Businesses hire part-time employees for lots of reasons. Sometimes, you do just need some extra bodies around to handle seasonal demands. As the business environment continues its evolution, though, many professionals now prefer part-time employment to full-time positions. This can prove a matter of someone wanting to cut back before retirement or a desire to be more present in the home. That means that businesses often rely on part-time staff for important or even critical work. The challenge is how to manage part-time employees like a full-time team.
Part-time employees are routinely left out of the communication loop. Not only does this signal that the business doesn’t see them as necessary, but it also forces them to rely on secondhand information. Your part-time employees want clear communication as much as your full-time employees and probably need it even more. They must often take their coworkers’ word for it that priorities or tasked have changed. This creates a situation that can easily spiral into a case where important work gets missed, or part-time employees take the blame because they got bad information. Develop a habit of communicating important developments via email, phone calls, or in-house chat software.
A good way to lose part-time employees is to hand them whatever scut work no one else wants. Skilled part-timers will tire of this situation quickly and search for greener pastures. Decide in advance what work part-time employees will do and how many hours a week they'll do it. Put those specifics in the job description. While you go through the job description, communicate and get clear on the relevant state and federal laws that apply to your part-time employees. For example, most states set rules that determine breaks and time off allocations for part-time employees.
While projects often operate on strict deadlines, they’re less demanding about when employees do the work. This makes them ideal for part-time employees. Even if Bill is only at the office Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, it won’t derail discrete tasks related to a project. It helps you avoid constantly assigning part-timers to scut work. It lets you assign personnel based on their skill sets, rather than their availability. It shows part-time employees that you value their contributions. For instance, just because Janet is only in the office three days per week, it doesn't mean she's disinterested in the big picture. Make sure your part-time employees, especially ones who make important decisions, find a seat in key meetings and strategy sessions. Since your total investment in part-time employees is lower, it's easy to see them as replaceable. Not providing the full range of tools necessary to complete tasks becomes easy once you fall into that mindset. Equip your part-timers the same way you would equip any full-time employee, and you'll see better results.
A chillingly low percentage of part-time workers have access to standard medical, dental, or retirement benefits through their employers. It's vital to make these options available to your part-time workforce on a voluntary basis. While many won't take advantage, the people who really need those benefits will. Also, your best option for an open position might very well be that part-timer with natural leadership abilities and vast experience. Leave the door open or actively encourage part-timers to apply for higher positions if you can keep the position flexible.
One of the biggest sins when it comes to part-time employees is that too many managers don’t check-in with them. It’s a subtle, often unintentional, snub that creates an “us and them” dynamic between full-time and part-time employees. Part-time employees read it as management telling everyone which employees matter. Checking-in with part-time employees helps defuse that problem before it starts. It also creates an environment where part-time employees are more likely to offer ideas or point out issues.
As more and more professionals opt for a part-time employment situation, businesses must learn how to manage them. These employees are often responsible for crucial work. The good news is that you can manage them like a full-time team with a comparatively small effort. Keeping them in the communications loop, assigning them to projects, and just checking in can keep your business sailing along smoothly.
Part-time employees can provide you with a boost to your employee base that costs less. At the same time, they often bring years of experience and valuable skills with them. If you manage them the right way, you can reap serious benefits from having them on your team.
Looking for some professionals to fill part-time roles in your organization? Joynus can help you find part-timers with the right skills.