go beyond just asking them to ask their friends. Request that they post your jobs on their own social media pages and share your company posts.  Make sure you generate and communicate your program procedure to all employees.

If your employees are not referring anyone, you should find out why. You may have a problem in your business that you need to address. 

On-site job fairs

Advertise in your local paper, website, social media, trade magazines, career centers, and the chamber of commerce that you are holding an annual (or more) job fair event. This event could also be fun like grilling hot dogs and offering some type of entertainment while people are completing job applications or waiting for interviews. Once you hold your first on-site job fair, you will know the turnout you will get in subsequent years to budget and plan.

Hourly employees job boards

There are some job boards that are great tools to help recruit hourly candidates. They should not be used as the sole method of recruitment. Craigslist has an excellent job board and has become a popular site to recruit hourly employees. Snagajob, Indeed, and USA Jobs are some low-cost or free ways to post your positions. Another great tool called Upward (formally Proven) helps you post to 100+ job boards to save you time and get the best exposure. You can also look for a job board for your particular niche as well. For example, if you have several construction job openings, check out ConstructionJobs.com to see if this might be a good site to use.

Local or specialized chapters or organizations

Many positions have local chapters or groups that meet regularly. They may have job boards available for you to post. Network with others to find some ideas, especially when you have exhausted your resources. Also, don’t forget to step out of your comfort zone. If you have a large Hispanic population in your area, work with a translator to create job boards for your positions. Just be sure you hire legally and are able to meet all I-9 requirements.

Social Media

If you don’t have an online presence, create one now. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great ways to reach hourly workers. You can ask all your friends, colleagues, and employees to share your job postings. Creating job ads on Facebook is not costly either. Make sure your business has its own page, post the position, and then boost the post to reach a wider audience. You can hire a talented, low-cost graphic designer on Fiverr or Upwork to create a catchy job ad. Make sure you choose one which guarantees their work based on your approval and has good reviews.

Website job board

Ensure your website has a job board so that applicants can easily apply online. Also, offer an alternative way for them to apply in case they don’t have a computer at home. For example, offer abilities and hours for them to apply on site. Offer clear and easy directions about your hiring process to help aid those that may have anxiety or entering the job market for the first time.

Consider Local Sources

Do you have a position which may prefer a two-year degree? Your local community college should have a job board at its career center. Contact them to find out their posting methods.

Find your nearest career center or unemployment office in your town or state to post your positions. Reach out to them to see if they can personally spread the word or what other suggestions they may have. They work with the unemployed and may know some people who are out of work. 

Job Hotline

Businesses have been including job hotlines to post on their websites, billboards, and job ads. Try to create a phone number that is easy to remember so that it is easy to share. Post your jobs there and include information of how to apply.

Other fun and creative ways

Research other fun, creative styles. Post photos and videos of your current employees too. Ask them to record why they like working there and make a video compiling all responses. Also, think about having a food truck event or happy hour event. If you run out of ideas, don’t forget to ask others for help. Additionally, ask local stores around your area if you could put a recruiting card by the register or a flyer in their window. You could even get magnets placed on your company vehicles. Look beyond your regular methods for hiring and also research new ways to recruit.

 Need an Affordable Mobile Time Tracking App for Your Employees?

How to Keep Hourly Employees

Once you have hired your employees, you need to keep them. If your business suffers from high turnover, now is the time to implement some best practices and make some strategic decisions to retain your best talent. 

Hire great leaders

One of the biggest reasons employees leave their employer is because of their manager. Hire great managers for your company and know what leadership skills they need. Ensure you are watching turnover and find out why people are leaving certain departments. Talk to employees in those high turnover departments. Bad managers will blame others for high turnover. Don’t allow excuses and replace bad managers. Make sure your employees are treated well and enjoy coming to work. They spend too much time there to dread coming in the next day.

Follow good business practices

If your managers are not the problem with turnover, then find out what is causing it. Take an honest look at your own business practices and policies. Listen to your peers and employees. If you keep hearing the same problem over and over again, change your methods. Also, lose the “well we have always done it this way” philosophy. Sometimes changes are needed with a growing company.

Flexible scheduling

Find a scheduling software that helps with scheduling and communicating schedule changes.  Employees become frustrated when they don’t know when to work so manually making and changing schedules can be difficult. A scheduling software can make it painless and helps with communicating with employees, so they always have the ability to look up their hours. Make sure you are flexible about changes and are able to help with unexpected life events when they happen. 

Offer a career path

During an employee’s performance review or at least once a year, meet with your employees to discuss their desired career path. Many employees leave because they don’t know when the next promotion is available. Talk to them about their interests. If they are interested in going down a different direction in your company, offer some suggestions to help them achieve their goals. Communicating with your employees often helps them know you care and want to help them.

Competitive pay & benefits

Try to make your pay and benefits competitive in the market. Many times, people leave because they just get the same 3% increases every year. Also, conduct a review of all your company’s job descriptions and conduct salary surveys every couple of years to ensure your pay is competitive within the market. 

Offer fun perks

You may not be able to pay competitively yet in your small business or offer health benefits. However, you should look for some fun perks that will help motivate your employees.  

Final Thoughts

Find out what is causing your high turnover by conducting exit interviews, employee surveys, stay interviews, and small group meetings. 

Also, during interviews, candidates may bring up issues they have heard throughout the community. Furthermore, your best recruiters can’t hire for you if you have a bad reputation. Furthermore, review Glassdoor frequently to see what former employees are saying. It is hurtful to hear what they say, especially if they weren’t a great employee. However, if there are some things that you hear multiple times from different people, then you need to make some changes. Try not to take it personally and deny responsibility. Just fix it and make your company the best place to work.


Author: Kimberley Kay Travis

Kim Travis has over 20 years of experience in business, human resource management, and leadership roles. She has specialized knowledge in employment law, employee relations, recruiting, management consulting, small business growth, leadership development, workplace safety and health programs, and writing business content.