Who is your teenage
employee? Many teenage employees seem to instinctively know how to
deal with people and administration issues. They seem to
understand good grooming, and nuances. Others on the other hand
have not had an easy time of things. They did not learn life
skills at home or at school. Plus they are shy, insecure,
self-conscious and they have trouble reading people.
Who are you? You are a mentor, a
teacher, a manager. You have the power to make an incredible
difference in your employee's life. Our first job, first job
interview, how people treat us makes a big impact on our future
interactions. What were your best and worst experiences working as
a teenager? How did these experiences make you feel and how did
you use them?
Many teenagers have not yet added
analytical or investigative thinking. They may have to be told how
to do something several times in different ways before they really
grasp the concept. The more gentle you are with your explanation
and examples the easier and quicker they will learn and the more
enthusiastically they will want to learn more. What are some of
the key areas to pay attention to in coaching your teenage
1. It all starts with the
interview process. Give the interviewee your complete attention,
use eye contact, sit at their level, make sure your whole body is
facing them. Ask them probing questions that begin with 'how',
'why', 'what', 'when' and 'who'.
2. What are your
expectations? What messages do you send? Some teenagers of various
backgrounds do not have a lot of experience reading friendly
faces. Catch them doing well. Several studies have been conducted
where the low IQ children were told they were smart and the high
IQ children were told they were learning challenged. Guess what
happened? Right, the low IQ children increased their IQ scores and
the high IQ children's scores decreased.
3. Do you discuss people
skills with your employees? Let them know they are part of a team.
Compliment your employees, treat them with respect. Talk to them
about current issues such as sexual harassment, customer
relations, and positive language.
4. Be gentle when you discuss
Etiquette and Grooming issues. If they have not received this
information at home, or you know they cannot afford soap or
clothes, be creative and non-judgmental.
5. Knowledge is Power. Give
them the information they need to have to do their job well. Give
them knowledge about the business; knowledge about security; What
is their Job Description? How often will they be reviewed? Will
their decisions be backed?
6. Keep your employees busy.
Boredom is a killer. Give your employees a list of things they can
do when things are quiet. Let them know that standing around and
talking to friends or just leaning against the wall is sending a
negative message. Ask them what they think when they see
unoccupied employees when they go into different businesses.
Keeping your employees occupied looks good to your customers and
it teaches your teenagers how to take initiative. It also builds
their self-esteem and their self-confidence.
If you think you are at the end of
your rope, take a deep breath and remember how you wanted people
to treat you when you were a teenager.