Entrepreneurs and business owners are in a war for hourly workers. Hourly workers are a major driver of the economy in the United States. Seventy-eight million people, or 59 percent of the workforce, are hourly workers. However, hiring hourly workers is challenging. Hourly workers of restaurants, bars, stores and other local businesses change jobs frequently.
Today, turnover of hourly workers is one of the industry's biggest workforce problems. In a survey by Society of Human Resource Management, respondents reported that the average annual turnover for hourly workers is 49 percent, at an average cost of $4,969 per employee. In addition, this is increasing rapidly with an annual increase of 39 percent for hourly workers and a staggering 314 percent increase in turnover for managers.
In addition, with the growth of the gig economy with companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and more, there is increased competition with local businesses for hiring hourly workers. In October 2018, the number of job openings in America reached over 7 million, and will exceed the number of job seekers.
Here are share some strategies and techniques for hiring hourly workers.
1. Set up an employee referral program.
As with many industries and sectors, referrals work! One strategy for business owners is to create an incentive scheme for successful referrals which can take the form of a small cash bonus or other rewards. For example, whenever a new hourly worker is hired, immediately ask her or him for three introductions or names that can be introduced to the company. This is very helpful as you will be able to create leverage and reach more hourly workers who are of similar backgrounds that you like to hire.
2. Share on closed communities like Facebook Groups and Yelp.
There are many closed communities and trusted networks of people who may be looking for work. For example, there are many Facebook Groups in each local city, sectors and industries where Facebook users come together to offer support and advice for job seeking. Some examples of Facebook Groups could include "Uber drivers in San Francisco" or "Baristas in Boston." As this is a trusted network, potential hourly workers are more likely to respond to messages that are posted in the group or to respond to job postings.
3. Post on Craigslist and Indeed.com every day in the early morning.
Online job postings on Craigslist, Indeed.com and other job boards remain some of the best ways to reach out to hourly workers. However, the key is to be persistent and to re-post these job ads every morning, in order for the job postings to appear at the top of the job boards. In addition, it is important to structure the job postings to be attractive, including highlighting monetary compensation, strong culture or flexible working hours. It is important to engage with potential job hourly workers with your online job ads and differentiate yourself from the thousands of other employers who are also trying to hire in today's competitive market.
4. Organize a jobs fair or event.
Host a fun job fair! Offer free food, coffee or free company products to potential applicants who take the time to show up at your job fair. It is very helpful for potential hourly workers to meet you and your managers in person, and to understand your brand, culture and product better. In addition, one of the key things you should do that will help in organizing a job fair is to build up an internal database of candidates. You can host periodic career fairs or events, and send out messages to these potential applicants for the event.
5. Put up job posters in your neighborhood and in your stores.
You need to find hourly workers where they are. Put up attractive job posters where hourly workers can text to apply easily from their mobile phones. The best places to put up job posters can be your own physical stores, or local coffee shops, supermarkets, churches and coworking spaces. There are often bulletin boards at these locations where you can put up marketing materials for free and attract potential hourly workers.
6. Put advertisements in local newspapers and magazines.
Offline channels can be extremely effective for hiring hourly workers. Local newspapers and magazines are still widely read by potential job applicants who are looking for hourly work. You can look for local newspaper and magazines that are distributed among different ethnic groups or languages that could also help you to broaden your reach into more communities.
7. Partner with local community colleges and schools.
There are many students at local community colleges who have recently finished high school and are eager to get their first working experiences. All of these community colleges have career centers and career fairs, and employers can often sign up or connect with them to access potential job applicants. Another strategy is to get to know the instructors in the fields that you are looking to hire, for example at culinary schools, as the instructors may be able to make recommendations.
Hourly recruiting is similar to the positions one is hiring for -- it is hands-on, difficult and sometimes it can be grinding and laborious work. However, hourly workers play a significant role in many companies today. From technology companies like Amazon to retail companies like Walmart, Starbucks and more, hourly workers are the heartbeat of millions of companies that is transforming the economy today. Hiring hourly workers is indeed a very different process than hiring white-collar workers. Therefore, it is important for us to recognize the different techniques to engage with hourly workers, and to connect with them in those channels.
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