Why employee engagement must extend to the casual workforce

Why employee engagement must extend to the casual workforce

Engaging with your casual workforce is a must, because employees who are disengaged will not hesitate to move on elsewhere for more engaging opportunities, writes Natalie Chrara

It should come as no surprise that employee engagement is a key factor in retaining staff and creating a good workplace culture. It can result in numerous benefits for employees, including increased productivity, improved corporate performance and higher customer satisfaction. Engaged employees also make the lives of the HR teams much easier, as employees who are engaged are more connected and aligned to corporate objectives, more likely to drive innovation and collaboration with others, and are generally happier. They are more likely to go the extra mile, rather than watching the clock all day waiting for knock-off time, or worse, searching for a new job entirely.

Global analytics firm, Gallup, recently found that engaged employees and business units realise a 41 per cent reduction in absenteeism and a 17 per cent increase in productivity. In addition, highly engaged business units achieve a 10 per cent increase in customer ratings. Gallup also found that in organisations that commonly experienced high turnover, business units with engaged workforces achieved 24 per cent less turnover.

It’s important, however, not to focus solely on permanent fulltime staff when it comes to employee engagement. HR also need to ensure their casuals are engaged, as many businesses (particularly those in hospitality and retail) have a number of casuals making up their workforce.

So how can HR leaders ensure they are engaging the casual workforce?

“Organisations that commonly experienced high turnover, business units with engaged workforces achieved 24 per cent less turnover”

A well-defined on-boarding process is crucial
According to Gartner’s Future of HR survey, 51 per cent of HR leaders claim that improving the employee experience is a priority. And the employee experience starts with the on-boarding process. Having a well-defined on-boarding process ensures casuals feel connected with an organisation’s culture and part of the team right from the start. HR teams who put the time into on-boarding new staff will likely find that they retain a significantly higher number of staff, as employees will feel welcomed and valued from the get-go. This is especially important for those hiring casuals, because it is common for casual attrition to be high, and many casuals to not even show up for their very first shift.

Business solutions allowing a mobile on-boarding experience can assist in engaging casuals with a good experience. An on-boarding process that is paperless – such as an app-based solution that allows candidates to receive and accept offers, complete their on-boarding requirements, agree to company policies, upload photos of required documents and accept shifts immediately – can ensure new casuals are brought into the fold straight away.

In addition to the benefits to casuals, an automated on-boarding process also reduces administration time. With high turnover of casuals, there is every chance one person may return to work multiple times for a business, and with a digital record of staff in the system, they can easily and quickly be re-started at any time.

Have the right workforce management solutions in place
Since casuals are paid differently, receive different benefits and operate under different awards and regulations compared with full-time workers, traditional HR platforms are not necessarily geared to support their varying needs and requirements. With growth and advances in technology, as well as savvy end-users, workforce management solutions catering to casuals’ needs and requirements, can help to build engagement between casuals and their employer.

“Technology can play a big role in facilitating communication and feedback, as well as showing how engaged casuals are”

While companies generally need to have separate administrative systems and records for their casuals, having the right workforce management solution in place can make it easier to report and provide metrics for casuals. This enables HR to monitor casuals to ensure high productivity across the business, but also means that praise can be offered to any employees that are excelling or going above and beyond. By having better real-time visibility of worker performance and hours worked, HR can have a stronger understanding of whether their employees are engaged with their roles, and what to do if they are not.

Encourage communication
A key factor in ensuring you are keeping your casuals engaged is encouraging honest and open communication. This allows casuals to share their thoughts and ideas, receive constructive feedback and be recognised for their work. Communication also helps managers recognise disengagement earlier and resolve issues proactively. Without this, employers leave themselves open to the risk that unhappy or disengaged casuals will simply start searching for work elsewhere, leaving HR to cover their shifts.

With casuals often working in different locations and at varied hours, technology can play a big role in facilitating communication and feedback, as well as showing how engaged casuals are. Workforce management solutions offer HR teams the ability for two-way messaging with casuals, statistics on shift uptake and completion and the ability for casuals to ‘rate their shift’.

Engaging casuals is a must
Engaging with your casuals is not a bonus, it’s a requirement. This is because employees who are not engaged will not hesitate to move on elsewhere, seeking out better engagement. More engaged employees, no matter their employment status, will be happier, more productive and this will make HR managers’ lives much easier too.

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