Nonprofit: Welcoming part-time workers
Part-time workers are a meaningful asset to any agency, perhaps especially so within the nonprofit sector. From your organizational overview, you already know that while part-time employees may manage basic administrative responsibilities, they also play a large part in the operationally vital tasks from one day to the next. In fact, part-time workers are extremely valuable because unfortunately, “[t]he nation’s nonprofits are under strain from the current economic crisis, a leadership drain as older executives retire, and high turnover among younger nonprofit staff.”

Creating unique part-time positions

As a result of ongoing economic hardship, there are many different kinds of jobseekers in the market. For that very reason, you’ll likely have a wealth of options to choose from in your search for a well-rounded and passionate part-time employee. Give your candidate pool a more thorough look-through and perhaps take a second look at retired persons who may be coming back for part-time work or mothers emerging from a year or two away from work after having children. There are many different kinds of jobseekers out there and, if you look carefully, some already have a wealth of business experience—experience that will benefit you, your team and, ultimately, those your organization is dedicated to serving.With that in mind, take a moment to think about what you do to reach out to and recognize your new part-time team members. As a basis for comparison: Do you have the same or similar procedures in place for welcoming part-time employees as you do for full-time employees? In case you come up short on ideas, here are some additions to your existing caché of warm greeting techniques:

  • Read all about it. Tell your community service area about your new hire or feature a part-time worker in an upcoming newsletter.
  • Give them credentials. If you haven’t already, supply your newest additions with organizational lanyards from which to hang their credentials and designate them as staff.
  • A cup for their morning coffee. Invite your part-time newbies to join you and the rest of your team with a matching organizational mug come coffee time.
  • Meetings and team events. Extend invitations to your part-time employees to take part in team lunches or afternoon meetings with their full-time counterparts in an effort to show them that, despite their reduced hours, they’re a meaningful part of what you do.
  • Organization apparel. Outfit your newest office additions with a promotional fleece to wear into the office and around town on those chilly days. Or use the gift of apparel as an incentive for part-time employees after they’ve reached three or six months.
  • Communication is key. Given that communication is such an integral element to any work atmosphere, it becomes even more important when two or more part-time employees work different days or different shifts and have to keep various projects on track over an extended period of time. In an effort to help them communicate with one another, you could present them with a not-to-be missed note nest or, even more pronounced, a dry erase board to complement their daily e-mail exchange if something is particularly urgent.

It is little gestures like these that surely communicate your appreciation and support to your part-time team members. Whether they’re program coordinators, community representatives, development or fundraising coordinators, grant writers or administrative assistants, it’s always nice to be reminded that what you do matters to the organization and the mission.

Eisner, David, Robert T. Grimm, Jr., Shannon Maynard, and Susannah Washburn. “Stanford Social Innovation Review: Informing and Inspiring Leaders of Social Change.” The New Volunteer Workforce. Stanford Social Innovation Review, Dec. 2009. Web. 12 Sept. 2012.

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