How To Retain Hourly Employees

November 14, 2023

by Matt Cromar

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If you’re wondering how to retain hourly employees; you’re not the only one. In truth, this is one of the most constant topics of concern. Employee turnover greatly affects the quality of your customer experience and revenues. And, due to the competitive nature of retail today, it’s an increasingly important problem to solve.

In summary:

  • Retaining frontline workers is crucial for today’s retailers to maintain market share
  • Flexible scheduling and pay, effective training solutions, and employee recognition can help retain hourly workers
  • Legion Workforce Management Software (WFM) enables intelligent automation to help employers retain hourly employees and create a better work experience

Employee Retention is Crucial for Retailers

With more than 62% of hourly employees planning to leave their jobs within the next 12 months, many retailers will likely be faced with replacing many of their employees, incurring various costs.

Depending on the skill level required to do the job, how training is delivered, and how long it takes a new employee to become productive can amount to 16% of their annual salary for some positions.

In 2022, the Association for Talent Development estimated that organizations spent, on average, $1,280 on workplace training. Training costs can approach ten million dollars per year for an organization employing 10,000 workers with 100% turnover.

Retaining existing employees offers numerous benefits to an organization, including enhancing operational efficiency, fostering a positive work culture, and contributing to long-term success.

Long-term employees typically develop a deep understanding of the company’s processes, culture, and goals. This enables them to perform their tasks efficiently and contribute to the organization’s overall productivity.

Low employee turnover rates contribute to a stable and positive work environment. This can significantly boost employee morale and job satisfaction. Happy and engaged employees are more likely to be productive, creative, and committed to their work, leading to higher-quality output and innovation.

Additionally, retaining talent helps maintain strong client relationships, as clients often appreciate consistency and having familiar points of contact within a company.

Why Some Companies Struggle to Retain Employees

There are a variety of reasons that some companies struggle to retain employees:

Lack of consistent hours or schedule flexibility

According to Legion’s State of the Hourly Workforce Report, 43% of hourly employees said the hardest part of working an hourly role is the inconsistency in hours.

Today’s workers constantly struggle to balance their work and personal lives, with some working multiple jobs to make ends meet while others continue their education while working part or full-time.

Without a consistent schedule that matches their availability with the needs of their employer, employees may, in some cases, have no choice but to find other options.

Schedule flexibility is also a primary concern for the frontline. In the recent survey, 96% of hourly employees said schedule flexibility is the number one benefit motivating them to take a new hourly job.

Managers agree with the importance of schedule flexibility for employee recruitment and retention. 28% of managers believe that the ability to provide schedule input and control is the most impactful benefit employers could offer to recruit potential employees.

Schedule flexibility is also the number one issue impacting hourly employee retention. 48% of managers answered the most challenging part of retaining hourly workers was not providing the schedule flexibility employees want.

To retain hourly employees, It’s critical that employers offer consistent but flexible schedules. Employees need to be able to request personal time off when they need it, and employers should implement systems that give them an easy way to fill in coverage gaps when these occasions arise.

Not offering competitive pay or benefits

Hourly workers should be considered a valuable asset to the company. By not offering competitive pay along with a variety of unique perks and benefits, employers are not giving their workers enough reasons to stick around.

Not having enough trained staff or lack of training opportunities

Lack of training or career advancement opportunities is often cited as a reason that employees quit their jobs. Many companies that don’t offer formal training programs rely on existing staff to bear the responsibility of training new staff, which takes away from their time and sales activities that would benefit the company’s bottom line. This can result in inadequate training for the new staff and job dissatisfaction for those delivering the training.

5 Things Retailers Can Do to Retain Hourly Employees

The implementation of a solid WFM platform is one of the ways retailers can make sure to retail hourly employees.

To better retain employees, retailers should look into implementing a solid WFM platform that will allow for better planning, scheduling, and access to earned wages. The WFM solution should include some of the following benefits and offerings.

  • Flexible Pay: Data from Legion’s survey indicates that only a third of employees said they were satisfied with getting paid every two weeks, and 62% said weekly pay is their preferred schedule. Flexible pay options are a key way to retain more employees.
  • Consistent Yet Flexible Work Schedules: Employees want consistency in terms of the hours they work every week, but they also want flexibility in being able to pick up extra shifts or to be able to request time off. By providing a WFM solution that automatically matches employee preferences with available shifts, employers can better balance the needs of their employees with those of the business.
  • Staff Training: A wide variety of training programs can enhance your employee’s early work experience and provide them with the tools they need to be successful. In addition to in-person training, self-paced online learning programs that use interactive videos, activities, and tests to train employees can be very effective.
  • Feedback and Recognition: Since many hourly employees stay with the company for less than a year, it is important to have a more frequent evaluation and recognition cycle. By leveraging data in WFM, retailers can evaluate employees more timely and provide positive feedback in shorter cycles.
  • Easy-to-Use Systems and Tools: Providing access to WFM tools that employees can use throughout the day and with scheduled time allocated for training can benefit new employees.

Keep Your Hourly Employees Around With Legion WFM

Legion Workforce Management software was built with the unique needs of retailers and hourly employees at the forefront to enhance the work experience and bolster employee retention. Managing staff schedules, tracking hours, and ensuring compliance with labor laws can be challenging. Legion WFM addresses these challenges by providing a user-friendly platform that automates and optimizes workforce scheduling.

Legion intelligently automates the creation of schedules, reduces the likelihood of overstaffing or understaffing, and minimizes the need for last-minute changes, which leads to a more efficient operation and improves hourly employees’ work-life balance.

With Legion InstantPay, employers have a built-in solution to provide flexible employee pay options that also help improve operations metrics such as clock hygiene and open shift uptake.

Legion WFM fosters open communication and transparency between employers and employees, which is crucial in building trust and a positive workplace culture. Employees can easily access their schedules, submit time-off requests, and communicate their availability or preferences directly through the software, giving them a sense of control and involvement in the scheduling process.

This level of engagement and empowerment is especially important for hourly workers, who often deal with unpredictable schedules and need the flexibility to balance work with their personal lives. Legion provides retailers with a robust solution to navigate the complexities of workforce management while creating a supportive and flexible work environment for their staff. To learn more about how Legion WFM can help you, schedule a demo today.