Tess C. Taylor, PHR, The HR Writer
Throughout the recession, with all the layoffs and government furloughs, America's employees are working harder than ever before. Many part time employees have also felt the brunt of this extra pressure. Why? Part time employees are often responsible for taking on more tasks for their employers to make up for gaps in departments, left behind by former or missing colleagues. This has left part timers feeling used and abused at times, leading to lower than average productivity, massive burnout, and generally low employee morale.
Making the Workplace Better with Low Cost Incentives
Every employee deserves to be appreciated for their hard work, even if they work part time. However with companies strapped for cash in a down economy, it can be difficult to have generous compensation and incentive plans for all employees. The good news is that there are many low cost (and sometimes free!) incentive ideas that are practical for part time employees. Here is a list of 9 to get you started.
- Verbal Praise
Saying “thanks” doesn't cost a thing. But when it comes to part time employees hearing praise from a supervisor, this can go a long way towards building morale in the workplace. Instruct supervisors on the importance of giving positive feedback to their part time as well as full time employees on a regular basis.
- Gift Cards
Gift cards, movie tickets, and other small tokens of appreciation can be great incentives for the part time employee. These can be bought in bulk at discounted rates and then handed out randomly to employees throughout the year. Add them to handwritten thank you cards for an added special touch.
- Healthy Lunches
A very cost effective way of incentivizing the workplace is to provide healthy lunch options at least once per week for your employees. Can't afford a lunch to be catered? Then simply add healthy snack and beverage options to company vending machines.
- Onsite Wellness Support
Many part time employees are conscientious about their health nowadays, especially those who are trying to lose weight, quit smoking, or reduce stress. Launch an annual health fair at your company, sponsored by local wellness providers. A corporate wellness program is easy to implement and can help to reduce costs stemming from employee absences and healthcare insurance premiums.
- Corporate Discounts
As an established business, you probably have access to corporate discounts for a wide range of technology products, community services and other valuable vendors. Why not pass these savings on to your employees and provide a corporate discount club for your part time employees too? Each week, highlight an exclusive discount by adding a note to employee paystubs.
- Flexible Work
All employees, including part timers, are looking for more work life balance. You can help them by providing flexible work arrangements including the option to work from home or to take paid days off as needed.
Low cost company events can be a fun way to recognize your part time employees and celebrate the achievements of your company at the same time. Throughout the year, randomly come up with themed events for no reason at all. For example you could have a "bring your kids to work" day or a friendly inter-office competition so that all employees can relax and participate in a fun activity. Invite your employees to provide the entertainment, if they are creatively inclined.
Equip your break areas with games that encourage part time employees to blow off steam in between work tasks. Add a combination of video games and physical fitness games to help all employees experience some much needed downtime when things get stressful. Or simply install a basketball hoop or soccer net to the company property to give employees a way to play their way to success.
- VIP Parking
Each week, nominate a part time employee to take advantage of your special VIP parking spot. This can be a fun way to recognize your employees at every level and it makes it convenient for them to get to work on time. An alternative to this is to have a VIP employee picture posted to the break room bulletin board to regularly recognize part timers.
While these are just a few of the many ways you can recognize and reward your part time workers, this is enough to build good will into your workplace. The return on investment is worth it!