This time of year is when employers will recruit thousands of casual Christmas staff to help with demand. Therefore it makes good business sense to have them engaged and motivated.

Part-time and casual staff make up almost 70 per cent of the retail workforce. After hospitality, this is the second-highest participation rate by part-timers and casual workers in any Australian business sector. Despite this, part-time employees are often treated merely as stopgaps. They can be perceived as disconnected, working with a clock-in, clock-out mentality. In my experience, these observations are way off the mark.

In the retail environment, part-time and casual staff are critical to company growth and workplace culture

The flexibility of part-time and casual work makes it an appealing – and in many cases necessary – option for many talented, hard-working people. For example, it allows many people to have a role in the workforce while studying or raising a family. Flexibility is also an advantage for retailers, helping meet the demands of peak shopping periods such as Christmas.

But this contribution is unlikely to reach its potential if staff are not engaged.

According to HubSpot, 69 per cent of employees say they would work harder if their employers better appreciated them. This might seem obvious, yet I often hear from casual workers who feel undervalued or like a ‘dollar per hour’ commodity.

They tell me stories of having shifts cut at the last minute. Being asked to come in and cover a staff shortage with little or no notice, and being rostered on for a four-hour shift, only to be sent home early or given only a couple of shifts a week, leaving them short of an adequate income.

part time employees retail

Casual members of staff do not receive the same benefits as full-time employees

They usually miss out on sick leave, holiday pay and annual leave. Casual staff get excluded from the benefits of store discounts and personal and professional development opportunities. What casual staff and part-time staff members want is to feel valued, appreciated and cared about. Don’t we all?

This isn’t just about good vibes. Engaging part-time and casual staff makes good business sense. Research shows companies with high employee engagement are 22 per cent more profitable. A 2017 Gallup report found highly engaged workplaces enjoy a 41 per cent reduction in absenteeism and a 17 per cent increase in productivity.

When handled well, part-time and casual staff employment is a win-win. A commitment to engaging this workforce and full-time employees will result in increased revenue, increased productivity, and improved company culture.

Retaining and engaging great employees is a core pillar of all my Leadership Programs. To find out more, click here.