As companies struggle to find qualified candidates, the best choice for an open position might be right under your nose. One of your rock star team members might be looking at the current job market and considering going from part-time to full-time work. You don’t want to lose them to a competitor – especially because it’s more cost effective to retain a good employee rather than onboarding a new hire.

We’re in a period of economic growth, making this the ideal time to rethink your staffing plan. Do you have roles that could be expanded from part-time to full-time? Would promoting employees familiar with your business practices, your culture, your products, and your team help you grow? If so, now is the time to make your business case.  


Making The Business Case 

  • Budgetary Considerations: Focus on defining what changing the role from part-time to full-time brings to the company compared to what it will cost.  
  • Employee Engagement: How and when do you approach the employee with an offer.  
  • Making the Business Case: It must be a win for your department, a win for the company, and a win for the employee.


The Economics of Employees 

Has the part-time position you hired the employee for expanded and they’re working 35 hours per week or more? If that’s the case, there may be legal implications. According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), there are federal and state laws that define the difference between part-time and full-time work. For instance, the Affordable Care Act defines full-time work as 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month. If you have a part-time position that fits that description, you may be required to offer full-time benefits.  

Some of the costs to take into consideration are:  

  • Insurance 
  • Healthcare 
  • Vision 
  • Dental  
  • Life 
  • Short/Long- term disability 
  • 401(k) employer match  
  • Paid time off/Holiday pay 

Depending on what you offer, these benefits can add $10,000 or more to an employee’s cost. However, the increase in productivity may be worth it in the long run.  


Benefits vs. Overtime 

If your workload has greatly increased, you may be required to pay overtime. In general, salaried employees are exempt from overtime pay, but hourly employees are not. If your part-time staff is regularly working more than 40 hours per week, there are financial implications. Ask yourself, would your budget benefit more from paying a time-and-a-half rate? Or would it be more cost-effective to offer the employee full-time status and the associated benefits?  


Avoid the Revolving Door 

Often, companies feel they can’t promote a part-time employee to a full-time position. This is frustrating for your workers and may create a revolving door where fed-up employees continuously leave for better opportunities. This leaves you constantly short-staffed putting greater pressure on remaining team members, creating more frustration.  

Then there’s the cost of hiring and training a new team member. Recent estimates say it takes about 42 days and costs about $4,129 to fill a position. You have to advertise the position, interview candidates, check references, and conduct required screening. Once the new team member joins, they require increased management oversight until they’re fully trained. This leads to lost productivity.  

You’ll also have to consider the costs for training a new employee. This includes the time they spend shadowing other staff members until the newbie knows how the systems in your organization work. You can improve the acclimation rate by partnering with a training partner that offers both off-the-shelf and custom training modules that allow staff to learn at their own pace.  

As we’ve all heard, recruiting can be a challenge in the current market. You can expect both the number of days and price to recruit new staff members to increase this year. These staff shortages are causing some businesses to reduce hours of operation because they don’t have enough employees to cover shifts. Is that something your business can afford?


Employee Engagement Considerations 

If you rely on part-time employees as part of your workforce, it’s important that they know their options. Be open and honest. If there isn’t a path to a full-time position, don’t string them along with empty promises.  

A coworker of mine used to work part-time for a high-profile organization with many non-traditional perks. The work was seasonal, so even though she was classified as part-time, there were weeks where she was working 60+ hours! During the off-season, she only worked 20 hours per week. Since she was a college student at the time, she had insurance benefits through her parents. She took on other tasks when asked and proved herself to be a stellar worker. When she graduated, she was able to use that experience to secure a full-time position within the organization, so her hard work paid off.  

What if a part-time employee wants to remain part-time? That’s okay! Some people only want part-time work. That doesn’t mean that you don’t check in on their career goals. For example, we ask our part-time employees yearly about they’re at and manage accordingly. You still need to communicate with them, provide them training, and encourage their best selves, regardless of how many hours they work. 

If a part-time position at your company can lead to full-time, make sure you: 

  • Outline the exact steps employees need to take to reach that goal. This allows employees to step-up when opportunities present themselves.  
  • Find the right fit. Direct part-time employees to different departments with full-time openings, especially if it’s a better fit for their skillset.  
  • Share success stories of other part-time employees who were able to make the transition. If that employee is still with the company, introduce the two for networking or mentorship opportunities.  


SMART Feedback 

If a part-time worker isn’t on the right track, let them know. Allow them to make corrections. Encourage them to use SMART goals 

SMART Goals:

  • Specific: Answers the who, what, where, and when of the goal. 
  • Measurable: Create milestones to track progress.
  • Attainable: Determine if the goal is realistic. If not, revise.  
  • Relevant: Consider if this is worth your time. If not, revise.  
  • Time-Bound: Set a deadline. 

As a manager, you can review their SMART goals and offer guidance. You can download these materials to assist in the process.  

Part-time staff deserve the same level of respect as your full-time employees, and should be given timely feedback on their performance. Reward good work and encourage part-timers to flex their professional muscles to show they’ve got what it takes to move up. If they’ve gone above and beyond, share the news with your superiors. The more visibility you give a good employee, the more it builds confidence and builds your case that this employee can make a bigger impact as a full-time worker.  

As you make plans to promote someone to a full-time position, review their goals. Ask the following questions to make sure you’re in alignment:  

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?  
  • What skills would you like to gain or improve upon? 
  • Where do you feel the company could support you better?

It’s important to make this an ongoing conversation. Employees that feel heard will have greater loyalty to their supervisor and their company.  

Once a part-time employee has mapped out their goals, offer them the training they need to achieve them. This should go beyond job-related skills. For instance, new employees may need help with soft skills such as active listening, time management, and conflict resolution. Someone re-entering the job force after an extended absence may need job related or technical skills.

 Considerations when employees go from part-time to full-time work - ej4 blog graphic


Making the Business Case 

When the workload justifies it, and you’ve identified a star player, it’s time to create a proposal to justify adding a full-time position. You’re asking your organization for an increased spend in your department, so make sure you’ve done your homework.

  • Analyze the metrics: Evaluate the work your department has done for multiple quarters. Clearly show how going from part-time to full-time work will benefit the company.  
  • Identify your needs: The data you collected should justify your ask. If you see a seasonal spike, it might make more sense to increase an employee’s hours temporarily to cover the high-volume time period.  
  • Be specific: If you have an employee in mind for the position, explain what skills are needed and why this person is the ideal candidate. 
  • Explain the downside: An overwhelming workload leads to higher stress levels and increased employee burnout – which may lead to staff attrition.  
  • Show the win-win: Emphasize how the promotion will positively impact productivity, and improve employee morale. Being known as a company that promotes from within will help your reputation within the market, allowing you to attract top talent.  

Working with a company like ej4, you will have access to all the training topics I mentioned. Of course, you would start with making these available to your full-time employees. As other team members go from part-time to full time, you can easily curate a curriculum of training to help them with the transition. ej4 offers an extensive library of off-the-shelf business, career, and personal development courses that are specifically designed for adult learners. 


Additional Resources: 


Kathy Irish

Written by Kathy Irish

Kathy joined ej4 in 2007 as our first Instructional Designer. She has over 15 years’ experience in Human Resource Management, Training and Organizational Development. In addition to managing and planning ej4’s yearly new content development, Kathy also oversees all the production on updates (both legal and style-wise) to current off-the-shelf content.

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