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Overcoming the Challenge of Retaining Hourly Workers


The work of a talent acquisition professional doesn’t end once a candidate is hired. Retaining your workers is just as crucial as hiring them. 

The cost of turnover can be immense to your business. It includes the cost of screening and onboarding, training, and lost productivity. High turnover rates also negatively impact the engagement of your current employees, which increases the likelihood that they too will leave in the future. 

Why does churn happen?

Before Recruitment  

1. Lack of applicant engagement

From the time an applicant applies, to the time they start engaging with your brand, they need at least 5 touchpoints within the first 48 hours. If you haven’t done this, you’ve already lost their attention. 

2. Using the wrong communication channel

What we’ve seen is that email only has an 11% open rate. If you’re only using email for communication, you’ll see very low engagement. SMS, on the other hand, has an 83% open rate, and 90% of those texts are read within the first 10 seconds. 

3. Too many application form questions 

If your first initial application form has more than 10 questions, your conversation rate is going to plummet. The ideal length is between 5-10 questions. Remember that applicants are applying to multiple places, and don’t necessarily have time to fill out meaty forms. 

4. Lack of automation and feeling of progression

Candidates are ideally trying to finish their applications in one sitting. If you’ve set in manual blockers (i.e. “thank you for applying, we’ll be in touch), you’ll see a lot more drop off. 

5. Get an interview or video interview set up ASAP

Your number one goal following an application is getting a candidate scheduled for an interview, and into the funnel. Give them the ability to schedule interviews themselves, but put limits to what times they can select. You don’t want candidates to book interviews for 2-3 weeks out, so restrict your availability to within 5-7 days.

After Recruitment

1. Insufficient guidance and lack of training 

It all comes down to why your people are there: they want to make money. It has to be easy for them to get up-and-running. 

2. Barriers to earning

If it’s not incredibly quick and easy for them to start earning, they will churn. You have to remove obstacles within the training or within the app that creates friction. 

3. Easy to switch to the competition 

If your platform or app has insufficient training or the barriers to entry that we’ve mentioned, there’s a good chance they’ll start applying for jobs again. Whether it’s rideshare, food delivery, or one of the many other gig industries, there is plenty of competition out there for them to go to.

4. No sense of community

This has long been an issue for on-demand work, only amplified due to COVID. Workers that don’t feel a sense of belonging or culture are going to be less engaged, and may have a higher chance of churning. 

5. Millennials have fewer qualms ‘job-hopping’ 

The global workforce is becoming increasingly Millennial (and Gen Z). They’re incredibly savvy with apps, platforms, and on-demand work. They also have a very different perspective of work and are much more likely to switch jobs and companies multiple times throughout their career.

Maximizing candidate retention 

1. Engage, engage, engage

It is SO important in today’s environment. We’re starting to see recruitment and marketing teams partner more closely as constant engagement with your candidates is crucial to your success. 

2. Enrich automation 

You want the candidate experience to feel personalized while being as automated as possible. Automating stages will increase the number of candidate touchpoints while allowing recruiters to manage greater pipelines.  

Hiring flows in Fountain

Hiring flows in Fountain

3. Actionable communication 

Every stage within the interview process that has an actionable item for a candidate needs to be followed by the proper messaging. 

4. Showcase your brand 

As gig work is becoming more normalized, workers are gravitating towards companies that have recognized brands. Workers that feel a strong sense of belonging to a companies brand are much more likely to stick with that company for the long-term.

5. Create a sense of “self-serve” 

Allow candidates to put themselves through the process. If they can see that they’re progressing through the funnel without having to speak with a recruiter, and within a 10 minutes or less time period, you have a winning recipe. 

The combination of engagement and allowing candidates to progress themselves through the recruitment process is crucial. Once you understand why you are experiencing high levels of churn, you can then follow the steps listed above to greatly increase your candidate retention rates.