The 2024 Homebase Small Business Team Fulfillment Index

As the all-in-one HR and team management app for more than 100,000 small businesses and over 2.5M hourly workers, we know that when hourly workers feel fulfilled at work, they’re more likely to stick around, crush their goals and help small businesses thrive.

Fulfillment is that sweet spot where employees feel a sense of purpose, pride, and connection to their work. They’re not just punching a clock – they’re invested in the mission and feel like they’re making a real impact. When owners prioritize transparency, offer flexibility, and give their employees the tools to succeed, they build an unstoppable team that’s in it for the long haul.

That’s why we’re excited to unveil the 2024 Homebase Small Business Team Fulfillment Index. We evaluated hundreds of thousands of workplaces, looked at over a billion data points from over 2.5 million hourly workers, in addition to surveying over 1,200 local business owners and hourly teams to uncover what really drives fulfillment in the workplace. From the power of strong relationships to the importance of hands-on experiences and community impact, we’ve compiled some great insights on what makes hourly teams tick.

We also dug into the challenges small businesses are facing, like the disconnect between what owners think their teams want and what actually matters most to hourly workers. Spoiler alert: flexibility and modern perks like on-demand pay are bigger priorities than many realize.

“When small business teams are happy and fulfilled, they build thriving businesses that uplift communities. The Homebase Small Business Team Fulfillment Index digs into what really matters and motivates these incredible Main Street teams. The index offers unique perspectives from both owners and hourly workers, along with actionable insights that can be easily implemented today,” said founder & CEO John Waldmann. 

We’re excited to announce the launch of the Homebase Top Local Workplaces Awards to celebrate the small businesses that create a great environment for employees – where teams feel valued and connected. Learn more at  joinhomebase.com/awards.

Whether you’re looking to boost retention, attract top talent, or build a more resilient business, this report is your roadmap with insights and strategies to achieving unstoppable success. 


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

What did we uncover in our deep dive into small business team fulfillment? Here are the juiciest bits:

  • Fulfillment is the secret sauce to a happy, loyal team. 91% of small business owners and 82% of hourly workers reported being happy in their roles when they feel fulfilled. 
  • Strong relationships, meaningful work, and community impact are the holy grail of fulfillment. Our survey revealed that the top drivers of job satisfaction are solid work friendships, hands-on experiences, and the feeling of making a difference in the community.
  • There’s a significant disconnect between what owners think hourly workers want and what actually makes them tick. While 56% of owners believe competitive pay and company mission are the top priorities for their team, 86% of hourly workers are actually craving more flexibility and on-demand pay.
  • Despite economic jitters, the small business job market still shows signs of strength. While inflation and recession concerns are on everyone’s mind, the majority of local businesses have been hiring recently, and 90% of hourly workers feel secure in their current roles.
  • The key to attracting and keeping top talent? Focus on the things that small businesses do best: building a flexible and supportive environment. By prioritizing employee well-being and offering perks like flexible schedules and on-demand pay, you’ll create a thriving workplace with fulfilled teams.

People > everything else.

91% of owners and 82% of hourly workers reported they are happy in their roles.

We set out to uncover what really makes a small business team tick and better understand what drives fulfillment. 

The results are encouraging: local businesses are setting the standard when it comes to job satisfaction. A remarkable 91% of owners and 82% of hourly workers reported that they’re happy.

62% of owners and 64% of hourly workers ranked “relationships with coworkers” as their number one factor for loving their jobs.

Relationships trump wages in the ongoing battle for hourly talent retention. 62% of owners and 64% of hourly workers ranked “relationships with coworkers” as their number one factor for job satisfaction, outranking even competitive wages. This highlights the immense value of fostering strong, supportive connections within small business teams.

While the 2024 Global Talent Trends report by Mercer reveals that more than 80% of employees nationwide are at risk of burnout this year, small businesses are defying the odds. A remarkable 65% of owners and (70%) of hourly workers in local businesses reported being satisfied with the harmony they’ve achieved between their personal and professional lives. This stands in stark contrast to the national average, highlighting the unique ability of small businesses to create healthier, more balanced work environments for their teams.

When local teams feel that they’re contributing to something larger than themselves, the impact is profound. 83% of owners and 60% of hourly workers feel that they’re making a tangible difference in their communities.

83% of small business owners and 60% of hourly workers feel they are making a difference in their communities.

The data also reveals a significant insight: 86% of hourly workers reported that they enjoy their jobs more when their colleagues recognize or appreciate their hard work. However, only 66% have received a compliment in the past year. This presents a valuable opportunity for improvement, as a simple acknowledgment can have a substantial impact on team morale and fulfillment.

