Working Part-Time and a Sense of Engagement: Mission Possible?

The sense of belonging in a company is often the most determining factor influencing employee motivation and performance. People who work part-time can also feel a sense of belonging, provided the company’s culture lends itself to it.

According to researchers Liz Fosslien and Molly West-Duffy, authors of the book No hard feelings, the secret power of embracing emotions at work, belonging is this impression of feeling safe and appreciated for what you are in an organization, despite our differences.

“It’s not full-time or part-time that makes you happy at work or committed to your employer and colleagues,” explains Natalia Cojocaru, Executive Director of the Service d’intégration au marché du travail par objectifs (SIMO). “It is above all the conviction and support for the company’s mission.”

According to Ms. Cojocaru, part-time work also lets you be more occupied with your family and travel. The employee’s time at work will therefore generally be higher quality.

Creating links

Organizational psychologist Guylaine Deschênes believes that the sense of engagement can emerge and strengthen if an organization’s employees have to do with one another regularly. “Through these contacts, people share the same reality, common values and sometimes similar goals as well,” reads an article published on the Bourassa Brodeur Bellemare placement agency website.

The part-time employee could therefore feel as integrated as a full-time person if he participates in activities arranged with his colleagues and takes advantage of his break times to chat with them, for example.

Mathieu Guénette, a career counsellor in Montreal, believes that being part-time could affect the sense of belonging, however, while the employee also has to engage in other professional or social activities. But he qualifies this by the fact that full-time work does not necessarily lead to engagement, and vice versa. “There are individuals who are more inclined than others to be committed, depending on their personality, their nature, their vision of reality and their aspirations,” he says.

The role of the employer

According to Mr. Guénette, there are also factors related to the company. Some will be more likely than others to adequately integrate their employees. “It can be the room for manoeuvre given to carry out tasks, the friendly relationship between employees and management or the level of communication,” he observes.

To keep an employee motivated and engaged, the company needs to listen to their needs, Natalia Cojocaru says, and tell them whether it is able to satisfy them or direct them to the right resource, encourage them to self-train and grant them the time for it.

If the employer clearly communicates its objectives and values, its employees will feel they are more useful and will be proud to represent the organization for which they work.

A report by the LinkedIn social network titled Inside the mind of today’s candidates confirms that engagement develops when employees see their accomplishments and successes recognized, when they can freely express their opinion and when their contributions are valued at team meetings.

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