Having a younger workforce has its pros and cons–no matter what province or state you’re in. Wherever your business is, you should always make sure you know what you’re dealing with. Knowing how to address the risks associated with a younger team can make it easy to run your business like a well-oiled machine instead of a rusty jalopy.
RISK #1: Younger staff feel underappreciated.
SOLUTION: Highlight the good moments-not only the bad ones.
Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Taking time to acknowledge your employees when they do something right helps them know that you’re always watching–not just when they mess up.
Reward your staff for taking the initiative to go above and beyond the call of duty. These little shout-outs help your staff understand that you notice the hard work they put in. Your younger employees appreciate you taking the time to highlight their efforts. When you’re just starting out in the workforce, feedback is crucial.
RISK #2: Younger staff feel underpaid.
SOLUTION: Better tracking to reduce employee theft.
Wages are a hot button issue for most workers. For example, the Alberta provincial government recently decided that the wages for students under 18 would be lowered to $13/hour from $15/hour. These kinds of developments can intensify any ‘hard feelings’ that may brewing amongst your young staff. Employees who have been caught stealing often say that they began stealing because they felt underpaid. Changes in minimum wage laws like the one impacting Alberta can make your younger staff feel like they are getting the short end of the stick.
Be aware of the warning signs of employee theft. There are eight most common types of employee theft, all outlined in detail here. Time theft falls into this category but because it’s harder to pick out those instances, you need to be extra cautious about it. Harder to catch and track is something called ‘time theft’; there are three types of time theft, learn more about them here.
RISK #3: Younger staff are unmotivated.
SOLUTION: Get to know your employees better: Show them you know them.
We all know that money makes a huge difference when it comes to a person’s commitment to their job, but that’s not the only thing that matters. Every employee is motivated in different ways. Here’s the issue: not everyone is motivated by the same things.
How do you solve that? Asking them directly may or may not get you a helpful answer. Anyone who has ever read The Five Love Languages knows that it takes a lot of self-awareness to understand what motivates you, and most young workers just don’t know yet what makes them tick.
Consider having your staff complete easy-to-compare assessments like the DiSC Personality Test. It gives you a simple overview of your employees’ strengths, weaknesses, and what works best to motivate them. Become a better manager by taking all of this information about your employees and assigning tasks based on their strengths. That way, your staff will know you care about them, which makes them care about the company more.
Overall, when it comes to hiring a younger workforce, there are always going to be some risks but there are a lot of benefits as well. Younger employees often have a lot more adaptability, are more flexible with their schedules, and are enthusiastic to learn new skills. It’s up to you to make sure you are encouraging your staff accordingly and discover how you can harness the untapped potential of the youth workforce.