In the last few years, technology giants and internet companies have made big strides in becoming more transparent. Buffer shared salary details and employee demographics. In a bid to compete for consumer trust, others have used storytelling techniques and design cues to closely connect themselves to present and future users. Even Facebook has ventured into worlds formerly untapped. Last year, Mark Zuckerberg posted photos of a cavernous data center located in the Arctic Circle. What was once considered prized, closely-guarded intellectual property has suddenly become part of a transparency arms race.
Of course, each of these companies has goals. Buffer wants to hire smarter people. Companies embracing storytelling are looking to build trust with new customers. Facebook wants to be a leader in efficient, innovative and environmentally-sound data centers -- the engines that are keeping our digital economy moving.
For hourly employees, many of these same tactics also apply. Your employees are a conduit to your ultimate success. Being transparent about your corporate goals, objectives, and mission helps make it clear the work that needs to be accomplished. And, it also builds happiness and trust with your employees. That couldn’t happen at a more important time. According to a Gallup Poll, growing numbers of hourly workers in the United States are dissatisfied with aspects of their jobs like job security, the opportunity for promotion, the flexibility of hours, and recognition for their accomplishments.
Here are eight tips on working to make your workforce feel appreciated, engaged, and happy, no matter the industry:
While smartphones and mobile devices are must-have tools for knowledge workers and technologists, sometimes they’re seen as detractors to productivity and even safety in the hourly workforce. It’s just not possible to use a device when an employee is manning the front lines of a fast food restaurant or assembling machinery in a factory.
But, there are good times to advocate technology and find opportunities to show your staff an openness and willingness to try things out.
1. Find points of entry. Your employees likely use their mobile device for nearly every aspect of their lives, from texting family and to keeping up with friends on social networks. Look for technology that fits into the workflows they’re familiar with -- texting, scrolling through social feeds and messaging others.
2. Improve a process. Sometimes, implementing technology can help you understand how to solve critical pain points while also giving your employees the flexibility and more importantly, the freedom to use technology in different ways. Whether it’s payment solutions or point of purchase software on the front lines, or behind-the-scenes in the back of the house, find the area where you're experiencing a specific challenge and see if there's a better way to do it.
3. Give them all the schedules. One of the simplest ways to let your employees use technology in the workplace is through employee scheduling. With Branch Messenger, managers can quickly capture and upload their weekly schedules, which are immediately available to employees wherever they are -- whether that’s a smartphone or a home computer. The employees have the ability to view or swap schedules as needed with little to no interaction from the manager, other than a quick swipe of an approval. It’s the perfect way to give your staff responsibility while saving everyone much-needed time.
4. Transparency in company goals. Managers who can clearly communicate company goals, missions, and objectives showcase the ability to give their employees access to the tools they need to be successful. Intangible as they are, employees who understand what they’re working for are much more impactful in their daily work, have higher trust, and are more engaged. That leads to higher levels of productivity for everyone.
5. It’s all about the fit. Don’t assume your staff knows where they fit in your grand scheme -- tell them. By being open with employees about their place in the goals makes them feel truly connected to the mission you’re undertaking.
6. Embrace your work family. We’re around our coworkers about as long as we are with our own family. Whether it’s a team-building exercise, or a post work happy hour -- making the commitment to regularly creating an opportunity to spend time celebrating your employee’s accomplishments outside the work environment helps to build trust, foster stronger working relationships, and increase employee engagement. Many hourly workers juggle families and other side jobs, so plan accordingly for what your business allows. For some organizations that could be as simple as a recreation league at a local gym, or maybe even getting your company to give them a few hours to donate for a local cause.
7. Tell your employees “Thanks!” Sounds simple, right? But, at the end of a long day, the two most important words you can tell an employee is ‘thank you.’
8. Get creative. You don’t have to work in Silicon Valley to embrace your employee’s creative side. When you solicit your staff for ideas, you’d be surprised at their involvement. Whether it’s trying to come up with solutions to tricky problems or looking for a really creative marketing tactic, you can reach out to staff to ask them for their input. They see the front lines of your work every day, and chance are they’ve had lots of time to think through the challenges and see through the noise to find possible solutions. Whether you post a question to a private employee discussion channel or pin up a flyer in the crew room, asking employees for their input is a great way to think about issues in new ways.
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