How to Make Your Part-Time Staff Feel Like Part of the Team
How can employers bridge the communication gaps between employees who are in the office nine-to-five and those employees who work fewer hours? As a supervisor, your job is to ensure that everyone is united in the common cause of moving the organization forward, regardless of the number of hours the put in each week.
Here are some tips and suggestions for how to make part-time staff members feel like valued employees who can still contribute in meaningful ways even when they aren't seen in the office as often as other employees.
Provide each new part-time employee with appropriate training and orientation. Just because an employee is part-time that doesn’t mean the regular workplace policies and procedures don’t apply to them. Part-time employees should be given a proper orientation to the job, the workplace and the company’s policies and procedures. Make sure that part-time employees have a clear understanding of who they report to and who is allowed to give them work assignments. It’s important that the full-time staff know the chain of command as well. It might be tempting for them to download their work to the part-timer if the lines of communication aren’t clear.
Understand labor laws related to part-time employees. It’s vital that you as a supervisor have a clear understanding laws pertaining to part-time employees, especially if you don’t have an HR department to oversee hiring employee management issues. Some laws require that employees be given a shift with a minimum number of hours. There may also be specific rules on how to calculate seniority, vacation hours and so on.
Keep things interesting and engaging. Don’t just pass off boring projects to part-time employees because you think your full-time staff have more important things to do. Often known as a grunt work, projects such as filing, cleaning, sorting or any other type of repetitive work that is often boring and solitary and doesn’t create opportunities for part-time staff to interact an engage with full-time employees.
Build bridges between part-time employees and full-time employees. When new staff come on board, whether as part-time or full-time employees, it’s not unusual for staff to be reluctant to welcome new hires with open arms. Some staff might wonder if they are going to be phased out by the part-timer. Others may be concerned that they\’ll be responsible for training the new team members. If staff already have busy workloads, they may dread having to divide their time between their regular jobs and the training new staff. As the team leader, it is your job to ensure that all current staff have a clear understanding of why part-time employees are being brought on and how their presence in the workplace will actually lighten the full-timers' workload, not add to it.
A Definition of Part-Time Work
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 5.2 million in May. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (Source: OECD.org)
Be flexible. Many people take part-time jobs in order to earn extra income while working around specific family issues (i.e.; caring for children or elderly parents). Other workers may have more than one part-time job and are juggling several different schedules. With this in mind, try to offer flexible work hours. Your employee will be less stressed and thus less likely to quit, which will end up costing you and your company time and money in hiring and training someone new.
If possible, offer perks and benefits. If you are able to offer negotiate some form of extended benefits from your insurance provider, why not do so? Many people take up part-time work to make ends meet or to supplement their retirement income and any financial benefits and perks you can offer will be greatly appreciated.
Try to schedule key events when part-time employees will be able to participate. If your company is having an employee appreciation luncheon, be sure to have it on a date when many, if not all, of your part-time employees will be able to come because it is already part of their regular shift.
Always invite part-time employees to special events and after-hours functions. It’s not only the right, and polite thing to do, it also gives all the members of your team to get to know one another as regular humans, not just cogs in a wheel.
Recognize part-time employees for their accomplishments. Make sure to include them in any accolades and positive feedback when they contributed to a successful group project. If you have an employee recognition or incentive program, find ways to include part-time employees in these programs.
Keep part-time employees up-to-date and in the loop. Don’t assume that what happens in the office when part-time staff aren’t their isn’t relevant of important to them. Make a concerted effort to keep all your employees in the know about important workplace matters. If staff meetings are minuted, make sure everyone has access to them. If you have a workplace news letter or do regular e-blasts, send those communications to the part-time staff as well.
The bottom line is that part-time employees are valuable assets in the workplace. They help fill in scheduling gaps. They complete tasks that other staff don’t have the time to finish. They bring a fresh perspective to your organization. And like all employees, they take time to recruit and train. That’s why, as a supervisor, you need to keep them happy. Good employee retention is good for your company so don’t forget to keep your part-time staff feeling engaged and included in the company’s positive growth and development.
© 2017 Sally Hayes