Is it time to have performance conversations with your hourly employees?

July 18, 2017 | Kronos | HCI
Share This

The hourly workforce continues to grow. It accounts for 58.7 percent of the U.S. workforce1 and 80 percent of all hires each year.2 It’s clear that hourly workers have skills, education, and knowledge that employers desperately need.

While there are some members of the hourly workforce who seek temporary work to pay their bills while pursuing other interests, nearly a third see their hourly jobs as the start of a career path with the companies they work for.3 With the cost of recruitment so high, doesn’t it make good business sense to focus on developing those employees who want to grow with the organization?

Incorporate hourly workers into your performance management process.
Most organizations have a performance management strategy in place for their salaried employees, but it’s not always applied as rigorously to their hourly employees. Why? It could be that managers haven’t been trained, or organizations don’t have the right tools and technologies in place to drive it. It may be that performance conversations are happening, but there isn’t a standard process in place that flows from the organizational strategy or culture. There is also the “they’re only seasonal” rationale, which causes organizations to skip investing the time to have performance conversations with their hourly employees.

Seasonal or not, it’s important to remember that hourly employees are vital to the frontline operation of any organization — they’re your salesperson on the store floor, your machine worker in a manufacturing plant, the nurse in the hospital, and even law enforcement officers on the street. Making these employees feel valued is critical to the success of your organization.

Meaningful performance conversations with managers go a long way.
Managers have the greatest impact on the employment experience.4 Do your managers have a clear understanding of expectations regarding performance conversations? Do your managers have access to the right sets of performance data? Are your managers setting goals with their hourly employees? Do managers revisit those goals and key success factors regularly through ongoing performance conversations? Do they know how to set goals or even hold their employees accountable for those once they are set?

To nurture and develop your hourly workforce, you need a flexible, data-driven performance management approach that enables your managers to continuously assess, coach, and recognize these employees for their achievements — just as you do for your salaried workforce. Ensuring that your hourly employees know what is expected of them and what success looks like helps drive engagement,5 which can lead to better business outcomes.

We can no longer be divided by how we’re paid.
As business leaders look to the future, the call to action is clear: Strategy and technology need to work together to unite what has separated employees in the past and drive engagement and results for the benefit of all. If you don’t have a performance management process in place for your hourly employees, you’re missing a tremendous opportunity to implement a philosophy that will help you engage and retain the talent you need to achieve your strategic goals. Performance management for the entire workforce is critical.


1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers, 2016 (2017), found at

2 Snagajob, State of the Hourly Workforce 2016 Annual Report (2017), at 4.

3 Ibid., at 18.

4 Gallup, Managers Account for 70% of Variance in Employee Engagement (2015), found at

5 Gallup, 70% of U.S. Workers Not Engaged at Work (2017), found at