How to Improve the Experience of Part-Time Employees

Is your organization increasing the number of part-time employees to reduce costs, increase flexibility, and remain competitive? If so, then you are not alone. However, emerging evidence suggests that the growing population of part-time employees may have important behavior and attitude differences compared to full-time employees. Part-time employees commonly work nonstandard schedules or at less desirable times, such as evenings, weekends, or holidays. This leads to increased negative work attitudes, more work-family conflict, and higher turnover.


Recent research (Wittmer & Martin, 2011) suggests that there is considerable diversity among the part-time workforce, and insight into this can help managers manage sub-groups more strategically. Some part-time workers have external responsibilities that are fixed (e.g., students with set class schedules), whereas others can be classified as having more flexible external commitments (e.g., people who supplement their family income and have fluid family commitments. The research says that this factor plays a key role in the level of inclusion part-time workers feel in their organizations.

The researchers found that for part-time employees, being classified as fixed versus flexible played an important role between work scheduling perceptions (i.e. scheduling control, scheduling satisfaction) and organizational attitudes (i.e. organizational commitment, job satisfaction, employment mobility). Particularly, part-time workers with more fixed outside roles demonstrate lower job attitudes and appear to perceive less inclusion in the organization. On the other hand, part-timers with flexible outside roles were found to hold higher job attitudes.


Part-time workers have one of the highest turnover rates. This study shows that scheduling perceptions can influence important job attitudes such as commitment and satisfaction. In this light, managers can strive to offer increased scheduling flexibility for part-time workers with fixed outside commitments. On the other hand, the authors suggest offering other incentives, such as pay premiums, for part-time employees with flexible outside commitments. These employees are less motivated by work scheduling flexibility.


Wittmer, J.L.S, & Martin, J.E. (2011). Effects of scheduling perceptions on attitudes and mobility in different part-time employee types. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 78, 149-158.