2022 Outlook: Top 5 HR Priorities for Employers That Manage an Hourly Workforce

11 minutes read

Happy 2022! If you’re like many employers, you’re welcoming the new year with both cautious optimism and determination. HR-wise, now is the time to address your key workforce challenges while positioning your people for future success. 

At EPAY Systems, we serve employers that manage an hourly workforce, and thanks to our daily interactions with their HR teams, we know what tops their 2022 to-do lists.  

The top five HR priorities we identified within our network revolve around challenges like retention, safety and labor compliance. Needless to say, we are partnering with our customers to address them quickly, making these our top HR priorities, too:

Time and attendance apps with GPS verification help curb time theft, which costs employers an estimated $400 billion per year. Because data is uploaded automatically, there’s no manual inputting required—which not only saves time but eliminates human error.

However, one of the challenges of converting to such mobile HR software is that employers may not use it to full advantage. If deployed hastily, managers may overlook valuable features of their company’s new time and attendance app. If not supported by thoughtful HR policies, employees may still find ways to circumvent the system. 

With this in mind, we offer you five best practices for mobile time and attendance tracking. Because when time and attendance apps are used the way they’re intended, productivity goes up, labor costs go down, employees are paid correctly and employers stay compliant.

1. Improve Recruiting and Retention Results

As the Great Resignation continues, employers continue to grapple with an acute labor shortage. One of the lessons learned in 2021: raising wages isn’t enough, even for hourly workers.  

For one thing, inflation is erasing some of those gains, especially for low-wage earners. For another, many workers are facing burnout, worn down by heavy workloads, unrelenting COVID fears, childcare issues, etc. 

Beyond competitive wages, the key to attracting and retaining strong hourly workers in 2022 may very well lie in enhancing the worker experience—not by reinventing the wheel, but by making a series of modest-yet-meaningful changes. 

That could include offering something many hourly workers seek in today’s employment market, such as scheduling flexibility. Adding an on-demand pay option is becoming an increasingly-popular move. And ensuring a smooth mobile experience when candidates apply via smartphone is a must when courting Gen Z workers. 

In short, the secret to attracting and keeping great workers simply may be to create a more worker-centric environment that makes every day life a little better—showing employees that they’re truly valued. 

2. Get a Better Handle on COVID Management

Employers continue to wrestle with the issue of COVID-19 in the workplace, especially as the highly-contagious Omicron variant gains ground. While the Biden administration’s employer mandate remains tied up in court, the burden is on employers to develop their own COVID policies

Based on 2020 and 2021 learnings, an effective COVID protection plan may include:

  • Encouraging or requiring COVID-19 vaccinations  
  • Recommending or requiring masking and social distancing  
  • Requiring regular testing for unvaccinated workers 
  • Putting strong communication protocols in place  
  • Supporting workers’ mental health needs 

Needless to say, most employers need a foolproof system for scheduling and monitoring testing outcomes and vaccination status. Employers maintaining records manually might consider adopting an automated, software-based solution.

3. Enhance Workforce Resilience Via Training/Upskilling

Stung by the labor shortage and increased absenteeism, employers are seeking fresh ways to stay ahead of future labor disruptions. For many, the key to boosting workforce agility lies in cross-training and upskilling employees.

Since the pandemic began, the popularity of online training programs has skyrocketed. According to one recent survey, 75% of employers now rely on e-learning solutions in order to upskill their workforce. 

Not only is online learning the go-to solution for remote and distributed workers, studies indicate that e-learning boosts knowledge retention, presumably because workers have more control over how they consume content and how fast they learn. 

And there’s an important secondary benefit: robust training programs increase employee engagement and retention, creating a more loyal, experienced workforce.    

4. Raise Your Labor Compliance Game

While the Trump administration’s Department of Labor was famously employer-friendly, in 2021, the pendulum swung the other way. Under the Biden administration, the DOL is cracking down on wage and hour violations, including employee misclassifications, unpaid overtime, and failure to pay minimum wage.

In addition to more vigorous enforcement, the Wage and Hour Division has reinstated Obama-era “double damages” rolled back under Trump. So, not only are employers under closer scrutiny, noncompliance penalties may well be higher.  

Compliance has always been tricky for employers managing an hourly workforce, but now is the time to raise the bar. This includes ensuring accurate time-tracking and payroll processing—even if it means upgrading your existing time and attendance and payroll software. It also may require more rigorous manager training, since noncompliance issues often start at the manager/employee level. 

5. Leverage HR Analytics More Effectively

Interest in HR analytics has been on the rise. However, for some employers with an hourly workforce, it hasn’t yet resulted in adoption due to cost and implementation hurdles.

However, 2022 may be the year that changes. After all, HR analytics are key to helping employers manage and monitor other priorities identified here. 

For example, HR analytics can reveal essential hiring data, such as where your best applicants come from and what percentage of new hires stay. HR analytics can not only monitor retention statistics, but identify turnover hotspots—and even predict future hiring needs.  

In addition, some HR analytics solutions can help employers better understand their labor costs and monitor labor compliance—all essential to operating more effectively in 2022. 

Get Help Addressing Your HR Priorities

If you’re an employer that manages hourly workers, EPAY’s complete HCM platform is designed specifically for you. We are continuously improving our software and services to help our customers meet their evolving challenges. 

Right now, some of our most timely, in-demand solutions include: 

Want to tackle your most pressing HR priorities? Start the year right: Ask for more information about these solutions and find out how we can help.

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