Recruiting the Best Hourly Employees is Just Different

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Recruiting DifferentHourly employees comprise more than 60% of the U.S. workforce, yet most employers are unsuccessful in their efforts to attract quality frontline workers in sufficient numbers and retain them long enough to realize a return on their investment.

In today’s employment market, non-exempt turnover is approximately three-and-one-half times greater than exempt. Even though  hourly employee turnover is by far the greater drain on profitability most organization don’t give it the time and effort it deserves.

One cause of this problem is that many employers don’t fully grasp the demographics of today’s hourly, frontline workforce. While many employers aim recruiting messages only to younger people, about one-third of these workers are actually 25-44 and slightly less than on-third are 45 or older. Most hourly workers work within a five mile radius of their homes, but many employers overlook the power of location signage to attract applicants.

Another large part of the hourly employee recruitment and retention problem can be attributed to:

  • Employers who focus on recruiting people who are unemployed rather than on top performers who are already working and who may be open to a better job and/or working conditions.
  • Today’s overwhelming number of applicants for every job, making it that much harder to find the outstanding performers.
  • Most managers and supervisors hire only occasionally. They are not trained in best-practice techniques nor are they experienced “hiring managers;” they are managers who hire from time-to-time.

Take a Marketing Approach to Recruiting.

To recruit the best, employers have to make recruiting an ongoing activity. If you only recruit when you have openings, you can’t get the best because the pressure to hire someone immediately causes you to be less selective and often results in a bad hiring decision.

Become a Place Great People Want to Work.

To paraphrase Yogi Berra, “If they don’t wanna work for you, nobody’s gonna stop ‘em.” There are companies that never have recruiting problems. When they need good employees, plenty of candidates are readily available (Disney, Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, et. al.) Many smaller companies nationwide have similar reputations. In fact, being small can be an advantage. These companies can use the flexibility inherent to their smaller size to become “Magnetic Companies” that attract quality applicants.

Make the effort, be polite.

When frontline, hourly workers are looking for work, most apply for three jobs at once. This means employer responsiveness is a deciding factor in recruiting success. So, when you need new recruits, monitor the system and get back to promising applicants right away.

Leave All of your Doors Open.

To hire the best, you’ve got to make it easy for the best people to apply. If you accept phone calls, résumés, and applications only during regular business hours, you discourage the very people you should be trying to recruit – all the good people who are busy working. This means you have to modify or extend your hours for accepting applications and conducting interviews to synch with applicant availability.

Install a 24-hour job hotline and publicize it everywhere. It can be as simple as an answering machine or as sophisticated as a fully automated interviewing system. With a 24/7 system, you’ll see an increase of at least 30-50% more high-quality applicants.

Today’s applicants don’t read newspapers or go from store to store filling out applications. They sit down at the computer and “let their fingers do the walking.” If you’re not using Internet job boards and your company website, you’re missing the boat big time.

If there is a “Careers” or “Join Our Team” tab on your website, take a few minutes to take it for a test drive. Many of these website pages lose jobseekers by making the process too complicated and/or time-consuming and some don’t work at all.

Read more in Turnover

Certified Speaking Professional Mel Kleiman is North America’s leading consultant, author, and speaker on strategies for hiring and retaining the best frontline, hourly employees. He is the president of Humetrics, a leading developer of systems, training processes, and tools for recruiting, selecting, and retentaining the best hourly workforce. Mel is also the author of seven books, including 100 + 1 Top Tips, Tools & Techniques to Attract & Recruit Top Talent. For more information, call (713) 771-4401.