GuidesEmployee experience5 types of employees you’ll encounter in the workplace

5 types of employees you’ll encounter in the workplace

Last updated

3 April 2024


Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Warren Jonas ACC

The business landscape is changing faster than ever. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers decided to change their approach to traditional 9–5 jobs. Some started working from home full-time, while others made the move to contract or temporary work, earning money on a freelance basis.

It’s not uncommon for companies to have four or five different types of employees working for them at the same time. From full-time to seasonal, each employee type has pros, cons, and unique needs to consider.

Whether you’re entering the human resources profession or just hoping to better understand the current condition of the labor market, this comprehensive guide provides a breakdown of the employee types so that you can determine what works best for your business.

Why do employee types matter?

“Employee type” refers to the different kinds of employees a business can hire. At any given time, an organization can have multiple types of employees on the payroll, from full-time to part-time and seasonal.

Some employee types will make sense for a business, while others won’t. However, there are special legal obligations and considerations associated with each employee type.

It’s important to understand employee types so you can understand your company’s legal obligations for each. Thoroughly understanding each employee type enables you to make decisions that best suit your business and ensure your organization always complies with labor laws.

Staffing needs can change from yearly or monthly, depending on your business’s needs. When you are well-versed in employee types, you will have more flexibility, enabling you to ensure your workforce aligns with your goals.

Types of employees

1. Full-time employees

A full-time employee is typically someone who works an average of 40 hours per week. This can fluctuate slightly depending on the labor laws in your state.

Full-time employees are eligible for benefits like health insurance, medical leave, and paid vacation days.

It’s important to note that the Fair Labor Standards Act doesn’t offer a definition for part-time or full-time employees, so organizations can define these terms themselves depending on what they mean for their business.


Full-time employees are generally thought to be more committed to their organization, making the investment more worthwhile. In other words, the time and money you invest in training and development for full-time employees may be more likely to pay off.

Full-time employees can also be more productive since they will spend more time at work than part-time employees. They build up more business knowledge over time, developing the latest awareness of the business’s performance and focus.


Greater training requirements are associated with full-time employees, including time and resources dedicated to onboarding and training. Other types of employees might not require the same level of resources.

Additionally, full-time employees tend to cost more through payroll over time since they put in more hours. They are less flexible and don’t have as many options to move around within the workplace as part-time staff.

It’s also important to bear in mind that full-time employees may not necessarily be more loyal. Research suggests that job-hopping is becoming increasingly common, particularly among Gen Z and millennials. In 2022, over 22% of workers aged 20+ spent a year or less in their jobs. What’s more, over 50% of US workers considered leaving their jobs in 2023.

2. Part-time employees

Part-time employees work less than 40 hours a week. Depending on your organization, you could have part-time workers who work up to 32 hours per week or as few as eight.

They are typically paid by the hour and are generally not eligible for benefits. However, some organizations might choose to offer access to perks like paid time off and sick days.


Hiring part-time workers means you can staff your company according to your needs. It doesn’t always make sense for every company to have a roster of full-time employees, especially if your workload tends to fluctuate over time.

Part-time employees can also fill in for full-time employees who are taking vacations and sick days, providing much-needed backup. Additionally, hiring part-time workers can be cost-effective, ensuring you don’t have to provide expensive benefits like health insurance.


Part-time employees may be less invested in the company than full-time employees, especially if they don’t receive any benefits. They also have less time to dedicate to learning about your company’s culture and values, possibly leading to a sense of disconnection or distance from your full-time workers.

A significant con to consider when hiring part-time employees is that they are not always available. You might need them on a day or at a time when they don’t work, which can impact decision-making and overall progress. This means additional planning is often required.

3. Seasonal and temporary employees

Seasonal or temporary employees are hired based on a company’s seasonal shifts. They are common in retail during busy seasons. For example, a shoe store may hire seasonal workers in the lead-up to Christmas to cope with increased demand.

Seasonal and temporary employees may not be eligible for benefits and can work less than 40 hours a week. A company may also choose to hire a temporary employee to cover another employee’s absence, such as in the case of medical or parental leave.


Seasonal and temporary employees are not the right fit for every business, but they can offer you a valuable chance to boost your labor flexibility.

It’s cheaper to hire seasonal employees than part-time or full-time employees since they don’t receive any benefits.

Hiring seasonal employees also effectively eliminates the expenses involved with hiring and retaining full-time employees beyond your company’s busiest season. The hiring process also tends to be faster, with less stringent training and onboarding processes.


Seasonal or temporary employees might be less engaged than full-time or even part-time workers. When they start with your company, they know their position is temporary and could be less motivated to meet certain performance standards. This could cause a higher turnover and even affect the morale of your permanent staff.

Additionally, since these employees receive minimal training, comprehension issues could lead to frustration or even a poor customer experience.

4. Interns

An intern works for a company on a paid, unpaid, or partially paid basis in exchange for experience. Many interns are college students seeking experience to prepare for careers after graduation.

Internships can last anywhere from a few months to a year or more. Some companies offer opportunities for interns to become part-time or full-time employees after their internship is completed.


Interns are a cost-effective way to add labor to your organization. Interns often bring a sense of energy and enthusiasm to their roles, which can positively influence other workers in your company and create a more positive environment overall.

Interns can offer a fresh perspective and bring new ideas to the table, helping your business avoid missteps and recognize new opportunities.


Unpaid internships are cost-effective, but paid internships can cost the company money. Even if you have the bandwidth for unpaid internships, your organization might not have the budget to match.

Additionally, internships can require a lot of training and hands-on guidance. Senior employees may have to spend a lot of their time working one-on-one with the intern.

If you feel internships are a good fit for your organization, plan for how the intern will spend their time to get the most value.

5. Per diem employees

Per diem employees are workers available on an “as needed” basis. They generally work on a flexible schedule and are ineligible for benefits.

Per diem employees are common in industries that require full-time staffing, such as healthcare and certain retail operations.


One of the prime benefits of working with per diem employees is their flexibility. This employee type is generally available on short notice and are already trained.

Most per diem employees aren’t looking for full-time employment and know exactly what they bring to the table. They can be specialists, meaning they can bring vital skills when the business needs them. Obtaining these skills via full-time employees could be costly.


Per diem employees still need to receive appropriate training for the role they are hired to fulfill. However, this training must be done on their schedule, so they may not be available during a traditional training period.

You will need to work around your per diem employees’ schedules, which can be challenging. You, as the employer, are also bound by compliance regulations when working with per diem employees and must follow all rules and regulations related to classification.


Do different types of employees have different needs?

Different types of employees have the same basic needs (respect, fair treatment, access to human resources, etc.), but they might have different legal requirements.

For example, full-time employees are given access to benefits while most part-time employees are not. Work with your human resources department to determine what each employee type requires.

What is an employee classification?

An employee classification is a categorization based on an employee’s job title, responsibilities, and compensation. Employers need to comply with their state’s labor laws.

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