Give Those Seasonal Part-Timers Your Full HR Effort: 7 Tips

by Pat DiDomenico on December 4, 2015

Payroll numbers released today report that the U.S. economy added 211,000 new job last month (and unemployment unchanged at 5%) showing that employers are confident in bringing on that extra employee or two, expecially at this time of year.

But with unemployment at a seven-year low, hourly seasonal work is becoming less attractive to job seekers who likely have more options for full-time gigs. As a result, companies like Target are offering seasonal staff more money for their busiest shifts. And Toys “R” Us is giving part-timers the chance to double their hours compared to last year. Overall, far more working adults are employed part time than before the recession.

Too often, part-timers don’t get the same HR attention as full-timers. If your organization employes lots of part-timers or seasonal staff, consider these tips from The HR Specialist:

1. Don’t try to squeeze a full-time job into part-time hours. Even if a departing full-timer seemed to have a lot of free time on his or her hands, chances are, a 25-hour-per-week replacement employee won’t be able to take over all of the responsibilities of a position originally created for a 40-hour staffer. Try­­ing to do so sets up the newcomer to fail, and colleagues will resent having to pick up the slack for work that isn’t getting done. Tip: Evaluate the requirements of a job before downsizing it.

2. Prepare to work hard to hire a part-timer. When you advertise a part-time position, you’re going to waste a lot of hours wading through the résumés of under- and overqualified applicants unless you plainly specify the level and type of experience the job requires. Tip: Before reaching out to the applicant pool, write a firm job descrip­tion for the part-time position.

3. Recruit for part-time jobs just as carefully as you do for full-time jobs. Don’t brush it off as “just a part-time job.” Take part-time hiring less seriously than full-time recruitment, and you’ll end up with employees who don’t take their work seriously.

4. Treat part-timers as equals to their full-time peers. Focus on the importance of the work they do, not the number of hours they work. Well-respected employees tend to be more productive than those a supervisor ignores.

5. Respect part-timers’ time. Many part-timers work short hours precisely so they can spend the rest of their week on family, school or community obligations. Whenever possible, allow part-timers to work a reliable schedule every week instead of rotating their shifts. If variable hours are required, make that clear during the recruiting process.

6. Keep part-timers in the loop. Employees who aren’t in the office every day still need to know what’s going on. If you can, require their attendance at company meetings. Send out an email about important announcements for those who can’t be there. This also works well for teleworkers who work full time off site. Meeting attendance helps part-timers and teleworkers feel like they belong.

7. Give priority to part-timers when full-time jobs open up. Most part-timers, if they are working reduced hours only because they can’t find full-time jobs, are always looking. If you want to retain an especially talented or productive part-timer, the best way to do that might be to offer full-time employment.


Category: HR Soapbox