8.16.13 Issue #597 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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Part Timers vs. Full Timers
By Nancy Caudill

Obamacare indicates that if you are an employer with 50 or more full time employees, it is necessary for you to offer health insurance to your employees and cover a portion of the premium or suffer a penalty. If you have less than 25 full time employees and would like a tax credit, you can also offer health care to your employees to receive the credit.  This is it in a nutshell, and I am not an expert. The reason for bringing this subject up is that the question regarding full time vs. part time is more relevant now.

Why do we employ part time employees anyway?
My experience over 30 years has been that part time employees are hired not to avoid benefits, but rather because there simply is not enough work in the office for a full time employee. This seems reasonable to me. Hygienists come to mind first, and you may have a part time hygienist in your office because you don’t have enough active patients to keep a full time hygienist busy yet. Is it possible, however, that you do employ part time employees in your office to avoid offering benefits? Is it a good business strategy?

Challenges of Working with Part Time Employees
1. The length of employment for a part time employee tends to be shorter than a full time employee. In many cases they prefer full time employment, but took your part time position because it was better than nothing at the time. How long will they stick around? Only long enough to keep searching until they find a full time position.

2. A part time employee’s loyalty to the practice is not as strong as a full time employee who is receiving benefits and feels empowered to make a difference in the practice. There are exceptions, and I understand that some employees choose to only work a couple days a week opposed to full time. I am referring to those part timers that work a few days in your office and a few days in another office, just waiting like a vulture for an opening to come available in one of the two offices.

3. Communication and continuity is difficult without very specific guidelines on how to keep the part timers “in the loop” regarding changes in office policy, the office dynamics, and most importantly the sharing of work-related responsibilities with their co-workers. How many times do you hear, “I don’t know, Dr. Jones…Susie Parttime must have done it!”? If you have two employees that are job sharing, their ability to communicate and work as a single unit is vital for them to be successful. Otherwise, as the saying goes, “the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.”

4. Fitting into the circle of employees is difficult since they are not always considered a part of the team. Although not intentional, they may feel left out. “Out of sight - out of mind”.

When Does it Make Sense to Hire a Part Time Employee?
Can you afford to hire another employee, even if they are part time? Industry standards indicate that no more than 19-22% of your net collections should be earmarked for gross wages for your team, not including benefits such as vacation, holidays, sick leave, retirement, health insurance, etc. So take a look at the numbers before you make a decision.

Be careful when your team says that they are just too busy to get the day-to-day tasks completed in a timely manner and they need more help. I can promise you that they are not considering what it’s going to cost to hire another employee, especially when that employee is not revenue-producing. Reviewing their time management skills and job descriptions would be helpful before you make a decision based on their request.

Let’s say that you determine your practice can afford to employ a part time person to manage the insurance claims, eligibilities, submissions and follow-up for claims. Your outstanding claims over 60 days are out of control and your only front desk person just can’t seem to find the time away from the “hot seat” to make these calls. It would make sense to hire someone part time for this position, AND this position will improve the cash flow for the practice.

How to Hire a Good Part Time Employee?
Of course you conduct the normal steps that you would for hiring a full time employee. The difference is understanding the applicant’s employment goals for themselves. Are they the primary breadwinner in the home? If so, how can they afford to work only part time? Are they looking for anything at this point? Do they plan to work in more than one office so it equates to a full time position? Do they need benefits? Do they want to work a few hours each day or do they prefer more hours per day and less days? What do you need in terms of how many hours per day?

If you have a choice, I would recommend one full time employee over two part time employees every time because of loyalty, continuity and longevity. However, it makes sense to hire a part time employee when the work load requires less hours. If you need assistance in making a good decision for your practice regarding employment, don’t hesitate to contact McKenzie Management at (877) 777-6151.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com

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