The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the face of the modern workforce in significant ways. Over the past few years, various aspects of professional life—more access to remote work options and evolving family health care and dependent care needs, for example—have led many people to opt out of working full time. This shift means scores of qualified talent are seeking part-time positions at higher levels.
Today’s leaders must now adapt to leading teams of skilled professionals who choose to work on a part-time basis. Here, 14 members of Forbes Coaches Council discuss various ways in which leaders can take better advantage of the burgeoning part-time contingent workforce.
1. Document Roles And Responsibilities
Ensure roles and responsibilities are documented. If you rely on part-time or temporary resources, when those resources are no longer available, it takes a lot of time, money and energy to continuously ramp up and onboard new resources. Outline the business need, how it can be solved in part-time hours, and then track the progress and deliverables to see if part-time work is the best solution. - Denise Russo, SAP
2. Accommodate The Best Talent’s Schedules
Adapt or die! It is incumbent on leaders to adapt to the drastically changing workforce by adapting accordingly. They should find the best talent possible, accommodate their part-time schedules and make work humane and fun. This strategy maximizes the current opportunity and provides future possibilities for retention. - Dr. Flo Falayi, Korn Ferry
3. Work With A Managed Service Provider
I recommend leaders work with a managed service provider (MSP) who specializes in their function of need. A high-caliber one will help leaders determine which tasks are ideal for part-time or project work. They can also own the backend administrative processes, such as payments, legal compliance and so on. Another good thing to ask of them is to help leaders train their managers on how to best interact with a part-time workforce. - Karan Rhodes, Shockingly Different Leadership (SDL)
4. Focus On Outcomes Instead Of Process
Focus on outcomes instead of process, then ask yourself whether the outcome can be achieved by someone working part time. If you can give accountability and ownership to the team member to achieve clear goals, then leave it up to them as to how they do it, you might be surprised about what’s possible. It’s all part of the new leadership model we need as we emerge from the pandemic. - Gary Crotaz, Gary Crotaz Ltd.
5. Develop Efficient Strategies For Streamlining Work
Leaders can look for the silver lining in this new movement and develop ways to become more flexible with scheduling and the aligning of benefits to enable work-life balance. This is also an opportune time to leverage technology, assess our workflows and develop strategies for streamlining work for maximum efficiency. If we’ve ever thought about changing our practices, the time is now. - Stacy Soria, Gladegy Consulting, LLC
6. Focus On Results And Promote Growth
Lifestyle, flexibility, challenge and purpose—focus on those four ingredients. Create opportunities that allow people to live where they want to live. Provide flexible work hours by focusing on results. Promote learning and growth. And lastly, make sure the work has meaning or is connected to a real purpose. People want more these days. Are you prepared to provide them with what they need? - Brad Federman, PerformancePoint LLC
7. Outsource Tasks To Highly Skilled Talent
Disruptive, changing times call for disruptive business practices. Companies should have trained project managers who can rapidly assign highly skilled, outsourced talent to specific tasks. By doing so, you save money on upskilling your workforce and motivate employees who prefer more flexibility. We hire four to ten professionals monthly on Upwork to work on different projects. - Mariana Ferrari, Dooit
8. Implement A Skills Development Strategy
Leaders must transform the current context into an opportunity by implementing a skills development strategy with HR teams. The objective is to no longer take into account only the training of the worker, but rather to judge their potential. This would allow leaders and teams to act agile and thus maximize the value that could be delivered to their customers. - Andre Shojaie, City of Montreal
9. Create Rotational Work Practices
Leaders can adapt by creating rotational work practices that border on a project view of tasks. Know what type of team is needed in a particular phase of the task. Bring them in specifically to successfully execute, while the next phase gathers momentum and the next team takes the lead. It will reduce dead zones of productivity and engage teams for a limited duration, maximizing output. - Arthi abikrisson, Prerna Advisory
10. Consider Job-Sharing Options At All Levels
Many companies have only considered one model of part-time work, and it is focused on entry-level or front-line positions. However, some companies have found that a variety of part-time options can be implemented at all levels of the organization. For example, job-sharing opportunities—where two people split a managerial position and the associated benefits—will often help people stay engaged. - Susan Madsen, Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
11. Fill Gaps With Part-Time Positions
Every seeming adversity offers opportunities. Leaders should be thinking about filling the gaps in their businesses. If you need a creative director, for example, reconsider full-time employment and rethink the position: You may find a true rock star who only wants a part-time gig. As the leader, you get the very best—and the employee is energized to do their best work, as it meets their current qualifications - Cha Tekeli, Chalamode, Inc.
12. Shift The Focus Away From ‘When’ Work Gets Done
Part-time work often requires schedule flexibility. One way organizations can take advantage of this capable and ready-to-work group is to shift the focus away from “when” work gets done. Instead, develop systems that streamline the tracking and organization of data, work outputs and results. While this requires more upfront effort, the result is staff having the flexibility to work nontraditional hours. - Cheryl Czach, Cheryl Czach Coaching and Consulting, LLC
13. Utilize Asynchronous Communication Channels
There are so many options here: Using job sharing, creating more specific roles that only require part-time work to get done, allowing people to leverage their skills and specialize more, and so forth. Whatever you decide to do, using part-time workforces means that communication becomes more important than ever. Make sure there are plenty of asynchronous channels where information can be exchanged. - Rajeev Shroff, Cupela Consulting
14. Hire Multiple Part-Timers For The Price Of One Full-Timer
The current situation where people are choosing part-time work over full-time positions can be seen as an opportunity. As a leader, you can search out and find best-in-class people to execute a specific task and hire them for that specific task. Couple this with contracting other best-in-class freelancers, and you can hire multiple people for the same price it would have cost for one full-time employee. - Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience