It's no secret that more and more businesses are switching to a part-time workforce. Whether you are looking to increase flexibility, cut costs, or simply adjust to new regulations like the Affordable Care Act, you probably have many more part-time staff than you had five years ago, and you're likely to have even more part-time staff in the future.

To fill these part-time positions, you're going to be working with staffing organizations like us. Here's what you need to know: We work with these job candidates every day. Some of them are glad to have the opportunity to work a flexible schedule, or to combine working with child care or other responsibilities, but others are nervous about joining the ranks of the part-time.

Like it or not, "part-time" is often synonymous with "lesser than." Many job seekers fear that a first part-time job will lead to a life of reduced opportunity. That means it's your company's job to ensure your part-time staff is just as satisfied with their work as your full-time staff members. Do that, and you'll be head and shoulders above the companies that treat part-timers as replaceable cogs. You'll get more out of your staff, and it'll be better for everyone -- and staffing agencies like us will recognize this and send you our very best people.

Here are five benefits to give your part-time staff to show that they, too, are essential parts of your company:

1. Pay a living wage
If you can't afford to do anything else, do this one. Learn your state's living wage and offer it as your initial wage for part-timers. You are already saving costs in a number of other areas, so make sure everyone on your staff has the opportunity to earn enough money to provide basic support to themselves and their families.

2. Give each staff member a personal work station
Many companies choose to hotdesk, asking part-time employees to share workstations between shifts. This measure may save money, but is a huge drag on productivity -- imagine what it would be like to have to carry all your office supplies to and from your desk every day, and to never sit at the same seat twice. It is also terrible for morale; in addition to the turf wars that result from shared space, your workers are unable to set out basic workplace comforts such as family photos or a favorite coffee mug.

Instead, make sure every member of your staff has a personal workstation. Invest in inexpensive, mobile, easy-to-store options like a small glass computer desk, and make sure everyone on your team has a space to call home.

3. Offer a clear promotion path
Whenever possible, offer a clear promotion path to part-timers. Everyone wants an opportunity to learn new skills, to take on increased responsibilities, and to build a career. Even if you promote into higher-level part time positions, simply knowing that hard work pays off is a huge motivator.

4. Embrace job sharing
Instead of asking your part-timers to do small, repetitive chunks of various jobs, split your part-timers into groups and give each of those groups a job role to share. Give three part-timers with different shift schedules the same job role, and let them work together to define objectives and complete job tasks. According to Forbes, job-sharing increases both loyalty and productivity. It is also a way for your part-time staff to contribute measurable value to your company.

5. Offer paid vacation and sick days
Everybody gets sick, and everybody takes vacation. Work out with your CFO and HR staff how much paid vacation and sick days you can afford to give your part-timers, and make sure everyone on your staff has the opportunity to stay home with the flu, instead of bringing it into your office. This simple step is a great way to show your part-time staff that you understand they, too, need work-life balance.

As more companies embrace the concept of a part-time workforce, these five steps will set your company apart from the rest and ensure you get the best part-time staff available. Trust us -- because we'll be the people helping you hire them.


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Tags: Advice, Sick days, Forbes, Affordable Care Act, Part-time, Living wage, Hotdesk, Promotion, Job-sharing, Paid vacation