Part-Time Employees vs. Full-Time Employees

When hiring employees for your retail store, you'll need to decide whether the needs of your business are best served by full-time employees, part-time employees, or a combination of the two. Both options have several advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few things to think about when determining your staffing needs and finding the perfect balance to hire the best employees.

Full-Time Employees

Full-time employees generally work 40 hours per week. Hiring full-time staff gives you more control over the work schedules of your team members, as they are likely to have only one job. Having a full-time staff also gives you the opportunity to foster loyalty on your team. Full-time workers may be more invested in the business than part-time or casual workers. There tends to be fewer turnovers with full-time staff, so team performance is more consistent.

The main disadvantage of hiring full-time employees is cost. Full-time team members add to your payroll tax burden. Paid vacation time, benefits, and health insurance also contribute to the high cost of full-time staffing. Another disadvantage of full-time staff is that they generally take longer to recruit and screen than part-time or casual workers.

Part-Time Employees

Part-time employees offer the benefits of low cost and flexibility. Part-timers not only cost less in wages, they usually don't qualify for company benefits or health plans. Another advantage of part-time employees is that they are usually not assigned a fixed number of hours per week. You can schedule your part-time employees based on the amount of work you have available.

The disadvantage of part-time employees is that they may have other jobs or responsibilities - such as school - competing for their time. High turnover isn't uncommon in retail stores staffed by part-time employees. This high turnover rate can lead to lost sales and extra staff training expenses.

How to Choose Between Part-Time and Full-Time Employees

When choosing your employees, consider the size and needs of your business first. Having the right employees in the right positions is the key to thriving retail profits. Consider a mix of full-time and part-time employees to balance your workload, reduce turnover, and increase sales. You might also want to consider alternatives such as hiring casual, contract, or temp employees. Keep in mind as well that it's usually easier to upgrade a part-timer to full-time status than to demote a full-time employee. Casual and temporary workers offer you the chance to try your employees before you "buy".

A mistake many business owners make is considering cost alone when deciding between full- and part-time staff members. While cost is certainly an important factor, your team members' skill is what will ultimately decide the fate of the business. When you’re hiring employees, focus on the aptitude of your candidates before considering cost. Over the long term, you're better off having a few loyal employees than a revolving door of casual workers. High turnover rates can put a large dent in your profits. This is not to say that part-time employees have no value; quite the contrary. Part-time and casual workers may offer just the flexibility you need at a price you can afford. Carefully consider the needs of the business before deciding what's right for your retail store.