In a recent Deloitte study, almost half (47%) of organizations surveyed said they planned to bring on more contingent, outsourced, contract, or part-time workers in the next 3-5 years. Having more hourly employees gives an organization flexibility to scale up or down as business needs fluctuate, and the ability to cast a wider net for talent.

This means more competition for hiring teams looking for part-time workers. With the balance of power in the talent market shifting towards employees, engagement has become even more critical to retention and organizational success.


What do part-time job seekers want?

Engaging part-time employees can be challenging. Part-time work is often associated with lower paying jobs that offer fewer benefits, a lack of flexible working arrangements, and limited opportunities for career advancement. Candidates’ expectations may not be very high.

In order to stay competitive in the battle for part-time talent, traditional approaches–like better pay, benefits and steadier hours–still appeal to job seekers. Costco, for example, reportedly pays its Canadian part-time workers above-average wages, guarantees a minimum of 25 hours per week, and posts its work schedules two weeks in advance. Also, its part-time staff are eligible for partial benefits, sick pay and pensions.

Not all organizations can compete with those approaches, which can be costly. With more companies taking a more sophisticated approach to managing their hourly workforce, you need to find other ways to keep up.


5 key engagement drivers for hourly workers

Hourly job seekers come with a specific set of expectations. To attract and retain them, you should offer:

  1. A positive work environment

Great Place to Work Canada found that full- and part-time employees in the best workplaces share four of the five top drivers of employee engagement:

  • Support
  • Teamwork
  • Inclusiveness
  • Sharing-Rewards

They differed in one area: celebrating was more important to full-time workers, whereas working environment was more important to part-time staff. This can include simple things like a clean staff area with access to refreshments, lockers, or other amenities that make their time at work easier or more pleasant.

A strong team culture can contribute to this positive work environment. The more employees get comfortable with their coworkers, the more they’ll share and contribute.


  1. Development opportunities

According to Great Place to Work Canada, part-time workers in medium-sized organizations indicated that people development drives them more than sharing-rewards. A recent study on employee engagement by The Conference Board of Canada found that confidence in senior leadership and relationships with managers are the biggest factors influencing employee engagement, especially when it comes to organizational pride and willingness to recommend the organization. The work itself, and opportunities for professional growth have the greatest influence on attrition.

So if you want to keep your workforce around longer, make sure they’re always learning and growing in their current role or they can see the potential for advancement.


  1. A good relationship with their manager

For those working in the retail trade, engagement is mostly affected by the relationship between the employee and their immediate manager. It’s worth investing in leadership training and coaching for top talent, which can mean better management and retention of hourly staff.


  1. Interesting work

Employee motivations–like purpose and passion– were found to impact engagement as much as or more than personal ambition. If your hourly staff find tasks interesting and meaningful (and if those tasks make them feel accomplished or satisfied), they’re more likely to stick around.

Help your staff stay challenged and engaged with their work assignments. Consider cross-training your staff for other roles, asking them for their suggestions, and acting on them.


  1. Work-life flexibility

Work-life balance has an impact on engagement, yet 44% of Deloitte survey respondents felt poorly equipped to balance personal and professional priorities.

The best way to find out what’s important to your staff is to ask them. Conduct a short survey to see what changes they’d make to improve the workplace. They’ll appreciate being asked, feel more valued, and be more likely to stay.

In summary, if your workforce includes a large number of part-time staff, take the time to consider new approaches to developing your people, creating supportive and inclusive work environments, and providing interesting work and flexible scheduling.

Successful retailers reap the business benefits of treating staff well. One MIT professor found that in his years of creating case studies with companies who put workers first, investing in people “and complementing that with a great work design” resulted in better jobs, better customer service, lower prices and “great returns.”

Ready to work on your part-time worker recruitment and engagement strategies? Feel free to contact us.


About Mindfield

Mindfield is a Recruitment Outsourcing solutions provider that partners with companies to create powerful hourly workforces. Our solutions combine a recruitment team, simple to use technology and a data-driven hiring strategy that promises to improve the quality of your hourly workforce. This approach focuses on tying business outcomes such as sales performance, tenure, and engagement to the selection, hiring and measurement of quality candidates.