There are several reasons why a company might separate employees into salaried and non-salaried categories, but it mostly has to do with the type of hours an employee works, the way they are paid, how much they are paid, and the type of work they do. Often, companies treat these two subsets of their workforces very differently — and it’s usually not the hourly employees who get the preferential treatment.

Through no fault of their own, hourly employees sometimes feel like they aren’t full-fledged members of the team due to their status, since many businesses have different policies in place for hourly and salaried workers.

“There’s usually two different sets of policies for salaried and hourly employees, ranging from vacation policies to retirement benefits,” says Peter Yared, chief technology officer for Sapho, a provider of employee experience solutions. “This even extends to IT systems. Hourly employees are often on a completely separate system — and may not even have a company email account. So, all of the internal communications, content portals, and messengers are often not available to hourly employees.”

A two-tiered IT system can be especially problematic because, as Yared notes, “[t]hese are the systems that typically bind a company together in terms of communication and setting goals.” When hourly employees are locked out, it’s no wonder they find their employee experiences to be lacking.

When an hourly employee is treated as somehow lesser, this can have a profound impact on their morale and, consequently, their productivity. Employees don’t like feeling as if their contributions don’t matter. They don’t want to be ignored, and they certainly don’t want to be treated as replaceable.

“They miss out on simple things like internal communications, volunteer days, and even things as simple as celebrating a birthday,” Yared says. “They also can miss out on more important information that can set them up for success. For example, a retail employee might miss out on information about a new product or promotion to help them meet their goals. Hourly employees need IT systems that get them the information they need while also making them feel like they are part of a community.”

Creating an Inclusive Atmosphere

Companies that want to create a more positive experience for their hourly employees can find technology solutions to help. A wide range of employee engagement tools exist to aid business leaders as they build more inclusive workplace environments.

One solution all companies should consider is an all-in-one portal through which employees can access company information, useful apps, and more. Such portals are convenient for all employees, but especially hourly workers.

“Many hourly employee jobs are seasonal or have high turnover,” Yared says. “This means they typically have to get through over a week of training just to learn how to use all of the various systems they are expected to use, such as how to submit a time card, how to request a shift change, and how to look up inventory. Providing hourly employees with a portal that puts all of these tasks into a single place … enables them to perform each task intuitively and makes starting a new job easy.”

An integrated access point for employees provides a measurable ROI for the business as well.

“For the employer, the portal reduces costly training time, employee churn rate, help desk calls, and wasted time as hourly employees hunt and peck through systems and ask their colleagues how to do things in legacy IT systems,” Yared says.

Aside from purchasing direct solutions to empower hourly workers, there are other things managers and executives can do to bring their hourly and salaried team members together as well.

“The No. 1 tip is to add the hourly employee to your Active Directory or LDAP directory and give them access to email and content and collaboration systems,” says Yared. “This way, they can feel like a true part of your workforce and communicate with peers and others. The expectation set by consumer technology is that computers should be easy and fun, not a complete drag on your day. This is needed for enterprise software as well.”

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