Updated August 27, 2018
As a small business owner, it can sometimes feel like there is a never-ending list of things that need to be done and decisions that you are responsible for making. One of the most important processes is knowing when to hire an employee because it is essential to have smart and motivated people working for you.
Before you even start to interview potential candidates and evaluate resumes, you first need to decide whether you are going to hire full-time employees, part-time employees or independent contractors because there is a big difference. Hiring a full-time employee is not always the best decision for every company and considering the effect this hiring can have on your company’s bottom line, it is important to look at a few of the pros and cons of hiring a full-time employee first.
Pros of a Full-time Employee
Commitment and effort
There is no official workload that determines what makes a full-time employee and what makes a part-time employee, but most full-time employees are expected to work at least 30 hours per week, and many work far more than 30 hours per week. Full-time employees are also likely to expect health care coverage and vacation days, plus other benefits and perks. Assuming you have chosen your new employee well, this employee will recognize all the wonderful benefits afforded and will repay you by working hard, staying motivated and putting a lot of effort and care into the work. This isn’t to say that a part-time employee isn’t capable of the same kind of effort and commitment; it just means there are fewer incentives to stay committed and put in that effort for part-time employees.
Fishing in the pool with the best fish.
Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective employee. You are a smart, talented and hard-working recent college graduate who is excited to finally start your career. You are anxious to start your job, but you also know that living on your own, without any financial support, will require a job with a competitive salary. As a talented individual, you know that there are many companies who would want your services, and so you have the luxury of picking and choosing what jobs to apply for. Now tell me, how many of those jobs that you are applying for will be part-time?
It’s certainly not true that the best and the brightest always want to be full-time employees, but it is safe to say that the vast majority of job seekers are looking for full-time employment. So by listing the position with your company as part-time employment, you are already cutting out a large number of capable and excellent candidates from the prospect pool. By listing the job as full-time, you will ensure that your potential employees will come from a much larger and more diverse talent pool, giving you an advantage when it comes time to pick the best employee.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Assuming you are hiring a full-time employee who will be working in the same office as the rest of your staff on a daily basis, the hire will help you build a cohesive company in which all of the employees are working towards one goal (hopefully that goal is making your company successful). Part-time employees may only deal in one specific section of the business and they may only come into the office twice per week or they may not come into the office at all.
Working from home doesn’t necessarily mean that the work will be any less excellent, but it does mean that this employee, who is ostensibly helping you and your other employees build a business, won’t get the opportunity to interact and build relationships with the members of your team.
This is why the “sum of its parts” adage works in this instance because most business owners would rather have 10 people collaborating and working as a cohesive group towards the same goal than have 10 people working individually on different parts of the project. When everyone works in close proximity to one another, it is impossible not to understand the bigger picture. But when everyone is working with such a narrow focus, the bigger picture can often be missed and your business can suffer because of it.
Cons of a Full-time Employee
The employee is going to be more expensive.
There is more than one downside to hiring a full-time employee, but let’s face it: The biggest reason an employer would want to hire a part-time employee instead of a full-time one is so that they can get the work done at a fraction of the cost. The cost to hire a full-time employee doesn’t end with the annual salary. A brief list of costs associated with hiring full-time employees includes social security and Medicare contributions, employee benefits such as a comprehensive health plan and/or 401k plan, vacation time, paid holidays and sick time.
And those are only some of the costs: some companies offer more perks and benefits that incur additional costs. You already see plenty of businesses making hard decisions like this thanks to the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, and it seems to make sense that if what you need completed is small and short-term that hiring a part-time employee makes more sense from a cost perspective.
They won’t be as flexible.
As a business owner who just hired a full-time employee, it’s in your best interest to make sure that full-time employee is scheduled to work at least 30 hours and most times 40 hours per week. You don’t get to pick and choose when you need this full-time employee because you are paying them to be there for 40 hours per week, and you obviously expect them to work all 40 of those hours.
But with part-time employees, you have no need to schedule those people for 40 hours per week. Instead, you get to choose when you want those people to work based on when you need them. For example, if you’re a small accounting firm that expects to be overloaded with work during tax season, a part-time employee is the perfect hire to help support the business during that period. Also, if you’re a small business that’s open on the weekends or at night, part-time employees may be the perfect solution to ensure the business continues to run smoothly 24/7.