It's a thankless task, for employers and especially, for employees who try to coexist under an hourly wage pay structure. But there are ways to get the most out of your hourly staff and a lot of it has to do with bringing good jobs into the hourly pay infrastructure at your company.
Says who? Says a new study by an industry think tank that sheds new light on methods companies use to successfully motivate hourly wage workers.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky and Boston College, and labelled The "CitiSales Study," by lead researcher Jennifer Swanberg, is touted by study providers as one of the first major studies to focus on employee engagement among lower-wage hourly workers. Its main benefit, from this viewpoint, is that it finds six workplace dimensions that may be essential components to employee engagement and customer satisfaction in the retail industry.In particular, the CitiSales report found that supervisor effectiveness as the most powerful driver of employee engagement and customer satisfaction, along with five other workplace dimensions: opportunities for career development; climate of teamwork; job fit and adequate resources to get the job done; schedule satisfaction; and schedule flexibility.
“Particularly interesting is that five of the six workplace dimensions predict the sixth dimension, supervisor effectiveness, which in turn drives employee engagement and customer satisfaction,” noted Swanberg, executive director of the UK Institute for Workplace Innovation. “We hope that companies use these findings to promote excellence for their employees, customers and business.”
The study also defines workplace flexibility for hourly workers in retail jobs. Flexible work practices for hourly workers at “CitiSales” primarily include strategies that give employees control over their schedule and provide accommodation/job security around work-life conflicts. Overall three-quarters of employees reported some control over their work schedule. Seventy-six percent of employees report having some to a lot of input into their weekly schedule, and 76 percent report that their schedule preferences are considered almost always or always. Over 90 percent of senior managers report that offering workplace flexibility to hourly workers makes good business sense. Findings also demonstrate that access to flexibility was predictive of both employee engagement and customer satisfaction.
The “CitiSales” company which was the subject of the study operates more than 6,000 stores throughout the United States. The "CitiSales Study" used a multi-method data collection strategy including employee surveys and interviews with 41 senior “CitiSales” managers. A total of 6,085 employees, both in hourly and salary positions, within 388 stores in the three geographical regions of the United States completed the survey. The findings released today focus on information gathered from 3,903 workers in hourly, front-line jobs.
"This study shows that investment in hourly workers is good for business and good for employees,” said Helen Neuborne, senior program officer of the Ford Foundation. “It provides practical recommendations to help employers build quality job opportunities for their hourly employees while simultaneously increasing the company’s bottom line.”
I'm not sure I'd go that far. But any way to close the gap between hour workers and corporate managers is a good thing. Of course, maybe a raise for your best hourly workers is a better idea.