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4 Tips For Attracting & Engaging Part-Time Workers In Senior Care

December 11, 2019 | Mike Pumphrey

Blog-Attracting-Engaging-Part-Time-EmployeesThe senior care industry has higher full-time, front-line worker turnover than competing industries like retail and hospitality, according to the research firm behind the annual Great Place to Work survey. So, it makes sense that providers would pour their retention efforts and energy into this group. However, organizations can’t forget about a very important part of the workforce: part-time and per diem employees.

There are over 78 million part-time workers in the U.S., accounting for approximately 59% of the workforce. Of that number, 45% hold some form of professional accreditation, be it a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree, or doctorate. In other words, there is a large pool of qualified part-time workers that organizations should be tapping into.

Here are some strategies for making your community attractive to part-time workers as well as how to keep them long-term (and maybe even move them to full-time status!) once they’ve come aboard.

Offer Best-Fit, Flexible Schedules

Remember, part-time employees crave the flexibility that their employment status affords them. While it might be tempting for managers to use part-time staff to fill gaps in the schedule, doing so arbitrarily is a quick way to lose them. They likely have another job, are going to school and/or juggling other obligations outside of your community. To avoid any confusion, work with them to understand their availability, their scheduling preferences and whether they would be interested in picking up extra shifts.

OnShift’s Mobile App not only makes it easy for this on-the-go group to view their schedules remotely, but allows them to adjust their scheduling preferences, swap shifts and request PTO on their own time.

Discuss Professional Growth & Career Advancement Right Off The Bat

Part-time workers, like their full-time colleagues, are attracted to jobs with opportunities for career advancement. During the hiring process, have similar discussions around career aspirations and professional goals. Are they looking for flexibility while they work on a degree? Are there certain skillsets they want to develop? How can your organization help them advance in their career? Continue these conversations throughout their tenure and re-align goals and career objectives as necessary.


Keep Communication Lines Open

Even though part-time and per diem staff aren’t around as often as your full-timers, they should be made aware of any essential policy and procedure changes or important announcements just the same. This communication extends to collecting and offering feedback as well. Be sure to schedule regular performance reviews and solicit their input for workplace improvements. The pulse surveys in OnShift Engage help providers monitor staff satisfaction and collect feedback. Part-time staff should also be included in as many all-hands training sessions as possible.

OnShift’s Mobile App keeps this always-on-the-go group in the loop. Management can easily mass message employees to communicate important announcements and fill open shifts should their part-timers be available to help out.

Find Alternative Ways To Incentivize & Reward

Guardian Life Insurance Co.’s annual workplace benefits study revealed that 75% of part-time employees do not have health insurance; 68% do not have a retirement plan; and 86% do not have disability insurance.

Offering workplace perks helps providers stand out from the competition and shows part-time workers they’re committed to their well-being. Consider offering paid time off, opportunities for educational advancement or tuition assistance, and a voluntary benefits program.

A rewards and recognition platform is another proven way to incentivize stellar performance and thank employees for their hard work. OnShift Engage, our employee engagement software, distributes points to be later redeemed for rewards for behaviors like clocking in and out on time, picking up open shifts and going above and beyond.

And finally, offering employees access to earned but unpaid wages shows employees, especially hourly workers, that you care about their financial wellness and want to help. OnShift Wallet, our employee financial wellness software, has helped many employees avoid payday loans, costly bank overdraft and late fees. This is a perk employees truly appreciate, as 92% of OnShift Wallet users say they are likely to recommend their organization to a friend or colleague.

As you can see, part-time and per diem workers crave a lot of the same things as your full-time staff -- with a few nuances, of course. By catering to their availability, discussing career goals, clearly communicating and rewarding them for their work, you’ll see a spike in engagement and likely retain these employees long-term. Plus, if your workplace “wows” them enough, they might decide to move to full-time status.

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About Mike Pumphrey

Mike Pumphrey is Vice President of Product Marketing at OnShift. His expertise in staffing and labor management strategies in long-term care and senior living is foundational to his role leading OnShift’s Product Marketing team. Mike works hand-in-hand with state and national associations, senior care providers, and with OnShift’s Customer Success and Product teams to create impactful best practices aimed to help solve the daily workforce challenges in senior care. Mike shares insights, research and recommendations to improve clinical, operational, and financial outcomes through regular blog posts and conference speaking engagements.

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