Perks Work

Give your part-timers a good reason to give you their best.

Part-time employees are an essential segment of the work force for manybusinesses, but it's not always easy to keep them motivated. They often dolow-level work, may not have much opportunity for advancement and arefrequently ignored by full-timers. But regardless of how many hours someoneworks each week, as an employer, you're entitled to get the maximum benefitfrom the time people spend on the job.

So how can you keep part-timers enthused and productive? Linda C. Haneborg,vice president of marketing and public relations for Express Personnel Servicesin Oklahoma City, offers these tips:

* Introduce new part-timers to your full-time staff. "It's important to build afoundation for part-time employees just as you do for full-timers," saysHaneborg. "Give them a tour of your facility, and explain what your companydoes, what its goals are and what your vision is."

* Provide benefits. Make your part-time employees eligible for the samebenefits full-timers receive, such as insurance, vacation and tuitionreimbursement. Most companies prorate their benefits based on hoursworked--usually a minimum of 20--so what part-timers receive is comparable towhat is given to full-timers.

* Train them. Everyone needs to be adequately trained to do their job, nomatter how many hours they work. Provide ongoing training to enhance and expandtheir skills beyond basic job knowledge, and to groom part-timers for eventualfull-time positions.

* Create an inclusive environment. "You need to create an atmosphere that makespart-timers feel they're as worthwhile and productive as full-time employeesare," says Haneborg. If you give gifts at holidays or recognize birthdays forfull-timers, do so for part-timers as well. Invite part-timers to participatein company social events, sports teams and incentive programs. Encourage themto participate in safety and quality programs.

* Develop career paths. Although many part-timers choose to work on a temporarybasis because it suits their needs, a signifcant number of them are looking foradvancement opportunities. Take the time to find out what their skills andgoals are, and, if possible, develop a plan for growth within your company thatwill let them use their skills and meet their goals. Along these lines, you canalso help them avoid burnout and reduce your turnover if you give part-timers avariety of tasks and not limit them to "grunt" work.