The evidence is clear – the labor market is dramatically tightening. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits continue to fall, with the Labor Department reporting initial claims for state unemployment benefits down by 5,000 reaching a seasonally adjusted 240,000 as of July 29. Data for the prior week was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported. This comes alongside economists forecasting claims falling to 242,000 in a recent poll by Reuters. So, with less people looking for jobs, how can employers attract the most qualified talent for hourly roles?
Unemployment claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 126 straight weeks. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller. The labor market is near full employment, with the jobless rate at 4.4 percent. While this is good news from an economic standpoint, it signals that employers will have to get increasingly creative with recruitment strategies.
With a tightening labor market, many of today’s hourly employees are getting pickier when it comes to choosing a workplace. This means that they have come to expect scheduling flexibility, instant communication and positive recognition at work – as a result, employers need to deliver these options to stand out from the competition. Here are three key strategies hourly employers can adopt to accommodate workers’ needs and attract qualified talent:
Offer self-service scheduling: With labor demand on the rise, many employees are likely to jump ship when their employer doesn’t accommodate their personal schedules. Therefore, it is more important than ever to empower employees to manage their own schedules. Self-service options through Digital Workplace applications like WorkJam provide a constant stream of shift swaps and updates that employees have come to expect.
Streamline two-way communication between management and coworkers: Because hourly employees now have the freedom to be selective about their workplace, they’re likely to choose an organization in which they feel their voice is heard. Providing options for constant communication between hourly associates and upper management not only keeps everyone on the same page, but also gives employees an outlet to share ideas, comments and customer feedback. In addition, offering platforms for employees to connect with their coworkers can help foster a sense of inclusivity and community that will boost retention.
Recognize employees for good work: Today’s hourly employees don’t just want a job that pays the bills – they also want to be valued and recognized. Incentivizing employees through rewards for a job well done can help promote positive customer service and employee loyalty. When associates feel that their jobs are meaningful, they will be more likely to stick around for the long-run.
The expense of turnover is glaring with the tightening labor market. It is now more important than ever for employers to engage and retain their top talent to build customer loyalty. To do so, organizations must empower and build trust with their hourly employees. By leveraging Digital Workplace apps like WorkJam, employers can provide their hourly workforces with opportunities for development and growth, as well as greater control over their schedules to achieve true work-life balance.