Labor Day is a day to commemorate the struggle for workers’ rights and workplace safety. A day to celebrate the social and economic achievements of the hourly worker.
Hourly workers have been fighting for their right to safety since the 1800s. Then the pandemic created a new hazard to their safety that employers were not prepared for. The pandemic shined a spotlight on the fact that employers did not have the foundation or the resources to support their hourly staff when they needed it the most.
Beyond Labor Day, employers can show their dedication to their workforce by investing in them and giving them the same access to resources and opportunities that office workers have had for years.
6 Ways to Invest in Hourly Employees Beyond Labor Day:
- Support them by taking the time to hear what is important to them
- Value their contributions and give them opportunities to grow
- Allow for easy access to company and employee information
- Make workflow processes and communication more simple
- Be more inclusive by allowing employees to choose their language preferences
- Put their health and safety above everything else
A History of Labor Day Throughout the Years
6 Ways to Invest in Hourly Employees Beyond Labor Day
1. Support them by taking the time to hear what is important to them
Hourly workers want to feel like they are an important part of the team and want their voices to be heard just the same as everyone else. They want their employers to listen to them and take the feedback and make constructive adjustments in the workplace.
Organizations can create a culture of openness and transparency by making it simple for employees to give feedback. Although it is not enough to just get feedback, it requires employers to start to make changes based on what they are hearing. Employers can immediately make the changes that are small, but impactful; while continuing to advocate for the best interests of their hourly teams.
2. Value their contributions and give them opportunities to grow
When the pandemic hit, communities rallied around hourly workers as essential workers. And hourly workers thought it was borderline insensitive and slightly comical since this was the first time they ever felt essential. There has been such a historical divide between office workers and hourly workers, and all of a sudden hourly workers were highlighted as the lifeline of the economy.
The truth is, they've been the lifeline this entire time. It just took a pandemic for the rest of the population to realize that. Employers of hourly workers have to make a bigger investment in valuing their teams and giving them opportunities to grow and rise up in their organizations. Especially in an environment where employee retention is statistically so low.
3. Allow for easy access to company and employee information
Finding the right person to talk to and the right number to call is an ongoing issue for hourly workers. At TeamSense, we get website chats every week from employees trying to find their employee portal, or report an absence, not realizing their team doesn't even use TeamSense.
That shows just how lost employees are in finding the right information. If employees are going to Google to find what they need, that is an employer's fail. Set them up for success by making things easy and processes transparent. Employees don't want to sign in to a website to get information, they don't want to download an app, and they don't want to call three times just to leave a voicemail for a callback. Their jobs are hard enough as it is, making information easily accessible should be standard.
4. Make workflow processes and communication more simple
Opening up the channels for communication will help employees feel more supported and make processes more efficient. Allowing them to easily contact their managers or HR will make them want to communicate more instead of the uphill battle of trying to figure out how to communicate with them.
Workflows that should be simple, like reporting an absence or requesting time off, are often long manual processes with multiple steps, and a length of time in between each step. Reporting an absence usually involves leaving a voicemail, waiting for a callback, and still having to talk to HR the next day to figure out the type of absence used. What should be a simple drop-down questionnaire, is instead a complicated and dragged-out process.
5. Be more inclusive by allowing employees to choose their language preferences
Even though the hourly workforce is extremely diverse, companies have historically forced them to receive communications in one language - English.
If organizations are hiring workforces, knowing Spanish or Vietnamese is their first language, then meet them where they are at and give them opportunities to read and ingest information in the language they understand. Take the time to translate important employee communications so there is no miscommunication because of language barriers. Allow them to report an absence in their primary language. Allow them to ask questions in their primary language.
It's a huge disadvantage and systematic failure to communicate in any other language besides the one they speak. Doing so is setting employees up for a fail before they can even start.
6. Put their health and safety above everything else
Hourly workers put their lives on the line when the pandemic hit, the least employers can do is show them that same respect by valuing their health and safety above all else.
Support employees by building trust instead of forcing policies on them and hoping they oblige. Build trust by sharing information and taking the time to connect with them about their concerns. The past few years have not been easy on anyone; employees want to feel heard and cared for, and they want to know that their lives are valued by their employers. Prove to them that putting their lives on the line and coming to work is worth it by putting their health and safety above all else, including profits.
Labor Day is just one day a year. While the day off is much needed for everyone, hourly employees want to feel this same support from their employers the other 364 days as well. It's about time hourly workers are valued for the contributions they bring to their communities and the global economy. Employers that get this right will build a sustainable organization that employees are happy to be a part of.