Adopting Part-Time Scheduling will not Solve your Talent Problem

October 7, 2022 | Contact Center Industry | Flexible Workforce | Blog
Part time vs right time

In today’s climate, enterprises are faced with a talent problem. They either have too much capacity for their demand, or they struggle to find the right talent profile to meet their needs. One of the reasons comes down to lack of flexibility.

Sometimes, enterprises have a different definition of the word “flexibility”. Traditionally, when agents think of flexibility, they apply it to the ability to work where and when they want, setting their own schedule without the fear of any lost wages or decrease in their overall earnings. The VirtualFlex model is an example of adaptability and a company’s solution to the varying interests and changing times.

Businesses know that they will face an uphill battle to attract and retain talent if they do not embrace some level of flexibility, or some may not implement the changes needed to adapt. However, when certain businesses consider flexible schedules, they drop it into the “part-time” bucket. This type of scheduling puts more time into the worker’s day by cutting their workday from eight to four or six hours… an obvious way to offer work-life balance, right?

Not exactly. Part-time schedules may free up part of the workday but are not solving the talent problem.

What Your Workforce Really Wants

“Autonomy” is the word du jour in 2022. But for many in the workforce, the ability to work remotely whenever and wherever they want, comes with serious cost analysis.

For businesses trying to attract talent with autonomy, the competition is rapidly expanding. Not with each passing year, but with each passing month. According to a recent Gartner study, the number of primarily-remote job openings in the United States saw a 700% increase within a 3-month period in 2021.

Recent studies have also revealed two key statistics businesses should make note of: only roughly 34% of the workforce feel engaged in their current job, and 60% of respondents would accept less pay at a different job in order to have more flexibility. These numbers suggest that businesses have an opportunity to attract real talent in their industries, so long as they can fulfill the desire for true flexibility, and not rely solely on a part-time work-from-home home model as the only incentive.

True flexibility isn’t just a “nice to have” for businesses seeking premium talent. Record numbers of workers have moved from traditional employment models to self-employment opportunities where they are in the driver’s seat of their careers. McKinsey recently reported that currently 36% of the U.S. workforce is part of the distributed independent economy (including freelance, contract and gig workers). As more people get the taste of true freedom, traditional models will struggle to gain traction attracting talent without ensuring true flexibility components.

Part-Time: Pros, Cons, and Solutions for Enterprises

All told, a part-time model does provide certain, undeniable benefits for businesses looking to attract new hires. Not only do part-time models often meet the needs for those looking to establish a stronger work-life balance (and don’t mind earning less income because of it), but part-time positions can also be cost-effective for businesses who experience 4-hour peaks.

But the cost to attract and onboard new part-time workers is typically the same as full-time employees. Additionally, with hourly part-time work, there are still costs associated with non-productive agent time, especially when call volume is low.

So, even as the part-time model may drive down operational costs, the difference may not always be worth it, especially if businesses are seeking to attract top talent in their industry. Other remote-first work models, such as the VirtualFlex model, may be worth exploring for enterprises who are willing to offer their workforce more freedom and autonomy, without sacrificing service levels. A key difference is scheduling in 30-minute commits instead of 4 or 8-hour shifts, while only paying for true productive work time. At Liveops, we call this “right-time” scheduling.

With remote work opportunities springing up at a rapid pace, what is your enterprise offering to stand out among the competition and attract the best talent possible?

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Jessica Jensen

A member of the Liveops Client Development team, Jessica Jensen is passionate about understanding the experiences of contact center leaders across industries, and educating how the VirtualFlex Model navigates recent shifts in the workforce.