WCI, Inc
July 2, 2024

27% want a union

Legion Technologies has released its annual State of the Hourly Workforce Report to provide businesses with a look into the wants and needs of their hourly workers and managers. The report, which surveyed more than 1,500 hourly workers and 550 managers in North America, details the urgent need for employers to raise retention rates and boost morale among their workforce by improving the employee experience. According to the findings, only half of hourly workers believe their employer cares about creating a good work experience for them and their coworkers, with 41 percent reporting that their company has not done anything to improve the workplace in the past 12 months.

Hourly employees are incredibly unhappy, and, considering 27 percent wish there had been a unionization effort at their organization in the last year, they’re ready to take matters into their own hands. The report also revealed that 50 percent of hourly workers plan to leave their jobs within the next 12 months, with nearly half of those hoping to leave within the next 3-6 months. As businesses in industries that rely on hourly workers struggle to fill open positions, they must restore hourly employees’ confidence in their ability to provide a good work experience.

Understanding what hourly workers want in their jobs can guide employers in building a better workplace experience, and it’s clear that these employees greatly appreciate the human side of work. When asked what they valued most about their current role:

  • 69 percent said the people they work with;
  • 60 percent said the work they do; and
  • 52 percent said the schedule flexibility.

“Hourly workers care about schedule flexibility, recognition for a job well done, and benefits like the ability to be paid early. The interest in unionization indicates a lack of action from employers to meet these needs,” said Sanish Mondkar, founder and CEO of Legion Technologies. “While managers play a significant role in creating a great employee experience, they are overwhelmed with rote administrative work, schedule management, and compliance tasks, leaving little time to focus on the most important aspects of their job, such as coaching and team development. The new imperative for employers is enabling managers and hourly workers to focus on the human side of work by embracing AI and automation to eliminate mundane and repetitive tasks.”

Legion’s report also uncovered:

  • Rising unionization efforts and labor movements paint a portrait of growing dissatisfaction: Among the employees who experienced a labor movement in their workplace, the top factors that inspired it include low wages (68 percent), poor employee benefits (56 percent), poor work-life balance (51 percent) and a lack of schedule flexibility (46 percent).
  • The hourly worker attrition crisis is ongoing, and retention will remain a daunting challenge in the year ahead, especially with younger generations: Continuing the trend from last year, an astonishing 76% of hourly employees aged 18-24 plan to leave their jobs in the next 12 months—a drastic increase from those aged 35-44 (56 percent), 45-54 (44 percent), and 55-64 (34 percent).
  • Greater flexibility, benefits, and rewards lure hourly workers to new job opportunities, making them key to retention and recruitment: When asked what incentives, besides pay, would drive hourly workers to take a new job, 57 percent said flexibility to pick up extra shifts and swap shifts, 56 percent said greater recognition and rewards and 36 percent said the ability to be paid early. However, the ability to be paid early was much higher amongst younger generations, with 43 percent of employees aged 18-24 and 47 percent of employees aged 25-34 saying it would persuade them to take a new job.
  • Managers see the potential of AI to increase efficiency and engagement: When asked to rank which tasks they most wanted to have intelligently automated, managers selected “employee scheduling” as their top choice. If their employer could reduce the amount of time spent on administrative tasks, 67 percent of managers would use that time coaching and developing their teams.
  • Managers want to provide more flexibility for their teams. Still, they’re struggling to match the needs of their employees with those of the business: One in four managers reported that the most difficult part of managing schedules is matching employee needs to the needs of the business, and nearly as many (24 percent) said staying within labor budgets is the most difficult.

Source: Legion Technologies.

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