The importance of understanding the hourly worker audience

Whether you are an internal communications professional, a human resources manager or a marketer, at some point you’ve heard a professor or speaker tell you that the first rule of communications is to know your audience. This is true of any communications effort, including when your company has to communicate with its hourly workers.

Understanding the hourly worker is imperative for any company with a large hourly workforce. And it’s more than knowing their salary, education level and work history. To cultivate an hourly workforce that is engaged, invested in the company’s mission, aspirational in their job trajectory and optimally productive, you need to know as much about them as possible to deliver the right information and inspiration in the most effective way.

That is the primary reason Red e App and Edison Research endeavored to research the hourly worker in the U.S. You, as a communications point for hourly workers, need to know them better.

We’ve already shared and discussed the hourly worker’s attitude toward job satisfaction.

How satisfied are you with your current job

Some of you were surprised to learn that over half of hourly workers expressed a high level of satisfaction and only 12 percent had a low level. This certainly breeds optimism when dealing with your hourly workers (though you should survey your own company to find out how that question would be answered within your specific workforce).

However, when you dissect answers to other attitude questions by those who answered high vs. medium vs. low, you see interesting trends that emerge and insights you can leverage.

Chief among the information we wished to discover about the hourly worker (beyond their level of job satisfaction) was what they thought of their managers, their company and more. We’ll be exploring each of those in depth in the coming weeks to help you better understand this work segment.

As you review the data, watch for the subtleties in answers. Look not just at the majority number (i.e., the 52% with high job satisfaction) but also at how the other percentages break down. We’ll help you explore those topics and see differences in how those who have high job satisfaction differ from those who have low job satisfaction.

So, before we dive into the attitudes of hourly workers . . . 

  • How would you describe the attitudes of yours?
  • Are they generally positive?
  • Are there lots of complaints?
  • Do your workers hem and haw about their work, or do they tackle their tasks with a great attitude?

Do share your answers in the comments. We’d love to compare notes.

Editor’s Note: Profile of the Hourly Worker’s first report, Demographics, Devices and Disconnection, was released in November 2015. It is an independent survey conducted by Edison Research on behalf of Red e App to discover insights and details about the United States’ hourly workforce. To request a copy of the report, just drop us your name and email address on the report page.

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