Can we avoid the trap of working full time hours for part time pay?

Written by Charlotte - 16 May 2018 Category: HR news

Flexible working is on the rise across all sectors: from doctors to teachers, recent... Read more

Flexible working is on the rise across all sectors: from doctors to teachers, recent graduates to seasoned employees, more than half of the workforce is now employed flexibly. While this way of working can appear hugely appealing and seem to offer a shortcut to achieving the elusive ‘work-life balance’ we all crave, it is more complicated than it first appears.

Full-time work for part-time pay

What are the reasons people opt to work part-time? Some want to pursue new hobbies, start a business of their own, or enjoy more time to spend with themselves and loved ones. Contrary to expectations, there have been reports of employees using their time off to catch up and manage their existing work so that they can keep the weekend free, rather than engage in any of the reasons listed above.

Recent research has shown that employees who move to part-time working often end up delivering full-time outputs for part-time pay. This discrepancy arises because employers often do not reduce workload when a professional transitions to part-time hours.

The impact of failing to reduce workload

Failure to reduce the workload on part-time professionals causes problems for productivity, staff wellbeing and retention rates.

Working full-time for part-time pay is not going to do much to boost morale, and is a recipe for resentment and disengagement; attributes best kept outside the office.

Full-time employees, having witnessed the demands placed upon their part-time colleagues, are likely to feel discouraged from working part-time and seeking out the benefits of flexible working. Without these appealing benefits on offer, employees are likely to look elsewhere to other organisations which have properly considered and implemented part-time roles.

How HR can help

Part-time workers need to negotiate two aspects of their job: workload (outputs) and availability (time). There’s a lot HR can do to aid this negotiation and ensure a smooth transition to part-time hours and a positive experience for their employees.

Below are three simple steps you can make to reduce part-time workload and make flexible workers feel valued and part of the team:

  1. Be inclusive: Part-time workers are more likely to miss out on office socials, team building exercises, training and development and, most importantly, career progression. Try to keep them updated with any new developments, company socials and ensure they continue to have 1:1’s and reviews so that their work remains on track and eligible for a promotion.

  2. Collaborate & Communicate: Research has shown that collaborative job design is the best way of tackling heavy workloads for part-timers. This process involves employee and manager/HR professional working to identify areas of the job that can be redesigned through prioritisation, delegation and swapping out non-essential tasks with other colleagues.

  3. Manage expectations from the start: Part-timers should have different expectations put upon them compared to full-time employees, and this should be made clear from the beginning. Doing so will help set boundaries and show part-timers that you are taking steps to manage their workload.  A great example of testing out these expectations when it comes to workload and availability is email management. As we all know, email is not part-time. It’s essential that flexible workers feel able to leave emails unanswered outside of their working hours, and that they can communicate this waiting period on an out-of-office message or equivalent.

It’s critical that employers recognise that part-time job design and management is not all down to the employee. Working practices were traditionally designed for full-time employees, not part-timers. By reevaluating and repurposing these traditional practices, the HR team can create an equal environment for all employees, whatever their working hours.

Bear in mind that it can take 6-12 months to reduce workload appropriately.  If the employee feels supported during this time,  and that the organisation is working to achieve the perfect balance on their behalf, it is much more likely to generate a positive experience of the transition to part-time working.

Overcoming Lack of Motivation in the Workplace

Written by Charlotte - 09 May 2018 Category: HR news

Every employee has at some point in their working life experienced days in the office where they ’re just not feeling motivated.

Every employee has at some point in their working life experienced days in the office where they ’re just not feeling motivated. Off days happen to everyone, and while it is unrealistic to expect that workers will be at the top of their game 100 percent of the time, there are some tools HR managers can employ to prevent demotivation at work.

Motivating employees is an essential aspect of people management. When an employee feels inspired, they are far more likely to work quickly, be more productive and produce quality work. Motivated individuals are also more likely to perform better as part of a team, and are generally much more pleasant to be around, contributing to the overall harmony of the office.  

Why no Motivation?

As a leader, it can be frustrating when employees lack motivation to complete the work they have been hired to do. It’s easy to respond negatively when faced with a disillusioned worker, either by reprimanding them for their disinterest or letting them go for a job poorly done. But it’s crucial for HR leaders to understand why someone felt demotivated in the first place. If your employees are experiencing constant demotivation, it is more likely something to do with the organisation rather than them as individuals.

From a psychological perspective, almost all people strive to do well at work. We’re biologically predisposed to find meaning in what we do and to feel motivated and inspired by our work; the brain creates natural impulses to learn new skills and complete meaningful tasks. When we follow these impulses, we receive a hit of dopamine, rewarding us for our behaviour and encouraging as to do more challenging work.

Getting to the cause of the problem will help you to evaluate workflows and tasks, and assess the culture of the organisation to see where to make improvements.

How to Motivate Employees

So what can HR leaders do? Make sure employees have meaningful work to complete and are presented with new challenges on a regular basis.

Although this sounds simple in theory, it is harder to implement in practice. Organisational roadblocks can make change seem like an impossible task. Harvard Business Review suggests following these three nudges to help employees feel more motivated:

  • Encourage employees to play to their strengths,

  • Create opportunities to experiment

  • Assist employees to personalise the purpose of the work.

