Survey provides insight into what employers need to know as they respond to ongoing uncertainty and shifts in hourly employee behavior.

The future of today’s labor market continues to evolve daily. The May 2020 unemployment numbers, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, were expected to remain on a steady incline due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, the data surprisingly showed millions of jobs added to the economy. The nation’s unemployment rates have changed drastically, going from record highs to record lows in just six months. As a result, uncertainty still remains and companies are forced to speculate on what the future may hold.

Are we heading into a full recovery?

Will there be another dip?

Can I scale my workforce, or will I need to consider another round of furloughs?

Will my workforce show up to work?

Answers to these questions are critical to employers of hourly workers. These employers must consider the scalability and reliability of their workers to ensure production and operations not only resume but ramp up momentum while simultaneously responding to new obstacles imposed by the pandemic.

Over the past several months, companies have displayed notable resilience and adaptability in light of these tumultuous times, such as Ford, which shifted its operations and made critical pivots to stay in business. For many, these pivots were considered “short-term” survival strategies – identifying new ways to serve customers, meet demand, or deliver a critical products. And while we are optimistic COVID-19 may one day be a distant memory, business operations and the manner in which workers engage with work may never return to “normal.”

Companies that recognize and embrace this reality have a better chance at long-term recovery and growth. These are the forward-thinking companies that are strategically exploring the need for scalability and flexibility across their organizations. Facing the uncertainty of the post-COVID economy, companies, especially those reliant on hourly workers, will need access to a larger yet dependable pool of employees without breaking the bank.

A reliable workforce is not a concern solely of the present. Prior to COVID-19, absenteeism was at staggering and crippling rates – costing companies hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost productivity, overhead costs by redundant staffing agencies, and overtime pay. Post COVID-19, absenteeism is still plaguing those that rely on the hourly workforce. Which begs the question, why is this the case when unemployment rates are in flux and the need for work is in high demand?

While a vision of the future workforce remains unclear, data serves as a foundation on which to assess what employees and employers are looking for in a compatible working relationship. Doing so allows for informed adoption of necessary technologies that meet the needs of today’s workforce and implementation of rebuilding a robust organization.

A recent survey conducted by the Greene Group reveals that choice plays a key factor in delivering what employees and employers need most. Data shows that 70% of hourly employees surveyed want the flexibility to select their own shifts, and 75% would like to use an app to do so.

This same survey found that pre-COVID-19, over 56% of workers were looking for jobs, actively seeking employment opportunities that provided them with the choice to scale their hours. But due to COVID-19, 42% of hourly workers saw their pay and hours decrease. How much greater is the need for hourly opportunities with shift flexibility due to the financial and familial stresses of the pandemic? The demand is significant.

covid-19 impacts on hourly workforce

To recover from economic lapse and ensure the longevity of business growth and sustainability, companies must deviate from traditional means of operations. The utilization of technology and incorporation of flexibility to recruit a ready and able workforce is a proven and sure path forward. By simply giving workers the ability to choose when and how often they work, employers can have a more dependable pipeline of trained and eager-to-work employees experiencing 95% fill rates for shifts while receiving real-time analysis into workforce productivity, 24/7 communication channels with workers, and the capability to conduct contactless onboarding, recruitment, and shift scheduling.

Consequently, absenteeism and the need to rely on overtime workers and multiple staffing agencies will be a thing of the past.

In today’s uncertain times, companies need solutions they can count on – and that starts by looking at the needs of their workers and shifting away from the “way it has always been done.” This shift solves both the certainty needed by companies and the flexibility desired by workers.

The new normal may still be unknown – but the reality is businesses will need to adapt to whatever the future may hold. The good news is companies can count on their hourly workers to deliver for them once they start responding to their needs. I encourage businesses to focus on listening, responding and adapting to their workers’ needs.

tana greene greene group
Tana Greene

Since co-founding Greene Group in 1988, a national staffing company that grew to operate in more than 20 states, Tana Greene has been on a mission to help people. With over 30-plus years driving worker optimization, Tana saw first-hand the changing needs of the hourly workforce model. In 2017 she guided the company’s transformation to become MyWorkChoice—the first-to-market solution that bridges the gap between technology, human resource management, and hourly staffing. She’s known among clients as the “go-to” resource to make yourself the most desirable hourly employer in town.

Tana is the author of Creating a World of Difference, and she frequently speaks to audiences not only about her approach to business, but also her own life story and experience with domestic violence.