Many of my clients have an equal amount of part-time and casual staff as they do full-time; this is because they run 24/7 operations in the health care or social services sector. In order to provide around the clock care and service they need part-time staff to supplement days off for full-time staff and casual staff to cover sick call-ins and vacation. Without part-time and casual staff they would not be able to operate, and service would not be available to those in need. However, many employers spend significant effort on managing the employment conditions for full-time staff and disregard the others. Casual staff in particular suffers this fate.
Why? Often the feeling of employers is that part-time and especially casual staff does not have a commitment to the organization. They usually have jobs with other organizations in order to make ends meet and do not have the availability the employer desires. Many times I have heard the comment, “they are not committed to us so why should we do anything for them”. This perspective never ceases to amaze me.
I argue that we need to turn that thinking completely around. What if the employer did focus its attention on the attraction and retention of casual and part-time employees by providing better employment conditions than its competitor? These opportunities can range from such options as the same accessibility as full-time staff to paid training, professional development, organizational communication, and even pro-rated benefits, to list a few.
My belief is that by providing these opportunities to part-time and casual staff they are demonstrating a strong belief in these employees as valuable members of the team.
People want to feel valued.
In return, I believe, they will show loyalty and commitment to those who make them feel valued. The employers that take action to appreciate the role of part-time and casual staff will become the employers of choice for these groups. And when a casual person has to choose between which shifts to accept from his/her multiple employers, the person will choose the employer that they feel cares about them and values them.
Furthermore, it is really important to remember that the part-time and casual staff groups are your pipelines for talent. They often will be the full-time employees of the future. So putting in the training, development and recognition when they are casual and part-time staff will mean they are ready, willing and able to move into full-time roles when they become available.
Yes, full-time employees are the cornerstone of care and service and are the ones providing the majority of care to clients. However, organizations cannot survive without part-time and casual staff. Do not make the mistake of marginalizing these groups; they are equally as valuable.