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Employee Benefits

Three Challenges (and Solutions) for Alternative Workforce Employers

February 2, 2023

In December of 2022, 27.06 million people in the U.S. were employed part-time. Over the past few years, the tightening job market has led more Americans to find alternatives to the traditional 9-to-5 job. And though this shift has presented opportunities to employers who rely on part-time, seasonal, freelancers and contractors, those same employers are facing major challenges.

Talent Recruitment

Take a look around, and you’ll see plenty of stores with “help wanted” signs posted. Restaurants, hotels, retail stores, nursing homes, delivery services and more part-time employers are desperately searching for top talent.

While recruiting isn’t a challenge unique to part-time and hourly employers, businesses reliant on these employees are all competing from the same pool of talent. Add to it that your business may have specific employment requirements, like the ability to use or learn a certain type of software, and the number of eligible candidates further decreases.

And that’s on top of the recruitment challenges all businesses are facing: finding the right candidates, ensuring a quick and efficient hiring process, and making sure hiring practices are consistent and fair.

Did you know: 77% of applicants say benefits play a significant role in their selection of a job.


On average, an hourly employee costs businesses $1,500 per employee. You spend so much time trying to get the right applicants in the door you don’t want to lose them.

The retention challenges for part-time and hourly employees are unique. Though pay is usually a factor in whether someone is willing to stay with a company, other elements play an important role in those decisions as well. For example, schedule flexibility and opportunities for advancement can raise levels of job satisfaction. Additionally, offering benefits can play a major role in improving employee retention. According to Metlife’s Employee Benefit Trends Study, 69% of job candidates say health benefits are a key part of their decision to accept or decline a job.

Even those businesses inherently reliant upon seasonal employees (for example, landscaping businesses) find value in a good retention rate. Every employee that returns at the start of a new season is more time, energy, and money saved in recruiting, interviewing, hiring and training.


One of the biggest struggles for employers with predominantly part-time and hourly workers is that they are competing against others in completely different industries but are looking within the same pool of talent. The people you want to work for you may work for your competitor, or they may work for a company that has nothing in common with yours. Employees may work at your restaurant just as easily as they would work at a hotel.

That’s why differentiation is key. Starbucks, for example, is well known for offering stellar benefits to all employees, including health benefits, free tuition, and even maternity leave. These benefits are massive contributors to the company’s recruiting success; every year, Starbucks receives more than 1 million job applications and hires just 10 percent of those applicants. Starbucks is so desirable that hundreds of videos, articles and other content exist solely to provide tips on how to get hired.

It can be overwhelming to tackle these issues, especially on top of the everyday stress of running a successful business. But with a strategic plan in place, your business can address the recruiting and retention issues causing you daily headaches and threatening your profitability.

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