Get Creative with Your Part-Time Employee Retention Strategies: 5 Great Ideas

Part-time employee retention is one of the biggest problems businesses can face. Part-time employees are sometimes only in it for the (relatively) short term or have other commitments in their lives that usually only allow them to work part-time, so creating an environment which captures their full engagement and encourages a long term relationship can sometimes be difficult to figure out. Depending on your business, there are many ways to improve employee retention, which allow for a little fun and creativity. Get your employees excited for working at and staying at your company with these five creative part-time employee retention strategies.

Have your employees choose a reward system

Rewarding your employees for hard work is a proven and necessary strategy for making your employees happy and keeping them at your business. You should already be verbally praising your employees for achievements and great days as a means of basic positive feedback and reward, but consider getting your employees’ input on a rewards system that will motivate them. Explain that you have noticed their great work and that you want to create a reward system that will help them feel appreciated in the company as they continue to do good work (this is especially useful to implement just before a busy season or key period in your business). Rewards only work if your employees care about them, so asking them for ideas is a sure way to get them thinking about achieving the suggestions they want. Be sure to give them parameters and ideas so that they don’t dream up unrealistic expectations. Tell them to think along the lines of a pizza party or a casual Friday to extra time off or first choice in shift selection—anything that you are able to give them without hurting your business.

Infuse your workplace with creativity

Try to appeal to the interests of each employee. Schedule each employee for an hour each week (or however you see fit) to use his or her creative interests to your advantage. Ask the artistically inclined to create new signage or decoration for your shop, a new cocktail or other beverage of the week, or to use their research skills to find a new product to bring into the store. Giving each employee a “special project” will make him or her feel more invested in and appreciated in your company. Sit down with each employee and determine what excites them about your business so you can build on that interest and get them excited about contributing to your company.

Create some (friendly) competition

Competitions are a great way to have fun on the job while maintaining a strong work ethic. Choose a specific item in your shop or on the menu and see which employee can sell the most of that item in a month or a week.  Visually track progress in the employee break room and if you have many part-time employees, break them up into teams. Get your employees excited about the contest by creating prizes and rewards and get them involved in the planning and judging process. The more involved employees feel and the more fun they can associate with the work, the more likely they are to stick around.


Celebrate birthdays, holidays (while being sensitive to religious preferences), and major milestones in your employees’ lives (graduations, engagements, passing exams, etc.). Give your employees a personal card to congratulate them or send them well wishes and throw a small part (or a large party) in the break room by having treats and simple decorations to make them feel special. These personal touches will show employees that they are appreciated and will make work feel more like a family to them. Additionally, you can set up an anonymous kudos system to encourage employees to give each other “kudos” (a small note, sticker, etc.) when they notice exceptional customer service or do something worthy of recognition that you might not have been around to see. Encourage this kind of support and recognition amongst your employees to create an environment in which your employees feel supported, celebrated, and recognized.

Keep them engaged

Boredom is a huge factor when it comes to leaving a job. You may think that your part-time employees are looking for a job that will let them earn money and otherwise coast (and that may be true of some of them), but personal growth and challenges are huge motivators to stay at a job and maintain employee happiness. Be clear with your employees that you want to challenge them to make sure they get something out of the job, but if at any point they feel it is too much, to let you know. Gauge how much each employee wants to be challenge in their initial interview and by observing their work ethic. Let them help you with problems or portions of problems you need to solve in your business and give them greater responsibilities the longer they stay with your company. This will give them a sense of upward mobility and growth, which will make them feel the job is worthwhile and in the process you are grooming your employees to actually become bigger assets in your company, which fosters a team spirit and makes work easier on everyone…including you!

What creative strategies have you implemented in your business for part-time employee retention? Share your strategies in the comments section below.