The way companies communicate with hourly workers contradicts the need

“We need to talk about your flair!”

You’d think that’s the kind of conversation most hourly workers have with their managers. The famous scene from Office Space where Stan (Chotchkie’s manager played by writer/director Mike Judge) admonishes Joanna (Jennifer Aniston) certainly exemplifies a common awkward interaction between a shift manager and a waitress not fulfilling the requirements of some unnecessary dress code.

But when actual hourly workers (as opposed to funny characters in a movie) communicate with their managers, the scenario is quite different.

According to our Profile of the Hourly Worker research, 85 percent of hourly workers are not like Joanna. Employees have a high rating when asked how satisfied they are with the quality of communication they have with their direct supervisor. The same percent are highly satisfied with the amount of communication they have with their manager.

How Satisfied Are You With Manager Communication

And, as one might expect, hourly workers communicate with their managers often. When asked how often their manager or supervisor communicates with them, 51 percent said at least once per day (with 31 percent reporting several times per day) and another 25 percent claimed that communication happens a few times per week.

So 76 percent of hourly workers communicate with their manager at least a few times per week. Yet, when we revisit how those communications often happen — sometimes via Facebook group, text message or personal email accounts — we see a contradiction.

Companies wish to communicate with their hourly workers with great frequency, yet are not equipping these workers to have appropriate, private, secure and mobile mechanisms for communication.

How does your company communicate with its hourly employees?

What about the ones who are mobile or not working in desk jobs like Joanna? Or the front-line factory worker? Or the home health care worker? We’ve illustrated these workers are mobile, engaged and willing to communicate and contribute. What’s stopping you from empowering them?

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. 

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