Blog Post

Engaging Hourly Employees in Employee Resource Groups

January 22, 2019

A common challenge across all industries and regions is how to best ensure that all employees, including hourly employees, have access to and are engaged in the important work of employee resource groups. Below you will find some quick tips directly from our newest publication, the ERG Leadership Handbook, to get started as you consider your strategy to engage this essential employee population.

Why is it important to engage hourly employees in ERGs?

  • Low pay and limited training and development opportunities contribute to poor retention in retail settings.
  • US unemployment is down which has increased the competition for hourly workers in retail and other industries.
  • Hourly workers are often isolated and cut off from salaried employees and managers.
  • Lack of flexibility and not enough work hours are big drivers of turnover in the hourly workforce.

Challenges to Hourly Employee Participation in ERGs

  • Retail-based structure and wide geographic spread makes it difficult to engage hourly employees and sustain their involvement in diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives.
  • The voluntary nature of employee resource groups (ERG) means hourly workers are often not paid for the time they dedicate to the group.
  • Turnover leaves ERG leaders having to continuously restart the process of engaging new employees.

General Strategies to Reach Hourly Employees

Provide hourly employees a set number of hours they can tap into to participate in D&I events and ERG activities

  • Prerequisites for using those hours may require that the hourly worker is in good standing and has met or exceeded performance goals.
  • Employees may be required to provide managers with advance notice to ensure coverage.
  • Managers may reserve right to deny or cancel approval if there is not sufficient coverage in employee’s absence.
  • Establish goals and measures related to hourly employee participation in D&I and ERG activities as part of performance evaluation.
  • Provide coaching and guidance to hourly employees to foster an understanding and appreciation of how D&I involvement impacts career development and overall business outcomes.
  • Make D&I part of the employee development process by providing ongoing opportunities for training and development and mentoring.
  • Leverage employee participation and experience in D&I and ERG activities to develop diverse talent and prepare the next generation of company leadership.
  • Ensure D&I events and ERG activities provide opportunities for cross-functional leadership, cross-functional project planning, and community engagement.


Quick Stats

  • 8 in 10 of US hourly workers carry smartphones
  • 7 in 10 own some sort of tablet
  • 8 in 10 are on Facebook; nearly 50 percent are on Twitter and Instagram, and
  • 32 percent use LinkedIn

Hourly workers are ‘connected’ and tech savvy – just not in the workplace

  • Most US hourly workers are disconnected from corporate laptops and applications
  • Only half have a company email account .
  • 37 percent of hourly workers report their employer communicates policies and procedures via their personal email account; 15 percent via text message, and 16 percent via Facebook groups

One approach: CVS/Pharmacy

  • The company established a library of resources that include presentations, flyers, and step-by-step guidelines that outline every aspect of the CRG program, from business-plan templates, to member roles, to communication forms.
  • The company intranet hosts a calendar of CRG events which are open to all employees, including hourly workers.
  • An all-colleague newsletter regularly communicates the benefits of CRGs.
  • Closed-circuit TVs in corporate offices display CRG key messages.
  • Posters in each of CVS’ 7,600 stores nationwide display information about CRGs.
  • In-store posters also have QR codes which hourly employees can scan with their smartphones, directing them to a site where they can get more information about CRGs and how to get involved.