February 2011 Archives

Set Goals and Empower

Empowering teens with more responsibility and goal setting may seem counter-intuitive for many. I often hear employers commenting on how irresponsible teens are and how they can't handle even the basic responsibility and workplace tasks they've been given.

Today's teens are the most knowledgeable ever. Not only have they been exposed to more information than ever before, but they also have been hard-wired to know how to instantly access relevant facts, data and ideas.

Turn them loose and make them part of the solution. When teens are micro-managed and not able to function in a way that is natural for them, they'll disconnect from your expectations.

If you have a challenge you can't solve, get your teenage staff involved in the process.  Give them the background they need, limits to function within, and a vision of what a successful outcome looks like.  Let them come back to you with their solutions.  You have nothing to lose and will be amazed at the outside of the box approaches you will receive.

Don't Let Them Quit

Often times when a teen quits it isn't because they are unhappy with their job. It's due to the fact that life priorities have taken precedence. School work, extra curricular activities or family commitments take priority.  Those are larger issues than what is generally an entry-level, seasonal or part-time job. 


Set up an "on-call" category of employees.  These can be employees who you don't want to lose, but for the reasons mentioned above they can't work. By being on-call, they would never be scheduled or expected to check a schedule.  But when you have a short term or emergency need, they are available to call, providing you with no loss of productivity.

Communicate with your on-call group as if they were regularly scheduled employees.  Keep the connection.  Attach criteria to how often they need to work or some way for them to demonstrate an ongoing interest. When their situations change, you will be the obvious choice for their job commitment.

Looking to fill those hard to schedule shifts because all your employees are in school? Don't forget to reach out to your local home school community. Home Schooled teens work on a very different schedule than your normal high school student, and they might be just what you've been looking for. 

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