4 Ways to Attract and Retain Hourly Workers Beyond Wages
Even as economic uncertainty shifts talent demand, many franchises are still struggling to attract employees, especially as the holiday season approaches. This is particularly evident in industries such as hospitality and QSR, which hire a significant number of low-wage and tipped employees—a section of the labor force that is particularly sensitive to compensation. Despite inflationary concerns, people are still expected to travel this holiday season, which will directly affect the franchise industry as many businesses continue to face challenges in hiring and retaining workers to serve customers.
Despite these challenges, there are several initiatives franchise employers can consider implementing (at little to no cost) to strengthen their company culture and help attract and retain workers this holiday season and beyond.
1) Early access to earned wages
Low-wage workers are often the most vulnerable to economic fluctuations. To help these individuals weather said fluctuations, many businesses are offering early access to earned wages. This allows workers to receive their earnings sooner than payday, which can help them meet financial obligations and avoid penalties or fees.
A popular, rising option for businesses is to offer employees early access to earned wages though a mobile app where employees can draw against their already earned wages. By allowing employees to tap into their earned wages before their next pay period, this benefit can help them pay bills on time and meet unexpected expenses without having to pay late fees, overdraft fees, or resort to unfortunate payday loans.
Today, earned wage access (EWA) programs have evolved from the early adoption phase to an established business practice that is part of the benefits package offered to employees. When used effectively, EWA programs can help provide employees with greater financial security. In fact, according to an ADP study, Millennials (who make up a large portion of low-wage earners) would prioritize job offers from employers that offer EWA. Fifty-nine percent of Millennials would give priority to a job offer with an employer that offers earned wage access; and 75% say that availability of EWA would influence their acceptance of a job offer. This suggests that franchisees offering EWA can gain a competitive recruiting and retention advantage.
2) Flexible schedules
Franchises often are able to offer flexible schedules to their employees. This can be a significant perk for waged workers who may have other commitments outside of work, including other jobs. Flexible schedules can help employees balance their work and personal lives and can make it easier for them to remain at their job.
Some types of businesses have strict scheduling requirements, but others might have the opportunity to be more flexible. Regardless of needed coverage, when employers allow staff to choose their own hours and swap shifts, their employees can be more in control of the times they work, which helps reduce the likelihood of employees no-showing or quitting because they cannot get to work.
For employers who use an online scheduling app that has a social component, workers can coordinate shifts, offering both the employee and employer the benefit of having shifts covered and workers being more engaged at work. When this process is automated, franchise owners no longer need to be the coordinator and negotiator of shift coverage and can focus on more strategic tasks to help drive business growth.
3) Career development
Low-wage positions are often a building block toward other responsibilities and eventual management opportunities. It’s important for franchisees to build out career paths and ensure workers both understand and have access to the resources to help them on their journeys. Many low-wage workers have shown they are willing to stay with a company if they feel they are learning new skills and developing their career, thus promoting a positive work environment where people feel valued by actions, and not just words.
Having on-the-job training benefits both employers and employees. Employees who train other staff members often feel more engaged and appreciated, while employers are able to foster an authentic culture where people can thrive. When you invest in developing employees at every level of the business, it helps create a healthy work atmosphere that can, in turn, help reduce turnover and encourage workers to stay and grow within the company.
4) Employee benefits and perks
In today’s economy, offering employee perks and discount programs also can be a competitive advantage. While it might not be feasible to give everyone large increases in pay or impromptu bonuses, offering a “perks program” can create a similar effect and help keep employees on board.
Many franchises offer employee discount programs, which are often free to everyone at the company and are made available through private establishments that partner with payroll providers. These programs can give employees discounts on food, clothing, and even travel costs. Some franchises also offer health insurance and other benefits, which are designed to help businesses save money while still providing valuable benefits to workers.
Overall, offering useful benefits to employees that will improve both their work and home lives can be a successful way to hire and retain workers. With flexible schedules, early access to wages, career development opportunities, and employee perks, workers are more likely to feel valued by their employer and engaged in their work.
Neema Ardebili is Vice President, Global Franchise and Strategic Partnerships, at ADP. He has been with ADP for more than 15 years, was Global Coverage Officer of ADP’s Private Equity Practice from 2011–2015, and was appointed to lead ADP’s Franchise Channel in September 2015. For more information, visit ADP.com/SPARK.
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