Did you know that about 27 million people in the U.S. are working part-time jobs? Part-time employees often get the short end of the stick when it comes to enjoying the best a workplace has to offer. They usually don’t get benefits. They may be on call much of the time or scheduled to work less desirable shifts. And there’s typically little room for career advancement. Even worse, a significant percentage are only working part-time because they can’t find full-time jobs. It’s no wonder they get discouraged or feel disconnected. Motivating part-time employees should be the goal of every employer.
The part-time workforce is critical for the economy and for the success of your business. Part-timers fill in the gaps to ensure your company can provide the service your customers need and expect. Sadly, part-timers often feel they aren’t valued. That attitude impacts the quality of their work and the experience of your customers. Here are five ways to create a better work experience for your part-time staff, thereby motivating part-time employees
#1 Hire for Culture, Not Skills
It’s always nice to find a job candidate who requires little training and can be productive from the start. But it’s even more important to hire people who are willing to learn. Even better, look for those who have the attitude and character that will make them mesh well with your company culture. There is no one-size-fits-all answer here. It depends on what’s important to your company. For example, maybe your business model emphasizes hierarchy and strictly following the rules to ensure uniform quality. A happy-go-lucky person might be a poor fit. Or, maybe your business puts a value on developing people rather than just hitting revenue numbers. Then it would make no sense to hire someone who is just looking for a paycheck and doesn’t care about whether they are helping their team reach its goals.
Important Note: Make sure your company website, social media presence, and job postings clearly align with your company culture. That way, it will be more likely to attract candidates who are a good fit.
#2 Make Onboarding Seamless when Motivating Part-Time Employees
From new hire paperwork to orientation, part-time workers should never be left hanging or thrown into the deep end. They should know exactly what’s expected of them at each stage. One of the fastest ways to make a part-time worker disengage is by taking a haphazard approach to onboarding. They should go through the same orientation and training process as full-time employees if you expect them to deliver the same quality of work. Formalize your onboarding and training process as much as possible. That way, part-time workers don’t receive conflicting instructions from different people. Remember, they might not be as invested in their new job as a full-timer. If they face a confusing onboarding process, they may be more likely to quit in frustration rather than sticking it out.
Important Note: Your automated onboarding solution may need to support different workflows for part-time and full-time employees depending on the specific forms they need to complete. Choose a solution that’s flexible enough to meet your requirements.
#3 Help Them Find “Their People”
It’s easy for part-time employees to feel left out of the “core” of the workforce. But they are just as capable of forming friendships at work as anyone else—if they have the chance. A meet and greet with the whole team, an intranet chat board, or your company’s social media page can offer informal ways for these employees to discover other workers with similar interests. When supervisors take part-time workers through orientation, they can ask about favorite hobbies, sports, charities, authors, TV shows or other facts that aren’t too personal. Motivating part-time employees includes helping these part-timers find at least one “buddy” at work who shares a similar interest. This connection will give them a better chance of fitting in and having a reason to show up with a good attitude.
Important Note: Be sure to include part-time workers in office parties and events when motivating part-time employees.
#4 Make Every Day a Celebration
Do your managers take the time to tell each employee that it is good to see them at work? If not, why? Every worker who shows up with a good attitude is making it easier for your company to meet its goals. Showing appreciation for their presence and for their performance throughout the day is a powerful motivator. Many people are dealing with difficulty in their lives outside of work. They may not be receiving positive reinforcement from other sources.
If work is the place where someone always greets them with a smile, they are much more likely to give their best effort. Contests, reward and recognition programs, and gamified workplace performance management apps can all help part-timers feel like it matters when they do a good job. Employees are internal customers and how you treat them reflects your organization’s commitment to customer service.
Important note: Make sure to include the opinions of part-timers in your employee feedback program to find ways to improve engagement and
#5 Prepare People for Success when Motivating Part-Time Employees
In the long run, part-timers often have plans to move on to greener pastures. They may be going to school and planning a future career. Or, they might have their eyes set on a better, full-time position as the job market recovers. Whatever the reason, it can help them feel more hopeful if their current job is helping prepare them for whatever comes next. Offer your part-timers access to learning and development focused on work or life skills that will pay off for them no matter where they land.
This doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. But it should be something they can learn in a short time and start applying right away. Even setting aside a few hundred dollars per part-time employee to pay for an online course or an in-person seminar can have a big impact. Skills like workplace communication, leadership, and financial planning are useful to a wide variety of people whether they are working part time or full time.
Important Note: Assign part-timers a variety of job duties rather than sticking them with the tasks other workers don’t want.
Need help giving your part-time employees a great first day at work? Efficient Hire can help with our streamlined, paperless onboarding software.