How to motivate part-time workers

Motivating your part-time employees may be easier than you think, they don’t want a lot but a little effort will go a long way!

Talk to them about career advancements 

Progression is fundamental to human nature, yet not enough is being done to show part-time employees that they can progress. This is why many employees often see part-time roles as dead-end jobs which they eventually leave. Advancements in careers, no matter what size, make a HUGE difference to employee motivation as it shows them that they are valued for their work.


Keep a record of each employee’s skills, training and achievements. When you sit down with them, show them their record so they can assess how they can achieve more and see how they can develop and progress. Once they get to a milestone and achieve a certain amount then you must reward them, this can be with a promotion, pay rise, more opportunities or new challenges at work, etc. Anything which proves to them that hard work is rewarded and continuing progression is an essential part of their role.

Pay more 

Many part-time workers are on minimum wage, so pair this with fewer hours and you have a recipe for disengagement. Although pay isn’t the whole formula which fixes employee engagement it is a large part of it, good pay shows that you value staff and their efforts!

Say ‘thank you’ more often 

As the majority of part-time shop floor workers are young (college, university students) it is important to remember that they expect a lot more positive reinforcement. They notice it more than you think when it is not there. In fact, a report which comprised data from more than 30,000 employees across more than 500 organisations, showed employees who received recognition were much more likely to rate their workplace as more fun.

Let them know their shifts in advance

One of the biggest complaints of part-time workers is the short notice they receive about which shifts they are working. If you’ve ruined their out of work plans, then you can be sure that they are going to be demotivated during their shift. Always make sure you have your employee rotas ready at least four weeks in advance.


Spend time getting to know your workplace, look at when it is most busy, look at who performs which tasks the best. Use this information to plan your rotas accordingly and avoid any changes happening further down the line. Build the roster before adding individual names this will allow you to support employee requests. Be more transparent with your rosters and make them available for employees to see online to avoid any surprises for them.

Allow them to trade shifts 

Sometimes it is unavoidable to give employees shifts that they don’t want to work because of outside commitments. To avoid staff members calling in sick and demotivating them, allow them to swap with their colleagues.


Make sure you sign the swaps off to prevent any miscommunication or confusion.

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 20th June 2018