Part-time staff can be the perfect solution for employees and employers. For employees, part-time positions offer a stable income without the responsibility of full-time status. For employers, part-time employees can fill duties that don't warrant a full-time staff member and provide additional coverage during vacations and sick days. Managing these employees can be a delicate balance though. These four tips offer managers a constructive way to manage part-time employees more effectively.
Many managers see part-time employees as "fill-in" employees rather than team members. They change part-time employees’ schedules depending on coverage and projected business. While this is beneficial to the company, it isn't great for the employee. Many part-time employees prefer part-time work because they have other obligations and constantly shifting schedules will have them looking for other work.
Providing some scheduling consistency is essential when managing part-time employees. Pick a "shift" each part-time employee can rely on and limit changing that schedule to specific days. Talk with your part-time employees to create a schedule that works for both the employee and the business. Giving part-time employees the ability to schedule other responsibilities with confidence ensures not only their job satisfaction but their concentration during work hours.
Keep Them Informed
One of the biggest drawbacks to part-time positions is those positions are often less informed than full-time employees. Whether it's a sudden change in procedure due to a work incident or a missed staff meeting, by virtue of the fact they are in the building less than other employees, part-time employees spend much of their time trying to catch up with changes.
Managers need to be mindful when communicating changes with employees. One solution may be to create a monthly staff meeting that part-time employees must attend but for day-to-day changes, using an email system to convey changes can be helpful to both part-time and full-time employees. With an email, changes are written clearly and concisely to be referenced later. Keeping part-time employees informed of company and departmental changes can benefit your whole team.
Encourage Career Growth
While there are some part-time employees who simply prefer a less intensive schedule, many part-time employees have picked that position for a specific reason. Whether they are going to school or hoping to transition to a full-time position in the future, it's important for managers to be as invested in part-time employee career growth as much as their full-time employees. Talk to part-time employees about their goals for this position and future positions. Take time to guide employees in that direction and encourage growth within your field.
Don't Shortchange Training
No matter what schedule an employee follows, training is a pivotal portion of the hiring process and also the portion where many part-time employees are set up to fail. Instead of allowing employees to get a certain number of hours in training, too many managers think of training in terms of shifts. They conclude that a full-time employee who worked five eight-hour days and the part-time employee who worked five four-hour days are both adequately trained.
It's important for managers to have a training process based on competencies rather than "shifts." A workforce management system is a great way to quantify and list what is expected of new hires to be qualified to perform a job. Make sure that employees aren't allowed to go "solo" until they meet certain training criteria rather than hit a number of hours on the clock. While this system may take longer for some employees, it also ensures that everyone is fully trained. Don't under-train part-time employees. Make sure each attains full competency in their job duties.