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How to Find and Keep the Best Hourly Employees

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According to the latest report in 2015 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 78.2 million workers are paid at an hourly rate. This is nearly 59% of our workforce today. The August 2017 unemployment rate is at 4.4%, which may make it difficult to find good, qualified employees for your small business. You are competing with large organizations that may offer better pay and benefits. Because of this you may find it is difficult to hire and retain good, qualified hourly employees.

How to Find Great Hourly Employees

Some methods used to recruit salaried employees might not be best for recruiting hourly employees. The type of hourly employees you are searching for may not use job boards liked LinkedIn and Monster.

Here are some ideas for where to post and recruit your hourly employees:

  • Referrals

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. Go beyond just asking them to ask their friends and request that they post on their personal social media and share your company’s post. Make sure you generate and communicate a referral program procedure to all employees and include details on your procedure such as the process, the amount the employee can earn, the length of time the new employee must stay, and who can participate in the program. If your employees are not helping to recruit, then you may have a deeper problem in your organization that should be investigated (i.e. management issues).

  • 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 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, U.S Job Board Directory, and Indeed are some low-cost or free ways to post your positions. Another great tool called 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. See if they have a job board available for you to post. Attend any open meetings and speak with leaders of that organization to see if they have any ideas different from your own to post positions. 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 is the best way 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, state the hours which your recruiters are available or if you accept applications 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.

  • Local community colleges

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.

  • Local Career Centers or Unemployment Offices

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. Develop a relationship with a contact there to help spread the word.

  • 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 creative ways

If you run out of ideas, don’t forget to ask others for help. Many managers and business owners have had a hard time hiring at some point in their careers. Ask local convenience 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 to place on your company vehicles. Look beyond your regular methods for hiring and also research new ways to recruit.


How to Keep Great Talent

Once you hire those workers, you need to keep them. Hourly positions usually have higher turnover than salaried positions. 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. This should be an opportunity for your small business to compete with large organizations.

  • Management training

One of the biggest reasons employees leave their employer is because of their manager. Ensure you are watching turnover and find out why people are leaving certain departments. Talk to employees in those high turnover departments. You may personally like a manager very much who works for you, but if he or she is causing turnover in your company, you need to look to train or replace. Bad managers will blame others for high turnover. Don’t allow excuses. 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.

  • 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. Lose the “well we have always done it this way” philosophy. Sometimes changes are needed with a growing organization.

  • Flexible scheduling

Find a scheduling software that helps with scheduling and communicating the schedules and 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. Some apps even offer methods in which employees can trade shifts easily.

  • 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. Sometimes people have to leave a great company because of pay. Also, many times people leave because they just get the same 3% increases every year. Make sure they can’t go somewhere else to get the same job with a much larger increase. You should do a review of all your company’s job descriptions and conduct salary surveys every couple of years to ensure your pay is competitive.

  • Fun perks

You may not be able to pay competitively yet in your small business or offer health benefits. If that is the case, you should look for some fun perks that make an employee not want to leave. Offer up perks like Taco Tuesday, bring your dog to work day, pot luck meals, bingo, etc. There are many affordable office perks you can have in your company that make people want to stay.

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. Your best recruiters can’t hire for you if you have a bad reputation in the community. Also, 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. But if there are some things that you hear multiple times from different people, then you need to make some changes. Also, don’t take it personally and deny responsibility. Just fix it and make your company the best place to work.

Author: Kimberley Kay Travis

Kim Travis, co-owner of Travis and Adams Consulting Group, has over 20 years’ experience in human resources and leadership roles.
She has specialized knowledge in employment law, employee relations, recruiting, management consulting, leadership development, manufacturing safety programs, and writing business articles and blogs.