Part-time employees play a valuable role in a small business. They help deal with fluctuations in workload and can job-share with full-timers. In addition, because part-timers often look for flexibility in hours, you may find a skilled worker whose schedule fits perfectly with existing staff.

But part-timers can turn into a liability if not managed well. You could end up with poorly motivated workers who are unsure of their duties, unfamiliar with your company, and uncertain who they report to. Here are tips to keep this from happening.

Think before you hire

Decide what you want your new employee to do, what work hours are expected, and who he or she will report to. Does the position have well-defined duties? Or does the work involve filling in wherever needed? Decide on the pay and benefits.

Communicate clearly with your new part-timer

Explain the required duties and the chain of authority. Be very clear on hours and benefits, while remaining flexible enough to accommodate school or other commitments.

Communicate clearly with your full-time staff

Explain why you’re hiring a part-time employee. Clarify what the new employee will and will not be expected to do. Designate who will manage and assign work to the part-timer.

Make the part-timer feel like part of the company

Provide introductory training on specific duties and the company’s business and policies. Assign a mentor or “buddy” – someone the new person can turn to with everyday questions.

Monitor progress

Don’t forget about your new employee after hiring. Provide feedback on performance and recognition for tasks well done.

With a sound plan, hiring a part-time employee can be a win-win situation.

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