A new approach to part-time employment

With some additional resources, part-time positions can save your businesses time and money

Part time infographic
Christina Frye and Ashton Steele
CHRISTINA FRYE AND ASHTON STEELE Trillium Employment Services

Part-time employment can mean a lot of different things and it can look very different at every business. It may seem as if part-time positions can result in more time and money for staff to manage. With some additional resources, creativity and collaboration, part-time positions can save your business time and money, all while creating an inclusive workforce.

Supported employment is a tool that businesses can use to help fill gaps in staffing and efficiencies. Trillium Employment Services and other such agencies work with businesses to help them recruit, hire and train employees with developmental disabilities. These positions are often in the form of job carves, where duties are pulled from existing positions to create support roles. This allows staff to focus on high-priority tasks that can be distracted by the daily “other duties as assigned.” In an office environment these tasks can look like filing, sorting mail or stocking the coffee bar. In a warehouse, perhaps a task includes doing inventory of parts, rather than manufacturing. In each example, all tasks are important and necessary for success, but efficiency can only improve when full-time staff are able to focus more of their time on higher priority responsibilities.

Objection: ‘I don’t have enough work to hire someone for 30 hours a week’

Many adults with developmental disabilities in Clark County have been successful in jobs working anywhere from five to 20 hours per week. Trillium job coaches work with clients to develop employment goals based on their overall preferences, skill set, stamina and a lot of other personal considerations.

People who work part time are often viewed as less committed or less competent. The reason could be based on the pool of candidates that are often filling these roles. How often is a business hiring someone who is in high school, who then leaves to go to college or leaves to join the full-time work force, just to turn around and hire yet another high school employee? If employers had a different pool of applicants to choose from, perhaps the hours could be filled by permanent staff, thus reducing costs associated with training, onboarding, etc. Adults with developmental disabilities represent an untapped labor pool. Many of these individuals are eagerly awaiting opportunities to contribute, receive a paycheck and gain more visibility in our community.

Objection: ‘We only hire full-time staff’

How often are your full-time staff working overtime? How many of your full-time staff are struggling with work-life balance? How much are paying full-time staff to perform entry-level tasks that are included in their job description? These are all big questions and if you’re a business that is trending upward and onward, finding the time to answer these questions can be difficult alone. Trillium works closely with businesses to assist in answering these questions and finding opportunities to increase efficiency, at no charge to the business. The result of this partnership is a prescreened, dedicated staff member and ongoing support from Trillium to ensure success and overall satisfaction.

Objection: ‘I’m concerned about safety and liability’

At no cost to the business, Trillium Employment Consultants perform a safety audit of the business environment, processes and equipment, addressing areas where training will need to be tailored regarding employee and equipment safety. Candidates moved forward in the application process have been prescreened to ensure they meet the job requirements. This saves the business time and money regarding recruitment.

Additionally, job coaches on site with their working clients are covered by the liability insurance. It is a common misconception that hiring an individual with a developmental disability would cause liability insurance to increase.

Objection: ‘I don’t have any experience working with people with disabilities’

Employment services’ agencies can assist businesses to create accommodations, often without any additional cost. Sometimes it is as simple as creating a task list that includes pictures or helping a client to learn how to use an app on their phone to increase their independence. Another resource that Trillium can provide is bridging gaps in communication. This can range from teaching staff various American Sign Language signs they can use with a deaf coworker, to educating and supporting staff on multiple strategies they can use to help integrate their new co-worker into their culture.

The benefits of supported employment go beyond finding a dedicated staff to join your team.

By tapping into this labor pool, not only do businesses have new loyal and skilled employees, they have also diversified their workforce. People prefer to patronize businesses that reflect the communities they serve, and this includes adults with developmental disabilities.

Christina Frye is a program manager with Trillium Employment Services, and Ashton Steele is a senior employment consultant with Trillium. They can be reached at 360-567-3053.

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