4 min read

Sustaining start-up growth with experienced part-time talent: a guide

The how and why of landing a flexible, high-level candidate.
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

2020 has been a difficult year for most companies, and many have been forced to adapt to keep afloat. One way which Juggle believes is an incredibly important and beneficial way in which companies can adapt is by considering the many benefits of employing part-time talent.

Smaller businesses, especially in a high growth environment, took a bigger hit than most with the Covid-19 crisis. Talent retention and recruitment was especially affected by the forced layoff of key hires. How do you stay afloat?

Well – challenging as the situation is – a small silver lining is that there’s a growing pool of talented professionals who are looking to tip their work/life balance by going part-time or flex.

This gives start-ups a massive opportunity for powering up teams with experienced, part-time talent.

‘Part-time?’, you say, ‘That doesn’t sound like enough.’ And sure, part-time isn’t full time, but neither is it no time! Getting a little extra help from a seasoned expert may very well be the difference between sailing through 2020 smoothly and… not. Let’s explore!

(Full disclosure: We at Juggle happen to be in the business of exactly this: providing highly skilled professionals on a flexible, part-time basis. But that just means we know what we’re talking about!)

Hiring part-time senior staff to grow your business

The key argument for part-timers will always be the economic one. It’s simply just more cost-efficient to hire someone on a part-time basis than full time.

Sure, you may ideally want the person to work for you at all times – especially if they are really good at what they do. But wouldn’t you rather have them some of the time instead of none of the time?

Adding experience beyond your budget to your team

The reality is, even if you’re hiring someone at the absolute top of their game for one day a week AND someone who’s talented but nowhere near as experienced full-time, it’s usually cheaper hiring the expert full-time.

Your new key hire with experience and your enthusiastic junior full-timer(s) with time to implement and hunger to learn will always add more than the sum of its parts.

You get more of everything you want – more thinking, more experience, more energy, more time – and less of everything else, including expenditure.

Part-time staff work off the clock

While we’re at it, let’s bust the myth that part-timers mean less output.

In fact, most problem-solving is done by the brain when taking regular breaks from a problem. Part-time employees in any even slightly strategic position are providing value even when they’re not actually on the clock.

You’re not paying them for their eureka moments in the shower, but they’re having them regardless.

None of this is new thinking, but it’s a concept that employers have been slow to adopt. Everyone knows that more mistakes happen when people are overworked, so why expect more hours than necessary to solve your problems?

What senior roles could be part-time?

Everyone is familiar with hiring inexperienced juniors part-time for data entry tasks. But what about someone to help work out your finances? Or figure out your growth strategy?

A lot of senior roles work really well on a part-time basis. And that’s not just saying it, it’s been proven not only by literature but by our 100s of business partners that have placed part-time experienced staff via Juggle.

For some more in-depth information, check out our arguments for hiring a part-time Financial Controller or a Head of People on a flex-basis.

These are just examples of course. The list goes on: Growth Marketers, HR Lead, a COO. All are must-have roles that require a bunch of experience. But instead of having to choose one or the other under restricted hiring budgets, get one of each for fewer hours per week.

Senior staff members are self-managing, even in part-time

Now, changing some roles to part-time relies on trusting employees to deliver on targets and goals in their own way. Part-timers may spend more time working remotely and can’t always be managed as you would full-time office staff. But neither should they be!

If the COVID-crisis taught us one thing it’s that fully remote work wasn’t as detrimental to productivity as feared. Even less so among more senior staff.

This is simply because flexibility and self-reliance are learned behaviours, not an innate talent. Senior staff are already used to managing themselves to deadlines they set, keeping themselves accountable and driving the change they are hired to make.

Hiring senior part-time staff – and preparing for it

When we vet our business partners and candidates we always ask about both their values and their vision.

We know we have a good candidate if they have really made their mind up to work part-time, commit to it and have a vision for what they want to do.

Similarly, for a business – if you don’t have a clearly defined vision you’re probably not set up for self-managed professionals yet. But, basically, if you have clear targets for the area in which you’re hiring, it tends to be smooth sailing.

Want to know more about how to manage flex work?

Read this piece on creating a sound flexible working policy.

So what now?

Curious about the potential of self-managed, experienced part-timers for your business?

Join the Juggle community for access to a pre-screened network of experienced flex professionals and put up a job post for your next key hire. It’s a 2 minute process and we guide you through the whole thing.

Or – if you are a self-managed professional looking for part-time or flexible full-time work, create a personal Juggle profile now.  

Romanie Thomas on LinkedinRomanie Thomas on Twitter
Romanie Thomas

Get Modern Leadership delivered

Practical insights into careers and the future of work