Start by understanding the part-time workforce
Currently the hourly workforce in the US comprises over 60% of all employees. Retention of this segment of the workforce is unfortunately poor, with turnover being three and half times as common as salaried employees. Turnover is generally thought to be so common because there is very little buy-in on the part of these hourly employees, either due to the temporary nature of their employment or their transient status (e.g. students).
Most employers do focus on the student population when looking to hire hourly employees but slightly less than one-third of all hourly employees are actually over the age of 45. A large component of the work force actually favors working less than 30 hours a week and it isn’t just those who are under 25. Moms, retirees, or just those wanting a more flexible work schedule are also attractive recruits.
Next, start looking for your recruits in the right places
There are several obvious places to start when recruiting your part-time work force. Advertising in the local college newspaper is a good first step to take. However, as previously mentioned, students aren’t the only pool of candidates. If your particular position or job has a trade organization, reach out and recruit there as well.
Don’t just focus on the unemployed workforce either. Those who are already employed are great candidates if they are unhappy or looking for upward mobility. Advertise in places where the already-employed are likely to see your listing.
One other great tactic is to make your place of business a magnet for part-time employees. Recruitment can happen for you by word of mouth if you make your workplace somewhere people want to be. Just because your employees are part-time doesn’t mean they won’t love what they do, and if they like their job they are likely to mention that to their job-seeking contacts.
Third, do your very best to retain them
Once you have hired your part-time employees, perhaps the most difficult step is retaining them. Start by making your workplace fun. The adage “work hard and play harder” really does hold true. Fostering and growing a community amongst your employees will go a long ways towards keeping them around, and avoiding costly turnover.
It should go without saying, but it is also essential that you practice strong management. Create a system of open communication and feedback with your part-time employees. Let them know you sincerely care about them and implement changes they suggest.
Lastly give them increasing responsibility in the workplace. If they have ownership over what they are working on, they will be more likely to stay and see whatever project they are undertaking through to fruition. Focus on what their career goals are and, as appropriate, assign them tasks that will help them develop the skills they need and want.
Finally, recruit all the time
We have already established that turnover with part-time employees will happen. Even when you do your very best to retain and engage your part-time employees, inevitably they will move on to other endeavors. In order to make the most of part-time employees, you need to recruit all the time, even if you don’t have a vacancy. This doesn’t mean you need to constantly have an ad in the paper. Networking and keeping resumes of interested qualified candidates on file is always good practice.
The benefits of having a strong part-time workforce are immense. If you understand this workforce, recruit them well, and work hard on retaining them, you will grow your business and increase productivity with a strong, sustainable, part-time team.How To Grow a Sustainable Team of Part-Time Workers Chad Halvorson