Part-time and flextime workers are a growing trend. One of the challenges facing HR professionals and managers is how to effectively manage part-time employees.
There was a time when most part-time workers were hired primarily to either minimize the payroll expense of the employer, while filling a labor need, or to accommodate the limited availability of the worker.
However, there is a vast and still growing trend that has been generated by workers who have chosen to have a more flexible work schedule and do not necessarily desire to a more traditional, full-time employment lifestyle.
The website Flexjobs.com points out that,
"Managing part-time workers requires a different perspective, as these workers are likely looking for more than just fewer working hours. The whole point of their wanting to work part-time probably includes their desire to find work-life balance."
Tips For Managing Part-Time Employees
There are some subtle, and not-so-subtle, differences for managers when it comes to part-time workers. Smart organizations will endeavor to fully develop the benefits of engaging part-time staff, but it does require some intentional approaches to workforce management practices.
As the Flexjobs article notes,
"To make the most of your part-time staff, you want to build a strong and trusting relationship. Simple tasks such as understanding their desire for work flexibility and including them in company happenings will help to develop loyal part-time workers that will bring new talents and a different dynamic to your organization."
With this in mind, here are some tips for making this happen.
Create Policies and Expectations for Part-Time Staff
Communication is key with part-time employees just as much as with your full-time workers. Your onboarding process for your part-time workers should include communicating the policies and expectations specific to part-time employees.
Ensure that they have all the information they need to function effectively within your organization. Your policies regarding benefits, time off, and other perks specifically for part-timers should be reviewed and updated, as needed.
Because part-time schedules can differ quite a bit even within the same organization, it is important to establish the company's expectations early to communicate these along what will work for the employee. Schedule the hours to be worked as completely as possible upon hiring so that both parties are clear on what the expectations are, and the process for initiating any future changes.
Provide Part-Time Staff Equal Status
There can be a tendency on the part of some managers and others to view part-timers as "lower level" employees. However, part-time workers are often highly qualified professionals who have chosen to forego full-time employment for a variety of reasons.
Part-time staffers should regularly be included in functions that full-time staffers attend. In addition, they should be part of employee teams and fully integrated into their departments. For example, you can keep part-time workers stay connected to their team and the company by including them in regular meetings.
This allows your part-time staff stay connected with everyone, while sharing their input and staying informed of what is taking place within the organization. In addition, make sure you are diligent to provide them with all the tools, equipment and resources they need to perform their work effectively and efficiently.
Don’t Limit Part-Time Staff to Low-Level Functions
Part-time jobs can be feasible for many professional career levels. With a well-developed resource strategy, your organization can accommodate talented professionals for specific part-time positions and even have managers and executives working part-time as well.
Another strategy that can work well part-time workers, especially those who have flexible schedules, is to assign them to projects rather than specific, daily tasks. With this approach, they can have far more flexibility to complete their duties and still meet deadlines, without having to be available at a set time each and every day.
Keep in mind that just because an employee chooses to work part-time doesn’t mean that there's no interest to grow within the company or in a chosen career path. Part-time staffers who are both eligible and a good fit should be equally considered for advancement opportunities. You should always be prepared to offer it to them or suggest that they apply.
The Value of Onboarding
Part-time employees do present challenges that are not present with more traditional full-time workers. But these can be easily addressed with a comprehensive hiring and onboarding process.
In an article at Fast Company, the editorial director of Working Mother magazine, Jennifer Owens, talks about her approach.
“My team has been together a long time,” Owens says. “We trust each other. We have each others’ backs. We’ve worked really hard to be like that.” Consequently, she’s not worried that someone will play Solitaire on his or her computer for four hours a day (as she once found a co-worker doing years ago at another publication). She sets clear expectations, then holds her team accountable. “If we can’t get the job done, that’s a management issue, not flexibility’s fault,” she says.
Without a strategic recruiting and hiring process, a comprehensive onboarding process, and a well-written employee handbook, or policy manual, managing and keeping talented part-time employees can be difficult.
Your Professional Team Partners for HR Management
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