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The Growing Importance of the Part-Time Employee

Posted on  30 March 11  by 

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By Corey Stout

There is plenty of buzz around the upcoming 65th birthday for our beloved Baby Boomers. And it’s not just that stores need to start stocking up on cake mix and candles – companies need to start preparing themselves to anticipate more employees retiring.

Kirsten has been blogging on hiring retirees to fill the gaps left by retirees (no that is not a typo!).

Many companies are also looking at part-time employees as a valuable labor pool to source from when Baby Boomers say goodbye to the working world.

Part-time workers have more than doubled to 6.2% of the U.S., compared to just 3% in 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As a post on the CCC Discussions Forum notes, even though part-time employees often receive the same pay as full-time employees, they do offer cost savings to companies. Part-time employees work less hours and do not receive benefits packages, which reduces fixed payroll and overhead costs.

In addition, companies employ part-time employees when they anticipate call spikes, particularly during holidays, promotional events, or vacation seasons (hello upcoming summer months!). Some companies, notably Continental Airlines, even leverage their part-time employees to work full-time during peak months as a way to manage supply.

However, the addition of part-time employees brings a different dynamic to a work environment. So, as companies hire part-time employees, there are three major factors to consider to successfully integrate part-time employees into their staff:

  1. Clearly define goals and responsibilities – Since part-time employees have a more limited presence in the office, it is crucial to provide them with clear objectives and roles. Role clarity for part-time employees will ensure that they make the most of their time and align their performance to organizational expectations and goals.
  2. Carefully balance training with job responsibilities – Provide part-time employees with virtual training modules to participate in when call volume is low. You might also consider delivering some training seasons on an individual basis, which is more personalized and effective, to minimize the amount of time part-time employees spend off the phone.
  3. Choose the work arrangement that works best for your needs – Whether you are struggling to fill unpopular shifts, do not have enough workspace for your staff, or have employees who are experiencing burnout, there are a variety of different ways to use part-time employees. Our past work on Flexible Scheduling Practices in Contact Centers can help you select the best scheduling practice to meet your needs.

What has been your experience with part-time employees? What other factors should companies consider?

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