10 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring Hourly Workers

hourly workers

Comprised of 81.9 million U.S. workers age 16 or older — which is 58.5 percent of the wage and salary workforce — hourly workers represent a critical hiring segment. Despite the fact that hourly work is found in almost every state and industry, touching workers of all ages, genders, races and ethnicities, it often goes overlooked in conversations about recruiting. 

Until now. In this piece dedicated to the hourly worker, here are 10 common pitfalls to avoid when hiring this valuable cohort: 

1. Skimping on communication 

First and foremost, these workers need to understand how and when you communicate. What communication model does your company follow? If they’re running late, who do they need to call? If they’re changing shifts with another employee, how do they update the schedule? Thoroughly explain your systems and preferred modes of communication (phone, text, email etc.) from day one.  

2. Skipping over screening 

In this instance, screening means interviewing, not background checks. But if those are part of your hiring process, include them here, too. During the interview, tell candidates what makes a great employee and how you assess that. Let them know exactly what will be expected of them, including conduct, dress codes and company culture. Ensure that both your company and the candidate think the role is a fit.

3. Glazing over time and commitment 

Time is especially important for hourly workers. Give your candidates a sense of what an hour means to your organization, both pre- and post-hire. How long does it take to get hired, onboarded and trained for the job? And what does an “hour in the life” look like once they begin? Make sure to explain how productivity is measured, whether that means the time it takes to complete each order, the level of service provided or the number of items produced. 

4. Failing to cover coverage 

What’s expected of employees within a given shift? Coverage informs employees of what needs to be done and how that work happens, including their breaks. Offer insight into a typical day and what else it might entail, beyond the basic duties, to help them prepare. An employee rarely remains responsible for one task and one task only. 

5. Busting on burstable bandwidth

Burstable bandwidth considers how a network handles periods of peak use — a concept that translates to the service economy. Hourly workers are the original gig workers, and most know that demand can change at a moment’s notice. But what’s the protocol? Do slow shifts mean early cuts? Do you keep workers on call for busier-than-usual days? Set your parameters accordingly; no one appreciates these kinds of surprises.

6. Dodging shift-swapping 

From the start, one question deserves a clear answer: Is shift-swapping allowed? Exceptions won’t cut it, so make your policy firm and well-known. If employees can swap, give them guidelines and protocols to enable the changes. That might mean implementing a new feature in your scheduling tool or setting up an approval process that requires advance notice and manager sign-off. 

7. Ignoring drugs and alcohol 

Similarly, the organization’s take on drugs and alcohol must be transparent. If your establishment serves alcohol, what rules govern employees after their shift ends? If operating in a state with legal marijuana, how does that fit into the workplace? Do you require tests? If so, how frequently? Do employees pay for these, or does the employer? If caught with drugs or alcohol on the job, what’s the fallout? Leave no question unanswered. 

8. Neglecting referrals 

Don’t discount the value current employees can offer. Explain your stance on referrals to current and potential employees, and invite them to participate. Once you have the talent you need, recognize that these workers likely know others with similar backgrounds and attitudes. Build your pipeline by leveraging them and everyone they know. 

9. Sidestepping nepotism 

Of course, opening up referrals can lead to the question of nepotism. Is your company comfortable hiring workers who have familial ties, and if so, at what level (parents, children, siblings, etc.)? What about friends? Look to the pros and cons and legal requirements before deciding on a policy. If you decide in favor of it, examine the potential impact on existing employees and any associated procedures. 

10. Evading the romance reality

Finally, it’s time to face facts: office romances happen, particularly in workplaces where employees spend much of their shift interacting with one another. How do you handle these scenarios? Are these relationships taboo? If they’re frowned upon, what are the consequences if and when employees come clean or get caught? Offer guidance and clear policies before these begin. 

When it comes to hourly hiring, you need to create a consistent experience for every candidate, giving them the option to go all-in or opt out. At the same time, you want to know who you’re dealing with (and why) well before their first day. Aim to deliver as much information as possible in a timely fashion to ensure both sides get the insights they need.

William Tincup is the President of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. Find him online Twitter, FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Indeed.

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