How to manage the biggest complaints from part-time workers

We looked at some of the major company review websites and noticed a pattern amongst the complaints of part-time workers at some of the UK’s biggest and most popular retail brands. Read the most common grievances and find out what you can do to prevent your part-time workers being unhappy.


#1 Lack of respect from management 

This was by far the most common complaint. A lot of workers expressed that they were not treated as humans, more as just numbers trying to reach the shop’s targets. They would complain about not being listened to and, in a large majority of cases, management were reported as being very rude. There seemed to be a theme of hierarchical structures, where management took advantage of their position and used it to demonstrate their power, rather than help and support their part-time staff.

How to respect your part-time workers 

If your staff don’t feel valued then they won’t work to the best of their ability.

  • Try to recognise your team as individuals, with their own goals, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Humans are naturally programmed to be recognised as individuals, so if you start treating them the same as everyone else or just as a ‘number’ then naturally they are going to become resentful.
  • Try to take more of a ‘flat structured’ approach, be more transparent with your employees and try not to hide things from them. A lot of reviews stated the regional manager rarely visited, but when they did they only spoke to the store manager. Ensure you make an effort to speak with everyone as it will make staff feel involved and valued in the business.


#2 Not enough training 

A big complaint was stress because there was such a lack of training. Part-time workers were expected to know a lot more then they could handle without the adequate training. Sometimes management overlooks part-time staff and pays more attention to the learning needs of full-time staff, which is a costly mistake. There seems to be a misconception that training has to be long and takes up too much time for part-time workers to get involved, however, this is not true at all.

How to easily train part-time staff 

With the rise of bring your own device (BYOD) policies, it is now easier to fit training flexibly into part-time staff’s routine so that they can learn every day. Oplift’s microlearning feature was designed so your staff can learn in short bursts quickly and easily. Staff can top up knowledge on their commute, during quiet periods at work, in between shifts, or on their lunch break. Oplift Engage offers small 1-5 minute learning modules that staff can complete when they have time. This is the most effective learning method for part-time employees and their work needs.


#3 Short notice on rotas

It seemed to be common for management to release staff rotas as late as the day before their shifts. This is incredibly inconsiderate and is an almost guaranteed way to lose trust and loyalty from your staff.

How to ensure you plan rotas further 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 as this will allow you to support employee requests. Be more transparent with your rosters and make them available for employees to see online, which will avoid any surprises for them.


#4 Boring during quiet periods 

A lot of workers complained about having nothing to do during quiet periods in the store. Obviously, this is a tough one to resolve as you cannot force customers into your store to reduce boredom for your staff. However, you can utilise the time to benefit the business, your employees, and banish boredom.

How to banish boring periods

Virgin Media had the very same problem, so they designed Albert their gamified e-learning hero with Oplift Extend. There are three daily challenges for staff to complete. Staff receive experience points (XP) every time they play and boost their score by answering correctly. Albert is deployed on employees own in-store iPads or their personal Android and iOS devices. Virgin Media have found that staff play the multiple choice question game during quiet periods at work, so they are boosting their knowledge and eliminating boredom at the same time… genius!

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 28th June 2018