How to earn the loyalty of blue collar workers
As a business owner or hiring manager, you know that if one employee quits, you hire another, train them, work with them, and then inevitably, at some point, they quit and the cycle starts again. That's an oversimplified look at things, though. Keeping the "work with them" part of the cycle going for as long as possible is key to keep things running smoothly. It costs around $4,000 and nearly 50 hours of training time to onboard the average employee, per Business News Daily. Then there are the intangibles, like the culture of the workplace and the integration of dynamics that take up time and energy. All of this is to say, when you have a good employee, you want to do what you can to hold onto them.
It's not all up to you, however. You need to meet employees where they are and find out how to earn their loyalty. By meeting those needs, you will (hopefully) have a solid worker who won't be searching for the next opportunity.
How do you know how to earn a worker's loyalty? The results of our 2022 Voice of the Blue-Collar Worker survey can help. In this survey, consisting of answers from 19,500 employees, workers answered a variety of questions including what earns their loyalty.
This is a free response section, so similar answers were grouped together. This year, the top answer was the opportunity for advancement, with 20% agreeing that was most important in earning their loyalty. Next, at 15%, were two answers: a flexible work schedule and a 401K. Following closely behind at 13% was providing health insurance contribution, and with 10%, understanding the employee has obligations outside of work.
Last year's results
This varies slightly from the answers provided just last year in 2021. The top answer last year, at 15%, was whether the employer cares about their growth. Following that, with 13%, was "Culture, values, respects me." At 12% of responses was advancement opportunity, 11% answered "understanding I have obligations outside of work," and 10% responded with the chance to learn or teach new skills. As you can see, some of the "softer" and more subjective answers of last year gave way to specifics like benefits this year. The main difference is that the opportunity for advancement moved from the third most important element in maintaining loyalty, to number one.
The throughline in these responses, although the wording varies slightly, are the opportunities to grow, learn, and ultimately advance while having solid benefits and flexibility. By ensuring your employees have access to all of these, you'll be able to instill a sense of loyalty and keep the talent you've hired. Hopefully they'll take advantage of the opportunities you've given them to advance, and they'll continue to create a positive environment where people feel appreciated and seen. Workers are multifaceted people who have full lives outside of their jobs, so helping them make the most of their lives will have a lasting effect.