When you Google the topic of hiring part-time employees some interesting opinions come up. There seems to be a perception out there that part-time employees aren’t as committed as their full-time colleagues based on the number of hours they’re willing to work. This is something that we couldn’t disagree with more!
It’s as if the fact that they work less hours means that they have less to contribute, which is as ridiculous as it sounds. What’s more ridiculous and unfortunate is that some employers actually buy into this theory. There seems to be a big perception versus reality gap here.
To begin with, putting in face-time at the office doesn’t necessarily equate to commitment. How many of you know of that one employee who seems to be busy doing a whole lot of nothing for most of their day? And then how many of you know of that other employee who comes to work and works like a machine for three out of the five days during the week? Who do you think is more committed to their job?
Surely it makes more sense to measure the commitment of an employee based on the quality of their output and their overall performance rather than the number of hours they work.
Part-time workers in actual fact are as productive (and perhaps even more so) than their full-time colleagues because they have less time to get everything they need to get done, done! For them, time is genuinely precious so they really make the most of it.
Lately, the topic of parents, in particular mothers, returning to work has come up quite a bit in our circle of friends and ex-colleagues. This particular demographic make up a large portion of part-time employees in the workforce. Try telling a part-time employee who has a family to take care of that he or she is not as committed to their job as a full-time employee and they’ll probably tell you where to go!
And fair enough. If a parent is going to make the choice to continue working after having a family, then trust us, they’re committed to the job! The decision is never an easy one so making it requires a lot of commitment in itself – the commitment to make sacrifices and accommodations throughout the other facets of their life just so they can continue to work and pursuit their career.
With that in mind, just because an employee chooses to work part-time doesn’t mean that they’re not equally as ambitious and don’t have career goals like every other employee. It’s a shame that they can be so easily overlooked for promotions and/or special projects. For part-time employees it’s just as important to still have those career conversations with your managers and make your career ambitions known. Nothing wrong with still dreaming big!
We’re not saying that it’s always easy to accommodate part-time employees, particularly in roles with greater responsibility, but it can definitely be worth it. Assess the individual like you would any other full-time employee – on their capability and performance rather than the number of hours they can put into the job.
Benefits that part-time employees can bring to a business:
Help manage wage costs: If you have to pay overtime rates to your existing full-time employees, which are often at a much higher rate, hiring a part-time employee to take on the additional workload at an ordinary base rate can help reduce wage costs significantly. Similarly, if the workload of your operations doesn’t necessarily justify a full-time resource, hiring a part-time resource instead is an obvious solution.
Improve the retention of talent: Sometimes, full-time work simply isn’t an option for many workers, including key talent within your business who have to change their hours due to changing circumstances that come up in life e.g. parents who have childcare responsibilities. A lot of great talent can be lost from a business if there aren’t any options for them to continue to work on a part-time basis.
Access to a greater talent pool: We all know how challenging it can be to find the perfect person for a particular recruitment need. Extending your search to a part-time pool of talented candidates can significantly help.
Greater flexibility: Part-time employees allow for your business to have greater flexibility when it comes to meeting the demands associated with peaks in your operations. Being able to schedule part-time workers around your operational needs presents a key advantage to managing your labour.
Don’t believe the hype that part-time employees won’t contribute as much, have less to offer or aren’t as committed to seeing your business succeed. From the part-time workers we’ve been speaking to, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Janelle McKenzie and Abiramie Sathiamoorthy are the founders of HR firm E&I People Solutions.