Part-Time Workers Are More Satisfied With Their Employers Than Full-Time Employees
What Cutting Workers’ Hours To Avoid Paying Healthcare Benefits Will Do
Employees are going to be less committed and less willing to produce at high levels if employers cut workers’ hours to avoid the insurance requirements of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).
Among non-management employees, part-timers are more satisfied with their employers than full-timers, according to the authors of the 2nd edition of “The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit by Giving Employees What They Want” (Pearson, 2013). 78% of part-timers are satisfied with their employers compared to 74% of full-timers, according to their research.
“This finding may be surprising to some people because one would expect full-timers to be more engaged than those doing part-time work. Our measure of employee satisfaction is roughly equivalent to engagement in their jobs,” say authors David Sirota and Douglas Klein.
The authors’ analysis covers employee attitude surveys conducted for 97 companies with a total of 2.49 million full- and part-time non-management employees. They examined 103 questions in 29 categories of employee morale, including satisfaction with work, co-workers, company, immediate supervisors, leadership, work/life balance and pay. 20% of the sample work part-time, equal to the percentage of part-time employees in today’s workforce, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. This study did not include the reasons why employees are working part-time.
Across the 103 employee survey questions investigated, part-timers were significantly more positive than full-timers on 41% of the questions, about equal to full-timers on 57%, and less positive on only 2% of the items.
Some notable findings are included below:
Part-timers are more satisfied than full-timers about their workload, work/life balance and pay (level and fairness):
- Amount of work expected of them: 80% of part-timers are satisfied vs. 69% of full-timers
- Work/life balance: 81% of part-timers are satisfied vs. 73% of full-timers
- Level of pay compared to what they could get elsewhere doing similar work: 54% of part-timers are satisfied vs. 47% of full-timers
- Fairness of pay: 61% of part-timers are satisfied vs. 52% of full-timers
Full-timers are more satisfied than part-timers regarding how challenging their work is and their benefit packages:
- Challenge of the job: 79% of full-timers are satisfied vs. 73% of part-timers
- Benefits: 67% of full-timers are satisfied vs. 62% of part-timers
Part-timers and full-timers are almost equally satisfied about pride in their employers, being motivated, teamwork, job satisfaction and feeling fairly treated:
- Feeling proud of their employer: 83% of part-timers are satisfied vs. 82% of full-timers
- Being motivated to go beyond what is normally expected: 81% of both part-timers and full-timers are equally satisfied
- Feeling part of a team that works together: 76% of part-timers are satisfied vs. 74% of full-timers
- Job satisfaction: 78% of part-timers are satisfied vs. 77% of full-timers
- Treated fairly at work: 72% of part-timers are satisfied vs. 69% of full-timers
“Despite the general lack of difference between the work attitudes and motivation of full- and part-time workers, some of the areas where there are differences aren’t that surprising. Part-timers work fewer hours and, therefore, have more work/life balance. They also typically enjoy less generous benefits and, on average, do more routine work than full-time employees,” stated the authors.
“Interestingly, part-time employees also feel more fairly compensated than full-time employees despite the fact that full-time workers generally receive higher wages. Part-time workers might be more ‘satisfied’ with pay than full-time workers because the possibility of unemployment is more likely, displacing pay as a priority concern.”
“How employees are treated matters much more than whether they are full- or part-time workers,” the authors find. “Well-treated employees, regardless of their employment status, are motivated workers. They become demotivated only when they see their part-time status to be the result of a management action that is needless and unfair.”
Companies need to be mindful of the messages their actions send to their workforce. “There are very successful businesses that use a contingent employment model but treat those workers well. The issue is about the broad treatment of workers, not simply the number of hours they work,” say the authors.
“If companies are limiting workers’ hours to avoid having to give them something they would value or expect, such as access to benefits, without somehow compensating for that or without a compelling need for it, employees are going to be less committed and less willing to produce at high levels,” the authors add.
This, in the authors’ view, will be the result in many instances of cutting employees’ hours to avoid the insurance requirements of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). The morale consequences can be severe, often outweighing the cost savings. Many instances are provided, in The Enthusiastic Employee, of the startling high relationship between employee morale and company performance.
The core concept of The Enthusiastic Employee is that management doesn’t have to try and motivate employees, but must steer clear of practices that destroy the natural tendency of most workers to be proud of their work and company and seek to perform at high levels – regardless of their employment status.
The book shows that high-morale companies satisfy the three main goals of the overwhelming majority of workers – regardless of gender, race, nationality, employment status or age. These goals are:
- Equity: To be treated fairly in relation to the basic conditions of employment, such as pay, benefits, and fundamental respect for people.
- Achievement: To take pride in one’s accomplishments by doing things that matter and being enabled to do them well; to receive recognition for one’s accomplishments; and, to take pride in the organization’s accomplishments.
- Camaraderie: To have warm, interesting and cooperative relations with others in the workplace.
The three goals are best satisfied by specific leadership and management policies and practices that, taken as a whole, comprise a “partnership” culture. A partnership culture is one in which employees are treated as genuinely valued assets rather than as enemies to be fought, or children to be coddled, or disposable parts that can easily be replaced.
As described in detail in their book, it is the partnership culture that is characteristic of high-performing companies such as Southwest Airlines and Costco, and, in the nonprofit sector, Mayo Clinic. In these companies, relationships between management and employees are based on mutual obligations grounded in performance; high levels of trust, transparency and collaboration; and shared rewards. In both good and difficult business conditions, the employee enthusiasm generated by this kind of corporate culture is a huge factor in their business success.
Since 1972, Sirota has provided many of the world’s leading organizations with census, pulse, on-boarding, exit, 360, culture, engagement, ethics and other employee surveys. Sirota’s solutions help clients make a sustainable impact on their business performance by better understanding their stakeholders, and by uncovering the internal obstacles to strategy execution.
Sirota’s multi-national, multi-industry database comprises data from millions of employees collected through the firm’s employee survey research (predominantly among the Fortune 500). The major results of their surveys have, in 2013, been summarized in the second edition of The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want by David Sirota and Douglas Klein.
For more information about the book, its authors or Sirota, please call (914) 696-4700, or visit our website at http://www.sirota.com/enthusiastic-employee.
- Contact Information
- Sal Vittolino
- Public Relations Consultant
- The Enthusiastic Employee (2nd Edition)
- (1) (610) 359-8773
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