Part-time employees can be very valuable to your organization since they are often the ones who help out during mid-shift busy periods or take on extra hours during the holiday season to prevent you’re having to hire en masse. They can also pinch hit when a full-time employee calls in sick and you need someone to step up quickly who already knows the ropes. Part-time employees should be valued as much as full-timers because they’re just as vital to your organization’s success.

Involve Part-Timers in Day-to-Day Operations

You might think that part-time employees can have no real role in day-to-day operations because they’re only there for half the time. But some part-timers actually work as much as 32 hours a week. Involving part-time workers as much as possible allows you to benefit from their knowledge. Consider having them take on management tasks with an eye to eventually promoting them to full-time positions.

One company that is using part-time employees effectively is CarMax. Part-time employees in the business office at CarMax are treated exactly like full-time employees. Promotions are offered on the same merit, and duties are rotated so that all employees get the same type of experience. Once a full-time position opens up, if a part-time employee wants it and is performing well, he or she is usually promoted.

Why Hire Part-Time vs. Full-Time?

Hiring part-timers can offer a company a lot of flexibility. If a business is iffy, it’s better to have fewer full-time employees on the payroll. And hiring someone part-time to see how he or she works out is one way to lessen the high cost of bad hires. There has been some discussion about the Affordable Health Care Act causing more companies to hire part-timers to avoid having to pay for healthcare. In fact, the mandate on providing healthcare has been delayed until 2015, so it shouldn’t be an immediate issue. We’ll have to wait and see how the ACA plays out to fully understand its impact. And in any case, each company needs to determine how best to properly compensate its employees and provide benefits, whether they are part-time or full-time.

What jobs should part-time employees NOT be considered for?

The jobs given to part-time employees are usually just that: jobs that can be handled on a reduced schedule. There really aren’t any general rules about which jobs can’t be performed by part-time employees. But you know best which jobs within your company are better served by full-time positions. However, as long as the duties and responsibilities are covered, part-time employees shouldn’t be ruled out of performing any job.

What kinds of jobs or benefits are you able to afford your part-time employees? How vital are they to your organization?

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, is an author, speaker, Human Resources professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president and CEO of Xceptional HR, and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience. The author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business, Jessica was named by HR Examiner as the second most influential recruiter on the Internet and the seventh most powerful woman on Twitter. She is a columnist for both SmartBrief and The Huffington Post, in addition to Blogging4Jobs and Human Resources One on One. Jessica has been interviewed for professional articles in CIO Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, SHRM’s HR Magazine, and on CBS. Jessica earned a Senior Professional in Human Resources designation in 2008, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Business from Kansas State University. Originally from a small town in Kansas, Jessica currently lives near Oklahoma City with her husband, Greg and daughter, Ryleigh.

5 Comments

  • Avatar Daniel says:

    Part-time employees may bring lots of benefits to an organization. First of all people interested in part-time employment are either students, in which case you get energetic and full of fresh ideas employees, or mature, well-qualified people who have already had a variety of jobs and can handle the stress and flexibility needed for businesses. Second of all, part timers usually do need the job, and if they get it, they value it; therefore they’ll be persistent, productive and loyal.

  • Avatar Bill Seamers says:

    Well, as for part-timers being loyal it’s a very doubtful claim. Part-time employees rarely are as loyal as full-time ones because they usually have less benefits; they spend less time in the company and often cover time full-timers don’t (i.e. evenings and weekend) that’s why they don’t interact with other employees much and as a result are less tied to the organization.

  • Avatar Jess says:

    The biggest benefit of part-time employees is their flexibility. It also allows them to fit the rest of their life into the time they aren’t at work and therefore need less sick leaves. Again it comes to cost-effectiveness. But on the whole the way you manage part-timers should not differ from the way you manage full-timers and they must not be treated less favorably than full-time workers.

  • Avatar Mike Tudisco says:

    We have several part time employees, many for the reasons and benefits outlined. What I have found is that part time employees are people, and just like full time employees are all unique individuals with reasons for working either part time or full time.
    For instance, we have some part time employees that already have full time jobs and are looking for supplemental income. They are not looking to become full time employees. As such, these team members have a higher level of loyalty and sense of responsibility to their full time employer. Makes sense and I accept it.
    Other part time employes are students, who’s main loyalty is to their school work. Others are looking to convert to full time and tend to be the most ambitious and loyal for obvious reasons.
    My point is that there are many reasons people look for part time work and understanding those reasons will help both the employee and employer set expectations and properly utilize their respective skills. All have a place and fill a gap in our business.

  • Avatar Pop Aine Kanya says:

    Part-time workers are much cheaper because employers don’t have to provide paid sick leave, vacation days or job training that would improve their careers. Part-time workers have no health insurance or pay for it out-of-pocket. People in part-time jobs are five times more likely than full-time workers to live in poverty. They’re extremely economically vulnerable.

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