Having a young workforce can bring a lot of fun and energy to your business, however, remembering that teenagers have different needs to older employees is important in order to support and motivate them. Here are a few tips to managing teenage employees.
Assign the right manager
It is very possible that this will be a teenage staff member's first or second job so a working environment may still be a relatively new and foreign concept. If they're only working part-time, it's also possible they're still in full-time education so a manager that understands this transition will help a young staff member adjust.
Some people will think a young manager is a good fit to mentor young employees, but others will say that experience will be most useful. We think that age doesn't really matter and the best managers for the under 20s are those who listen to them, and are quick to provide support and feedback where needed.
A fun workplace
Chances are young people are looking for a fun and interactive place to work. They have grown up hearing stories about working at Facebook and Netflix and so may expect some fun, creative aspects to their workplace. But don't worry you don't have to have Google's budget for outlandish creative offices! Whether it is a little colour on the walls, some plants dotted around, regular social events or a chance to be creative and learn in different areas of their work, they'll warm to these upbeat additions.
Invest in them
If you want your young employees to stick around then invest in their development. They will have a thirst for knowledge and probably be looking to progress quickly in their career. Invest in them by offering lots of opportunities for training or learning new skills. It's very likely that if you support them from an early age they will grow with you as your business grows.
Monitor their workload
If this is their first job they may not understand what they can or can't fit into a day or week, and they'll take on either too much or too little. Regularly monitor their workload and make sure they are managing well with the projects and roles you assign to them.
Explain key policies and benefits
As a newbie to the workplace they may not be used to policies that are in place and they may not know about the benefits that are available to them. Take the time to inform them about healthy and safety rules within your workplace, what is expected of them and also what they can gain from working here, whether it is training or benefits, or both!
Provide flexible working and social opportunities
If your company employs a lot of young people, it could seem that often the lines between work and leisure get blurred. Sometimes it may feel like they're doing more socialising at work than working. You could get around this by implementing a remote working program allowing your staff to work from home occasionally (when possible) and then they will stay focused on their duties rather than catching up with colleagues. Be flexible with them to work from different locations and times and you may see greater productivity in return.
Alternatively, you could organise or facilitate dedicated times for socialising outside of working hours so there's a clearer distinction between work and play.
Be understanding, not patronising
Young employees aren’t always used to a working environment so being mindful of this may mean you can resolve an issue before it becomes a problem. Clearly setting out boundaries ahead of time can help prevent anything being misunderstood from the offset. It could also be very effective if you ask your teenage employees what they think would improve the business. They'll really appreciate being asked their opinion and you may hear some good advice you would have never considered before.
Managing teenage employees can be very rewarding when you put the right measures in place. If you help them grow and develop within your organisation, they will likely be some of the best staff you ever have.