Onboarding Part Time Workers

Part time workers make up a large part of the workforce, but they are often marginalized when it comes to the benefits that full time employees enjoy. This goes beyond just health insurance and paid holidays. Part timers usually don’t have access to the same training and advancement tools that are offered to other workers. All too often, employers believe these workers are “not really committed” in the same way as those who put in a full 40 hours/week.

Of course, there are many reasons a person may choose to work part time:

  • They have caregiving responsibilities that prevent them from working full time
  • They aren’t able to find full time work due to the poor job market
  • They are already working another job fulltime and are seeking supplemental income
  • They are working their way through college

The least common reason is “I’m independently wealthy so I work a few hours a week as a hobby”. Most part time workers need their jobs and can be motivated to perform well with the right incentives.

Although employers often hire part timers to fill in the gaps in their workforce and to save on benefits, treating these workers as expendable or unimportant has a price. The turnover costs associated with replacing part time workers are similar to those for full time employees. You have to recruit, provision, and train them – and absorb the cost of mistakes made by inexperienced workers. So, reducing turnover in a part time labor force makes sense from an ROI standpoint.

Use Onboarding to Send the Right Message

Your automated onboarding system should be flexible enough to provide the right information to each category of new hires. Part time workers who will not be receiving the same benefits as full time employees shouldn’t have their faces rubbed in that fact. So, the documents and supplemental information presented during transactional onboarding should be reviewed to make sure part timers aren’t being asked to fill out forms for benefits they won’t receive.

However, if part time workers in your company frequently transition to full time status, they should be made aware of all benefits they may become eligible for in the future. This can be a powerful incentive for them to increase their hours and productivity over time. Part time workers also need to be given specific information on how wage and hours laws apply to them to avoid any confusion on this issue.

Emphasis should be placed on the perks that all employees at your organization share. Comprehensive training should always be included in this category. Part time employees learn the same way as full time workers and have the same need for mentoring/instruction to do well at their jobs. So, the acculturation side of your onboarding system should be designed for use by all workers – regardless of status.

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