PeopleMatter 2015 Survey Reveals Biggest Challenges and Opportunities in Managing an Hourly Workforce

July 27, 2015

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Survey of Nearly 1,000 Service Industry Professionals Finds 63 Percent Increase in Technology Adoption as More Companies Seek to Improve Hourly Worker Hiring and Training

CHARLESTON, S.C.July 27, 2015 —Today PeopleMatter announced the results of its 2014-2015 How Hourly Workforces Work survey. Conducted by The PeopleMatter Institute (PMI), the company’s research organization, the survey provides the most comprehensive analysis of service-industry workforces and operations, while uncovering the trends, challenges, and pain points impacting the way these organizations manage their hourly employees.

Now in its fourth year, the most recent How Hourly Workforces Work survey was completed by 974 individuals, representing all sectors, business sizes and roles in the service industry. These respondents shared their views on a wide range of topics, shedding light on the current state of the service industry today and how the use of workforce management software impacts their talent strategies. Based on these findings, PMI divided the results into three sections, General Findings, Hiring Results and Training Results, covering all aspects of how service industry organizations manage, hire and train their people. Additional survey findings on the topics of employee scheduling and engagement will be shared later this year.

General Findings

Among the General Findings was a significant increase in the number of organizations adopting technology to automate key workforce management processes. Overall, PMI found a 63 percent year-over-year increase in technology adoption, with a 75 percent decrease in the number of companies using paper or manual processes since 2012, as more companies recognize the benefits of automating their people-related tasks. One of the biggest challenges revealed was turnover, with respondents reporting annual turnover rates for their hourly employees to be 49 percent, with an average cost of $4,969 per employee. Respondents also reported year-over-year turnover increases of 39 percent for hourly workers and a staggering 314 percent increase in turnover for managers. In addition, the survey revealed the biggest concerns for 2015 to be healthcare reform, competition for talent, minimum wage increases, rising food costs and an unstable economy.

Hiring Results

PMI sought to uncover the biggest service-industry trends in how companies recruit, screen and onboard their talent and how they can improve overall hiring efficiency and effectiveness. As hiring picks up, finding high-quality candidates, and enough of them, proves to be the biggest hiring challenge; 67 percent of respondents need more applicants than they receive. At the same time, 70 percent struggle to identify top candidates, and three out of five respondents are unsatisfied with their applicant quality. Another major aspect of the hiring process is onboarding, and the survey found that 50 percent of respondents still rely on paper or manual processes to onboard new employees. However, the survey also revealed that companies experience a 124 percent increase in compliance when using workforce management system for onboarding.

Training Results

As market competition increases, service-industry businesses are turning to training to differentiate their brands on exceptional customer service, exemplified by the fact that nearly half of all respondents said training tools are their top investment for 2015. Respondents also shared their insights on the best methods for ongoing training (workforce management system, individual learning management system and printed materials) against the least effective methods (classroom/instructor led, videos and on-the-job training). In addition, the biggest training challenges were found to be building a bench of future leaders, ensuring training consistency across the company, testing training comprehension and tracking progress, and distributing and communicating training materials.

“Through our annual How Hourly Workforces Work survey, we’re able to keep our fingers on the pulse of service industry employers and understand the priorities, pain points and opportunities they face today,” said Nate DaPore, CEO and President of PeopleMatter. “With a still-uncertain economy, rising turnover and increased competition, the survey reveals a number of challenges impacting the industry. It also shows that the companies adopting advanced workforce management technology are best suited to address these challenges head on and to ensure a more effective approach to managing their hourly workforces.”


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