Bakers Journal

Features Business and Operations Staffing
Make the most of your young employees


February 27, 2013
By Bakers Journal

Topics

Feb. 27, 2013 – Today’s teens and young adults are from a completely
different generation, and it can be challenging to relate to your
under-20 employees. Here are seven ways to drive increased performance,
engagement and contribution from your younger employees from Ken
Whiting, creator of the WAVES University web-based employee training
program.

Feb. 27, 2013 – Today’s teens and young adults are from a completely different generation, and it can be challenging to relate to your under-20 employees. Here are seven ways to drive increased performance, engagement and contribution from your younger employees from Ken Whiting, creator of the WAVES University web-based employee training program.

1. Hire the best. Not all teens and young adults are created equal; it matters where you start. There are lots of interviewing strategies to employ that can have a huge impact on your success in ensuring you’re hiring people who have the potential to deliver a great performance. Initiate a rating system during your interviews so you make sure your needs will be met, and ensure you’re quantifiably selecting the best person to come on board.

2. Incentify performance. This is a “what’s-in-it-for-me” generation: when you find provide a reward for your employees in exchange for strong workplace performance. Pick one thing in your organization that you want to improve on (for example, sales, safety or attendance) and engage and incentify your staff to make it win-win.

Advertisment

3. Recognition equals retention. A program to reward good behaviour is also useful: have supervisors hand out cards when they see employees doing something right. Prizes don’t have to be elaborate or expensive, but the cost of retention is. Create a culture of catching people doing something right and make a lot of noise about it.

4. Technology. This is the greatest physical difference between today’s teens and those who are not in this age group. Young adults have been raised among technology, so they don’t question it. Find ways to utilize this at work.

5. Communication. How you say something is as important as what you say. Information flows 24-7 in this age group, and communication has increased with texting and social networking. Create an employee website or Facebook page and post digital versions of documents and user manuals on it so they can be accessed 24-7. Use online scheduling or post training videos on YouTube. These things feed right into their lifestyle.

6. Manager education. So many manage through the eyes of what things were like when they were a teen, which does not to speak to today’s teens. This results in frustrated, burnt-out managers, an increase in unnecessary turnover, and little to no improvement with those who are still working. Educate your managers on how to properly relate to this younger generation.

7. Workplace readiness. So many high school- and post-secondary-aged employees aren’t ready for the workplace. Workplace readiness used to come from schools, parents and cultures, and this isn’t the case today. Employers have to fill this gap. Education is the why and training is the how. Given the way they were raised, this age group demands to know the purpose and reason behind everything. Modify your policies to include reasons why things are important. Do not assume that your employees understand why you do things the way you do. Add the reasons to your handbooks and guidelines – if you can’t come up with reasons, you might need fewer policies.