The workforce structure debate: part time vs. full time
As one year draws to a close and we begin looking towards the next, there’s one theme already bubbling to the surface: businesses will be evaluating their workforce structures next year.
Every healthy business looks at their staffing approach from time to time, as changes made in the wake of the recession start to show results the gig economy is in full swing. Owners and operators are even more focused on the workforce composition – i.e., part time vs. full time – that will deliver the best results for their business.
There’s no magic formula to determine the right workforce structure. The approach that best serves your business is influenced by hard costs, organizational structure, consumer demand, legal requirements, etc. But before you dig into any of those factors, you need a solid understanding of the pros and cons of the two primary workforce approaches: part-time vs full-time.
- Part-time pros: Workforces made up of largely part-time hourly employees provide for reduced compensation and benefit costs; are attractive to desirable workforce demographic segments, such as students; and allow for greater schedule flexibility, which lets employers adjust staff levels to meet consumer demand.
- Part-time cons: However, part-time workforces may see less employee loyalty – including higher turnover – and inconsistent employee productivity. In addition, with higher turnover, and a larger workforce, you could see elevated training costs.
- Full-time pros: Workforces composed of mostly full-time hourly employees have the potential for higher productivity and service consistency due to high retention, strong employee loyalty, more solid team unity and a great ability to promote from within.
- Full-time cons: On the flip side, full-time workforces tend to carry higher compensation and benefit costs. And because you’re depending on a smaller workforce to carry a larger workload, it’s critical that you’re committed to building your workforce strategically, even if it may take a little longer to find the best employees.
Regardless of the approach you take, having the right employees in the right positions is critical because a strong team can yield benefits – reduced turnover, increased sales, improved customer service, etc. – which can often surmount other factors impacting your bottom line.
There’s little doubt that businesses will be evaluating their workforce structures next year. What remains to be seen is whether or not employers will take a balanced look at their options, weigh them against outside forces and put an emphasis on finding right-fit employees. If so, they’ll build a structure that supports growth and will be in a strong position to capitalize on what the future has to offer.