There also some clear, practical steps to implement which will help foster motivation in the workplace. Below we’ve outlined five simple steps to keep members of your team motivated and eager to do their best at work.

Five effective ways to motivate your employees


1.Pay your people what they are worth

Salary and pay fairness is a significant motivating factor for workers. Paying your employees a competitive salary helps them to feel valued and eager to do an excellent job to meet the expectations set by their pay grade.

2. Offer opportunities for self-development

Offering employees the chance to learn new skills can help to boost engagement. It activates our biological drive to overcome challenges and seek rewards.  Equipping employees with new skills also helps to strengthen your workforce and improve the quality of work being produced. It’s a win-win situation for all.

3. Set Clear Goals

If you want employees to do a job well, they need to have a clear sense of why they are doing what they do. One study found that 63 percent of employees reported that they wasted time at work because they weren't aware of what job was a priority, and what wasn't. Wasted time leads to boredom and demotivation, so it’s something we want to avoid. Make sure each employee has a clear idea of what’s expected of them and knows which tasks to prioritise.

4. Acknowledge good work and encourage experimentation

There is nothing more demotivating than for an employee's good work to go unnoticed. When people are busy, battling budget constraints, deadlines and restrictive company policies, it can be tough to leave room for experimentation. Similarly, if leaders are very busy, they do not delegate correctly and can sometimes neglect to acknowledge when an employee has done a good job. Even worse, they fail to utilise the excellent work once it's finished. This point links to the goal setting step above - if an employee knows which task is a priority, there is less chance of a manager ignoring that work or the work losing value.

5. Provide a pleasant working environment

Everyone wants to work in an office environment that is clean and stimulating, free of clutter and conducive to getting work done. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make an office a more pleasant place to be - steps such as implementing a tidy desk policy, providing free fruit for workers to eat throughout the day, and encouraging employees to take a lunch break, can go a long way to increasing motivation within the workplace.   

It doesn’t take much to boost employee motivation. Following these simple steps and nudges will help create a working environment which encourages self-expression, experimentation and hard work, benefiting employee and employer alike.


HR in the Third Sector

Written by Charlotte - 26 Apr 2018 Category: HR news

The private, public and third sectors all have unique features that can make working in HR challenging.

The private, public and third sectors all have unique features that can make working in HR challenging. Although there are similarities that exist between the three divisions - understanding employment law, for example, is a requirement across the board as are communication skills and the ability to work well with anyone - there are some undeniably unique differences that can make working in HR more demanding in comparison to other departments. HR Managers working in the third sector are often referred to as ‘ miracle workers’ because HR is expected to function in the same way as it would in any corporate setting but on an ever decreasing budget.

In this article, we explore the unique features of third sector (non-profit) HR departments and the daily challenges professionals face working in this area.


It might seem counterintuitive to point out engagement as a difficult area in the charity sector. Afterall, one of the top reasons employees choose to work at a non-profit is because the organisation’s values and charitable work is known to them, and aligned with their values and beliefs.

However, a common challenge in the third sector is getting employees away from seeing their job as ‘paid volunteering’ and getting them to engage with the more mundane but equally important side of work, such as admin tasks and budgeting.


Although managing absenteeism is a crucial aspect of any HR role, it has even more importance in the third sector, where costs need to be kept to an absolute minimum.

Absence reporting is one way to help manage staff sickness and keep track of who has been off and when. But absence management reporting is one area where charities particularly struggle. The latest HR technologies include cloud-based leave planning solutions that enable better staff holiday planning and improved absence reporting than that achieved by traditional methods such as spreadsheets saved to a hard drive, which are calculated manually, are not always accessible or up-to-date,  and are prone to human error.


Although the issue of diversity is prevalent across all sectors, it is particularly challenging for charities to build a workforce that it is representative of its beneficiaries. The nonprofit sector is female dominated; around two thirds of employees working in charities and voluntary organisations are women.

To tackle this imbalance, many charities are rethinking their recruitment strategies and benefits packages, such as offering employees things like flexible working and remote working to make a job offer seem more appealing.

Creative Recruitment

With third sector organisations often operating to tight budget restrictions and therefore unable to offer large financial compensation packages or spend much on advertising, recruitment in the third sector needs to be more creative to reach the right people.

Social media is an excellent place for charities to create a brand around the organisation being a great place to work. Promoting the learning and development opportunities on offer can also be a huge draw to potential employees, and strategic attendance at careers fairs or other recruitment events can also be a great way to attract new hires.

Many factors can make HR more challenging in a non-profit environment. As with anything, it seems that some careful planning, creative thinking and investment in technological solutions can go a long way to mitigate these difficulties and create a smoother HR experience for all employees.

About CiviHR

CiviHR is a project to create affordable HR software for non-profit organisations. By developing open source technology the benefits can be shared with non-profits everywhere.


CiviHR is a project to create affordable HR software for non-profit organisations. By developing open source technology the benefits can be shared with non-profits everywhere.