As the founder of a boutique fitness studio, Refine Method, I'm fortunate to be in New York where there is a large community of performers, such as actors and musicians, looking for part-time work. But managing and motivating employees who have other passions can be quite a challenge. Here are some of my tips:
Learn the Law
The laws related to part-time employees are complex and frequently evolving. Engaging an employment attorney for regular audits of issues ranging from employee classification to wage and hour policies can be essential for ensuring that you remain up to date and may help save you legal expenditures down the line.
Create a Clear Job Description
Because they work for a shorter amount of time per week, it's important that a part-time employee's role, responsibilities and schedule are clearly defined. We find part-time employees to be best suited for project-based work with a limited learning curve, rather than miscellaneous tasks. By investing time upfront in creating a clear project roadmap, we prevent missteps later on and help create an environment where the employee feels confident and capable—which can be crucial for long-term happiness on both sides.
–Brynn Putnam, founder, Refine Method
Respect Employees' Time
Our part-time employees are at the studio a limited number of hours each week and often out of state for months at a time while performing. It is essential that everyone remain up to date, while respecting that our employees' time out of the office is their own. We have found collaboration tools like Slack, Streak and Trello to be invaluable for remaining in contact and helping us to build time-saving systems and processes.
Align Your Interests
Understanding your employees as individuals, not just teams, can be helpful for all types of workforces, but even more so for part-time employees who have outside interests and priorities. We ask our employees to create “user manuals" for themselves, describing their management style, workplace pet peeves and personal goals and passions. Giving our employees more agency has enabled us to maintain good communication in a fast-growing business with multiple locations and a transient staff.
Invest Fully in Your Employees
We’ve found intellectual curiosity to be the number one attribute of a successful Refine employee. By hiring eager learners, we have built a workforce that, although mostly part time, is excited to continuously improve. As a result, we make a commitment to investing in continuing education, like workshops with our resident physical therapist, which may not only improve the quality of our workouts, but also signals to our staff that, despite part-time hours, they are integral to our team.