pensCulture plays a significant role in attracting talent. When it comes to hourly employees, there may be no greater influence on the culture than the schedule. It sets the foundation for the employee experience in the workplace.

Try to think of another process that has a bigger impact on your employee experience. Did you come up with one? Well, your employer has to be at work in order to experience that process, right?

When considering how to better recruit hourly talent, it would behoove you to think about how your schedule would help support this effort, specifically the impact your schedule can have on your employer brand and employee referrals. Yet most managers and employers view the schedule as a nagging operational task. At best, they see it as a chance to save some money.

This is a missed opportunity.

Treat the schedule like you care about your team’s time, give them a say in the process, and include them in creating it. Then, watch what happens. The employee schedule becomes a powerful recruiting tool.

Here are a few steps you will need to take in order to transform your employee schedule into a recruiting resource:

1. Treasure Your Team’s Time

We spend about 35 percent of our total waking hours at work. That’s a lot of time. Take an interest in what your employees do outside of work. Find out what they care about – their families, their hobbies, their education, their pets. Ask employees how they would alter their work schedules in order to have the time they need to spend on the things that matter to them. Show them you value their time.

The New York Times comments, “The fundamental problem is that as scheduling has become a tool for higher profits, it has also generated unfair practices.” Don’t fall into this trap. Avoid schedule abuses and practice fair scheduling that is respectful of your employees’ time.

Treasuring your team members’ time will have all kinds of positive ancillary effects, including happier employees, who are themselves talent magnets.

2. Empower Your Team by Scheduling Collectively

It’s a pain for you and your employees when time-off requests, vacation days, and availability are organized and communicated in chaos. Use scheduling software to help your team plan, organize, and communicate around the schedule in one central place.

Empower your team to make schedule updates and requests on-the-go whenever and wherever they are, perhaps by investing in a scheduling app. That way, your team members can collectively work together to create schedules that work for everyone. Your scheduling app should allow people to claim open shifts or swap shifts with one another without going through a supervisor first. Requiring approvals for everything is a great way to make your team feel powerless and create bottlenecks.

Hourly employees often have hectic schedules. Odd hours and flexibility can be some of the most attractive upsides of an hourly job, but only if employees have some say. Giving your team more control over their schedules will help you attract top talent. Frame it as a perk, and mention it in job posts.

3. Balance Flexibility With Predictability

Flexibility is key when it comes to scheduling success. You can balance flexibility and still provide predictability to your employees by publishing your schedule further in advance. Try to give your employees at least two weeks from the time you publish the schedule until their first shift. This will give them time to adjust plans outside of work.

Uncertainty in scheduling and short-notice changes wreak havoc on the lives of your employees. This makes it tough to hold second jobs, coordinate caregiving, attend classes, and plan finances. Predictable scheduling laws are sweeping the nation. Legislation is being created to protect employees. It’s what your talent wants. Be ahead of the curve, and use your fair scheduling to attract talent.

It can be hard to find hourly employees. Ask veteran recruiters about attracting hourly talent, and they’ll almost always mention employee referrals as a critical source of candidates. However, you can’t ask unhappy employees to recommend your company to their connections.

The employee schedule is a great lever to pull in order to improve your employer brand. Transform your schedule from a boring headache into a talent magnet by valuing your team’s time, giving them more control, and providing predictability.

Spencer Rule is head of growth at

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