9 Performance Management Best Practices for Hourly Workers

9 minutes read

Many employers seek ways to improve their performance management system—and for companies managing an hourly workforce, the challenge is even greater. How do managers connect with employees in a low-wage, high-turnover environment? How do employers ensure performance reviews are conducted meaningfully and consistently across a sprawling organization?

These are good questions. Because a well-designed performance management system has the power to motivate employees, develop in-house talent and improve engagement—yes, even for the hourly workforce. Better yet, there are some characteristics that effective programs share. By employing these nine performance management best practices, you can take both your program and people to the next level.

Best Practice #1: Be Transparent about Your Performance Management Process  

Few employees like surprises, including hourly employees. From the time of hiring, make sure employees have a solid grasp of your performance management process—how it works, what happens when, what benchmarks you measure. Address it in your employee handbook and during onboarding/orientation. Even new employees have realistic expectations about the performance management process and what it means.

Best Practice #2: Be Consistent in Administering Your Performance Management Program

Hourly workers have strong feelings about receiving fair treatment. Make sure your managers use the same yardstick when evaluating performance across various shifts, departments and worksites. One benefit of an automated performance management system is that it creates consistency throughout the organization: everyone follows the same process.  

According to a study by Cornell University’s Industrial Labor Relations School, another way to ensure consistency when evaluating hourly employees is to hold group “calibration sessions” for managers, creating universal definitions of high, low and average low performance that can be applied across the board.

Best Practice #3: Set Clear Goals for Employees from the Outset

You may think your employees know what you expect of them, but according to a Gallup poll of 550 employers, half the workforce does not. Which raises the question: how can you possibly measure performance without clear tasks and goals to measure against?

This underscores the importance of creating detailed, accurate job descriptions for all workers. If your performance management software offers goal setting/goal tracking capabilities, be sure to use them.

Best Practice #4: Include 360-Degree Feedback in Your Performance Management Process

Collecting 360-degree feedback—input from coworkers, customers, direct reports, etc.—is very valuable and allows employers to quantify often subjective characteristics like attitude, teamsmanship and willingness to go the extra mile.

Your performance management software should simplify the 360-degree feedback process for you. It should facilitate the preparation and distribution of 360-degree surveys, automatically send out status updates when needed, and even generate summary reports. 

Best Practice #5: Give Employees Feedback Year Round

Many employers are making quarterly employee/manager check-ins part of their performance management process, and for good reason. For one thing, it allows workers to improve their performance in real-time, which benefits everyone.     

For another, research indicates that offering strength-based feedback lowers turnover, a chronic problem for companies with an hourly workforce.

To get the most from check-ins, provide your managers with guidelines for offering specific, accurate, actionable feedback that employees can put to use.  

Best Practice #6: Document Everything

If you are going to use check-ins, managers will need a vehicle for documenting them. For this reason, your performance management software should feature journaling capabilities, allowing managers to summarize employee discussions, attach recommendation letters and more. Needless to say, documenting year-round performance-related activities will result in fuller, more complete annual reviews.     

Best Practice #7: Offer Employees a Path to Advancement

Not all employers managing an hourly workforce provide employees with opportunities to advance their skills and/or careers, but doing so can improve performance and retention—while giving you an edge on recruiting.

If your performance management software includes a “learning portal” to online content, courses and certifications, use it. Make sure managers and employees know about it and incorporate it into performance reviews and goal-setting conversations.

Best Practice #8: Recognize Great Performance

Do you have a formal employee recognition program—not one based on years of service, but on outstanding performance? Because chances are, your hourly workers are hungry for recognition, and a little can go a long way.    

Studies find that regular recognition not only fuels employee satisfaction, but retention, motivation and productivity. So whether you reward exceptional work activity with bonuses, time off, gift cards or even a special parking space, make recognition part of your performance management program.

Best Practice #9: Leverage Performance Management Technology

Is your current HR software helping you implement performance management best practices, or is it holding you back? And is it geared to your hourly workforce?

EPAY’s performance management system is designed to help employers operate with transparency and consistency. It offers easy goal-setting/goal-tracking and journaling capabilities, a powerful 360-degree feedback program, a robust online learning portal and more.

Plus, it’s part of EPAY’s integrated HCM solution, which is specifically designed for employers managing an hourly workforce. Learn more about our performance management software—and then, let us answer your questions. We can help!  

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