Workforce Strategies For Post-COVID-19 Recovery: Are Part-Time Professionals The Answer?

Derrick Omollo | 7th July 2020

Job Search
Workforce Strategies For Post-COVID-19 Recovery: Are Part-Time Professionals The Answer?

Workforce Strategies For Post-COVID-19 Recovery: Are Part-Time Professionals The Answer?

Derrick Omollo | 7th July 2020

Job Search

The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled governments and business leaders around the world into unprecedented lockdowns and stay-at-home measures in an effort to curb the spread and enormous health impacts arising from this virus.

As these efforts show signs of working, countries and businesses alike are turning their focus to scenario planning with a view towards recovery. A significant focus for organizations right now is managing through the unprecedented workforce conditions resulting from the response to COVID-19.

In Kenya specifically, small and medium enterprises, have been adversely affected by the negative impact of Covid-19 to especially the local economy. A good number of organizations have made significant operational changes, including restructures and layoffs that have left remaining business operations crippled.

In the days and weeks to come, as we learn more, turn corners, and find the “next normal,” it will be critically important to shift focus to planning for how to most efficiently and effectively “ramp back up.” This will require proactive scenario planning that integrates financial models with workforce strategies.


What Workforce Options Do Employers Have?

Companies that inherently depend on staff being on site or in the office to handle critical operational functions are struggling to figure out how to get work done in the meantime with less “hands”.

Experts advice that to overcome this challenge, companies should actively think about their remaining workforce as a gig/freelance workforce to understand their full range of skillsets beyond their pre-crisis set of activities, and deploy them in parts of the organization that need help.

An emerging trend that’s proving popular among employers in meeting workforce demand is alternative talent that is flexible and agile enough to allow for better management of long-term volatility caused by crisis events. I am talking about reliable part-time professionals.


What Are Part-Time Professionals?

The ILO Part-Time Work Convention, 1994 (No. 175), defines a part-time worker as an “employed person whose normal hours of work are less than those of comparable full-time workers”. A part-time job is one that usually requires a person to work fewer hours per workweek than their employer deems full-time employment.

Traditionally, part-time employees have typically included students, moms and dads, retirees, and other workers who don't want or need the time commitment of a full-time position. A lack of interest in part-time work from more mainstream professionals have generally made part-time engagement less attractive to employers who generally prefer a diverse, engaged and well qualified talent pool.

Beyond this, the other major challenges associated with part-time work include:

  1. Lack of full control by the employer.
  2. Lack of work quality assurance.
  3. Unassured employee engagement and commitment.

However, in a lagging economy like the one caused by COVID -19 worldwide, part-time jobs may be filled by workers who would prefer full-time employment, but can't find a full-time job.

COVID-19 is accountable to the great shifts we’re witnessing in human resourcing globally like the large scale adoption of remote work. We’re seeing companies adopting flexible working hours for their employees to better accommodate the safety guidelines recently taken up to battle the coronavirus. 

It is for the above reasons that Emploi launched the Professional As A Service Package that will enable employers have access to part-time professionals, who would either work remotely or have arrangements to go to work for an agreed number of hours or days per month. This package targets well advanced professionals who are having a hard time re-entering the job market because they are either expensive, or their needs are too specific to be met by a whole lot of employers. The package allows SME's who are struggling with management or specialized functions that require a good level of domain expertise yet they can’t afford hiring fulltime, or even hiring external consultancy firms which are expensive.


Benefits of hiring part-time professionals

Part-time employees provide countless benefits to start-ups, small businesses, SME's, and even multi-national behemoths. Whether you lack the resources to hire an experienced professional full-time, or don't need a full-time member of staff, a part-time hire could fill your needs whilst bringing an array of benefits to your business.


  1. Get The Skills You Need With A Limited Budget

COVID-19 has seen companies downsizing, among a string of other measures, just to cut cost. Most companies are currently cash strapped as they’ve had to cut down operations that generate them revenue. Half-empty to empty restaurants to uphold social distancing; empty docks and grounded airplanes to uphold travel restrictions that curb the spread of the virus; cancellation of tv programmes and advertising due to restrictions on production and travel; you name it! Most companies don’t have cash left in their accounts to hire full-time workers. You might though find they have a little left to consider hiring part time workers whose salaries would be just about half of what a full-time worker might demand.


  1. Get The Experience That You're Struggling To Attract

Without increasingly deep pockets, a phenomena further accelerated by the pandemic, SME's and start-ups find they don't have the employer brand to compete with the big boys! By offering part-time and flexible opportunities at the point of hire, it's possible to attract the attention of previously unattainable candidates.


  1. Improve Diversity And Enhance Your Workforce

Many employers are struggling to improve diversity, especially when it comes to recruiting women. As well as being a successful method of re-introducing highly skilled and valuable professionals, hiring part-time staff can help to improve diversity initiatives, and in turn enhance your workforce. This has the additional benefit of showing clients and potential customers that you value having a diverse workforce.


  1. Part-Time Staff Can Make Businesses More Agile

If you have customer or client needs that are outside the normal 9-5 working hours, employing part-time and flexible staff can be a great way of facilitating your business to become more agile. The coronavirus has seen companies moving to remote work and other work models like reduced working hours, all in line with safety measures to help curb the virus. Part-time workers can help you respond to and manage changes in peak demands. For example, you can use more workers at peak times and extend your operating hours by using part-time workers in the evenings or at weekends.


  1. Part-Time Staff Help Employers Support Over-Stretched Workers

We often see employers who are over-stretched that are struggling to keep up with the needs of the business. This can have a negative impact on both the well-being of the affected employee, their productivity, and their team. Using part-time staff can be a great way to support an overworked employee whilst increasing both employee engagement and retention.


Closing off . . .

There will be no “one-size-fits-all” solution for Post Covid workforce strategies. Each organization will need an approach that meets the needs of their size and scale, aligned with nature and extent to which they have ramped down.

However, with the current shifts eminent in human resourcing worldwide such as reduced working hours and the adoption of remote work by most organizations, it is inevitable that hiring part-time workers will prove a more practical, cost-effective solution.


Sounds good, don’t you think? If you are interested to hear more and judge if this program suits your needs, get in touch here. Let us have a discussion on how we can help you solve some of your most pressing workforce needs.

 Are you an employer looking to hire part-time professionals? Get in touch here.

Are you a professional interested in a part-time opportunity? Get in touch here.

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