To boost employee satisfaction and engagement, small business owners can make employee recognition a priority. Simple gestures like sending a shoutout, giving a high-five, or expressing gratitude for a job well done can go a long way in fostering a positive and fulfilling work environment.

86% of hourly workers enjoy their jobs more when recognized, but only 66% received a compliment in the past year.

The bottom line? By nurturing strong relationships, offering hands-on experiences, celebrating team successes, and providing opportunities to make a real impact in their communities, small business owners can create a workplace that fosters happiness, engagement, and unlocks the full potential of their teams.

A disconnect between owner perceptions and what hourly workers actually prioritize.

We asked both business owners and hourly workers what they think matters most when it comes to choosing a job. The results revealed an interesting disconnect between the two groups. 

56% of owners believe competitive wages are a top factor for employees, and 43% of hourly workers agree.

While a majority of owners (56%) recognized that competitive pay is a top priority for their team, the data reveals some surprising insights. 50% of owners think company mission is a major draw, but only 35% of their team actually prioritize it.

37% of hourly workers say on-demand pay is an important factor in considering a new job, but only 17% of owners are exploring this option.

The data clearly shows that hourly workers value flexibility. 39% say flexible work experiences are a must-have, but only 31% of owners are prioritizing it. Additionally, 37% of hourly workers consider on-demand pay to be a game-changer, but only 17% of owners are currently offering this benefit.

78% of hourly workers are personally invested in the success of the small business they work for, and 47% want to be more involved in decision-making.

The research also reveals that employees are seeking a sense of ownership and transparency in their small business roles. A significant 78% of hourly workers said they’re personally invested in their company’s success, and nearly half (47%) want to be involved in the decision-making process.

These findings underscore the importance of team fulfillment: when a workplace prioritizes the things the team values most – such as flexibility, on-demand pay, and a strong sense of ownership – it sets the stage for a fulfilled, engaged, and unstoppable team.

And the best part? Homebase is here to help you make it happen. With our all-in-one platform, owners can easily offer the flexibility and on-demand pay their team craves, all while streamlining operations and freeing up time to focus on what really matters – building an unstoppable team. Get started today for free at www.joinhomebase.com

Weather economic headwinds.

We know the past few years have been a wild ride, and even though the pandemic is in the rearview mirror, its effects are still lingering. Not surprisingly inflation has been a significant concern, making everyday essentials like groceries and gas more expensive.

Nearly 3 out of 4 small business owners (72%) and hourly workers (77%) are feeling the pinch of higher prices compared to just three months ago.

Despite these economic challenges, small business owners have demonstrated remarkable resilience. A solid 79% of local business owners have been hiring in the past three months, indicating that the job market remains active and full of opportunities.

79% of small business owners have brought on full-time and/or part-time team members in the last quarter.

Hourly workers are expressing confidence in their current roles. Nearly 90% reported feeling secure in their jobs, and more than half (55%) are satisfied with their pay. In fact, 62% of hourly workers are so content that they’re not considering leaving their current position in the next three to six months.

The financial outlook is also improving for many hourly workers, with 43% stating that they’re better off now than they were a year ago.

43% of hourly workers report being financially better off compared to a year ago.

These findings underscore the critical role of team fulfillment in small business success. When a team feels secure in their jobs, satisfied with their pay, and financially stable, they are better equipped to focus on their roles and contribute to the company’s success. They are more engaged, more productive, and more likely to remain with the business long-term.

Homebase – fueling your small business success and team fulfillment.

Building an unstoppable team isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s an ongoing journey that requires a commitment to listening to employees, adapting to their needs, and creating an environment where they can thrive. Our everything app for hourly workers helps streamline operations, provide flexibility and transparency and frees up time for owners to focus on what really matters.

“Small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities, and their teams are the unsung heroes,” said Waldmann. “We’re here to champion their success and give them the tools they need to build thriving, fulfilled teams… because when small businesses win, we all win.”

The future of small business is bright, and Homebase is here to enable teams to become truly unstoppable.

Methodology 

Homebase conducted the Small Business Team Fulfillment survey in March 2024 via an online survey form to its active customers from a sample of 1,290, ages 18 and over from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii, in English. 

About Homebase

Our mission is to make small business teams unstoppable.

Homebase is the everything app for hourly teams, with employee scheduling, time clocks, payroll, team communication, HR, and more. More than 100,000 small (but mighty) businesses rely on Homebase to make work radically easy and give their teams superpowers. As the leader in small business team management, Homebase tracked 1+ billion hours for 2.5+ million workers last year.

Homebase is based in San Francisco, Houston, Denver, and Toronto. We are backed by leading venture investors L Catterton Growth, Emerson Collective, Notable Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Baseline Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Bedrock Capital, and PLUS Capital.

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