5 Questions to Ask before Promoting Staff to Full-Time

Leadership / February 22, 2010

I’m the boss. (that’s kinda weird to see in print) I’m the guy burdened with the weight of making employment decisions for our church. Including difficult decisions like moving a part-time employee to full-time status.

The reality is that not every part-time employee dreams of a full-time job in your deal. Sometimes part-time employees actually love their part-time status. They enjoy getting out of the house, doing something significant and love the freedom of only working part-time.

Occasionally however, you’ll have a part-time employee who really wants to be promoted to full-time status within the ranks of your organization. To be honest, sometimes the part-time employee really needs the promotion and requires that the present gig evolve to meet their pressing financial demands.

This is a tricky one.

A couple of years ago, I decided to create a matrix of five simple questions by which I would evaluate every part-time employee seeking full-time status. Here’s how it works: if you can answer “yes” to all five questions, then it’s time to go full-time. Only one “no”…and you’ve got some work to do.

Whenever this question pops up in your organization, I recommend having a matrix meeting with your part-time employee to take him/her through this decision matrix; question by question. (it will help pin point areas for improvement or let you know it’s time to hire)

Enough build-up…here are those important five questions:


1. Are there currently resources available to promote the employee to Full-Time status? – Can the church actually afford to make this move? Even considering the additional costs of health insurance, benefits/allowances, Social Security, office space, computers, etc.

A follow-up question could also be: what could the employee do to help secure financial resource to be promoted? (dare I say the word…fund raise?) Keep in mind, hiring only occurs AFTER a predictable stream of funds have already been secured.

2. Has employee been able to successfully create and lead teams to accomplish the purpose of our organization?
– In other words: “do I really want to super-size you?” Past performance is typically the best judge of future performance.  Full-time employees need to be leaders…not just doers. They multiply ministry. (if nothing is happening, do you really want to multiply nothing?) We need people with a proven track record of leadership. In addition it’s important to ask these questions: has this employee successfully created and led teams created for the purpose of making disciples? AND what life-change has occurred as a byproduct of these teams’ formation?

3. Will
the increase in cost proportionately increase the overall effectiveness of the organization? – Does the organization get more by spending more? What exactly are we buying? You can’t make this call without doing quick cost vs. needs analysis.

4. Has the employee already made himself invaluable to the organization? – If the employee stopped working today, what would happen? Is this an employee that we simply cannot afford to lose?

5. Would the promotion be given to satisfy the immediate needs of the employee or the growing needs of the organization? – (Okay, so this isn’t a YES or NO question…get over it) As a pastor, you want your church to help everybody. On top of that, it’s easy to feel the pressing financial needs of your part-time employee. You’re a pastor after all.

As a leader, however, you must put the health of the organization first. Never jeopardize the long term well-being of the church for the immediate needs of one part-time employee.

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Dave Milam
Dave Milam is a pastor, communicator and the founder of One Life Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a a gifted communicator Dave's right brained style of delivery helps his listener connect and remember God's truth in a uniquely visual way. Connect with Dave on Google+

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on March 29, 2010

Good thoughts. I will think on this as I am faced with a similar situation.

on April 14, 2010

Hey Dave. I just wanted to let you know that a friend of mine is looking for a job as a youth pastor. He teaches middle school and high school sudents. He is an amazing youth pastor and will help Kinetic’s teenage youth program grow extraordinarily. If you are interested or need any information, feel free to e-mail me and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

P.S. You can take it from me (a high school student who has been in this man’s youth program) that he is an incredible teacher and loves God with all his heart.

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