Technology companies compete fiercely for top-notch engineers and businesspeople. But they spend far less time worrying about the hourly workers — those at the retail stores, call centers and distribution facilities — despite the importance of those employees to the daily operations, said Max Simkoff, co-founder of Evolv, a data analytics service.
In fact, this segment of the workforce is so poorly understood that many common assumptions about them are simply wrong, he said.
Simkoff should know. His service, which helps companies manage their global workforces, has information on 984,000 hourly workers from its 20 large customers, including Xerox.
The six-year-old San Francisco company crunches data from a variety of sources, including online background checks on new employees, time and attendance-tracking software, and performance-ranking programs, such as those that measure the number of phone calls a support representative can handle per hour.
Based on that information, here are some myths about hourly workers that don’t hold true, according to Evolv:
Myth: During the recession and slow growth of recent years, few hourly workers change jobs once they get one.
Fact: In the past three years, 36 percent of employees change jobs within the first 90 days.
Myth: You should never hire anyone with a criminal record.
Fact: People who have been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony — a group that comprises 13 percent of Evolv’s database of hourly workers — performed just as well as those with clean records in handling customer support phone calls. In fact, they performed 1 to 2 percent better.
Myth: All hourly workers generally perform at about the same level.
Fact: Judging by a range of metrics, the best-performing employees were 60 percent more productive than the worst.
Myth: Experience matters.
Fact: Workers with previous job-relevant work experience were no more successful than those without experience.
Myth: There’s no difference between two equally qualified job candidates, even if one was referred by another employee.
Fact: Employees referred by other employees were about 20 percent less likely to quit than non-referred employees.