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Transitioning to Skills-Based Hiring Practices for Hourly Workers

While overall unemployment has returned to pre-pandemic levels, some industries that rely on hourly workers are still embroiled in a labor crisis. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate remains at 3.6%, close to the 3.5% at the end of 2019.

In its 2023 State of the Hourly Workforce Report, Legion Technologies surveyed over 1,500 hourly employees and 600 managers about the most significant challenges hourly workers face. Schedule flexibility has become a critical issue for both employees and managers – even more so than competitive pay – with 96% of hourly employees saying that flexible scheduling is the number-one benefit motivating them to take a new job and 48% of managers saying it is the most challenging part of retaining their current hourly workers. 

Related: Skills-First Hiring to Become Gold Standard for Recruiting | Talroo 

In this competitive job market, traditional hiring practices often fall short when filling hourly roles effectively. While qualifications and experience have traditionally been the primary focus of hiring decisions, a shift towards skills-based hiring is becoming increasingly important, especially for hourly positions. Hourly employees aren’t just leaving their jobs in droves; they’re leaving their current industry entirely.

Understanding the Importance of Skills-Based Hiring for Hourly Roles

Hourly workers are the backbone of many industries, including retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. However, traditional hiring methods that rely solely on qualifications and experience may not accurately reflect a candidate’s ability to perform the job effectively. 

Related: Talent Acquisition in the Age of Skills-Based Hiring | Talroo

By shifting the focus to skills-based hiring, employers can better assess candidates’ suitability for the role based on their relevant competencies and abilities.

Identifying Relevant Skills for Hourly Positions

The first step in transitioning to skills-based hiring practices is identifying the skills essential for success in each hourly position. This involves a systematic process of analyzing the role’s core tasks and responsibilities, consulting with current employees, and identifying the key competencies required to perform them effectively. For example, essential skills in a customer service role include communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills.

Assess Candidates’ Skills

Once the relevant skills have been identified, the next step is to develop effective methods for assessing candidates’ abilities. This may involve incorporating skills assessments, practical exercises, and behavioral-based interview questions into the hiring process. By using these methods, employers can better understand a candidate’s capabilities and potential to succeed in the role.

Prioritize Skills Over Qualifications

In traditional hiring practices, qualifications such as education and previous job titles often take precedence over skills. However, in skills-based hiring, the focus shifts toward evaluating candidates based on their demonstrated abilities rather than their credentials. Employers should design job postings and interview questions to highlight the specific skills required for the role and place less emphasis on formal qualifications.

Implement Career Pathing for Hourly Employees

Skills-based hiring can improve the hiring process and facilitate career development opportunities for hourly employees. By identifying the skills needed for advancement within the organization, employers play a crucial role in creating clear career pathways and providing training and development opportunities to help employees progress in their careers. This investment in their employees’ growth not only benefits the individual but also the organization as a whole.

Transitioning to skills-based hiring practices for hourly workers can lead to more effective hiring decisions, improved employee performance, and increased retention rates. By identifying relevant skills, assessing candidates’ abilities, prioritizing skills over qualifications, and implementing career pathing initiatives, employers can build stronger and more resilient workforces better equipped to meet the demands of today’s evolving labor market. This shift in hiring practices empowers employers to make more informed decisions, ensuring they are hiring the right people for the right roles.

Related: On-Demand – Unlocking Hidden Talent: Revolutionize Your Recruitment with Skill-Based Hiring | Talroo

Finally, embracing skills-based hiring practices is not just a choice but a necessity for organizations looking to stay competitive and adapt to the changing needs of the workforce. By focusing on skills rather than qualifications, employers can unlock the full potential of their hourly workforce and drive long-term business success. This shift is about staying ahead and survival in the current labor market.