If you’re managing a staff of young employees, you understand that workers in this age group pose their own unique challenges to management. Younger workers bring potent energy, drive, and enthusiasm to your company — they want to be challenged and are confident that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to. However, younger employees also require a lot of attention and feedback, demanding more of a time commitment.
Here are some helpful tips on managing a staff of young workers:
- Be clear from the outset. When you interview a younger potential worker, be sure to craft a clear representation of what your company will expect of him or her. Fully explain performance goals, appropriate office behavior, dress code, and office hours. This will open the potential employee’s eyes to the job requirements and what it takes to succeed.
- Give them extra structure. Your young employees need defined due dates for reports and detailed schedules for projects in order to properly structure their workday. It is reassuring to them when jobs have regular hours, meetings have agendas, goals are clearly stated, and progress is assessed. You should define success factors so that they know that they are making progress.
- Teach business standards. It is important that you instruct young employees from the beginning about your company’s business standards. Young workers may never have been accountable for meeting strict objectives and might not understand the costs of actions such as using unsuitable language in a business e-mail.
- Give them free rein to multitask. Keep in mind that your young staffers can multitask unlike any generation before them. This means that they can send e-mails, talk on the phone, and compose memos at the same time — and enjoy themselves in the process.
- Cultivate a positive atmosphere. For young workers, the workplace needs to be fun and employee-centered. They want to enjoy their work and their workplace, and they want to make friends with their colleagues. This means going out to lunch with other employees, laughing and joking with staffers during work hours, and being involved in planning company events. Remember that a stodgy atmosphere isn’t going to interest most young employees for very long.
- Be a mentor. Young employees want to learn from you and receive your daily feedback. They want your leadership and supervision, to learn about how the company works from the source. You should understand this when you hire them, and plan to spend time teaching and coaching them. Young employees will return your investment in them with their enthusiasm.
- Strive for work-life balance. Young employees fill their lives with many activities — sports leagues, social groups, classes, time spent with friends. They work hard, but they are generally not workaholics. Home, family, and friends are often their first priorities. It is important to remember that work-life balance is very important to young employees.
Remember that young employees bring a wealth of enthusiasm and eagerness to your company. They are technologically savvy and eager to take on new challenges. Just remember that they can become easily bored by the mundane and routine, and that they need to feel involved. As young employees grow with your business and become more experienced, you will see your investment in them pay off.