How to Deal With an Extremely Young Staff

Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Young staff members can be difficult to control, but their upsides can unbelievably beneficial to your business. Here's how to make it work.

There are plenty of startups that have quite a young staff that are quite successful.

It can be different dealing with a staff that is largely new to the workforce or this is their first “real” job.

The fact is, companies need to learn how to deal with these workers since they do not have the salary demands of seasoned employees and can be molded to fit your company perfectly.

There are a few tricks to dealing with younger staff that you can implement and reap the benefits in the long run.

Related Article:How to Lose a Millennial in 10 Days

Young Staff Think Perks Are Unbelievable

Morale can get down at any company regardless of the level of success or strength of leadership. Although it might seem manipulative, things like free lunch at the office can completely turn around a tough day for a group of young people. The best thing about those who are in the first few years of the working world is that a majority of them are not tarnished to think that things like free lunch is just a way to make up for long hours or low pay.

Free lunches are not the only way to keep young employees happy but a gym on site or gym memberships being covered by the company can help lower health insurance costs and boost the health of the staff. The perks of a job can convince your young talent to stay even if a competitor is offering them just a bit more money. Perks show employees that you care about them more than in a professional way, which means a lot to those just entering the working world.

Work With Them Before You Hire Them

This a proactive approach to make sure that the people you hire are a good fit for a company. Many startups have internship-to-hire programs that they use quite frequently. An interview generally isn’t enough time to tell if someone is going to work hard and get along with the rest of the team. Here are a few ways to work with these young people before hiring them on full-time.

  • Internship programs can be great but watch out for those who may try to sabotage the other interns. Competition is great but throwing teammates under the bus frequently won’t build a great team atmosphere at the office.
  • Hiring young people on three- to six-month contracts is a great way to view the quality of their work. Older applicants or job seekers might not accept this since they are looking for something a bit more stable. For someone fresh out of college, a six-month contract with the promise of full-time employment with good performance is all many Millennials need.
  • Part-time employment during the time these people are in school is a bit different than an internship. This will allow you to see how this young staff member performs over a longer period of time. With exams and other responsibilities, even an employee working a few times a week will be exposed to stress, which will allow you to see how they deal with it.

Related Article: Experience Over Goods: The Millennial Shift in Spending

Educate Them on Finances

Student loans are crippling enough but the post-college spending habits of many young employees can be quite expensive even to the point of putting them in debt. Employees that are worried about making rent or a car payment are distracted which can lead to a drop in production. Many young people have not had any experience budgeting their money so education can help them short-term as well as long-term.

The 50th percentile of 35 to 44-year-olds have a net worth of $35,000, which can mean that your recent grads have more student debt than cash in the bank. Let your staff start their financial career off on the right foot even if their loans are crippling for a while, they will be there forever (hopefully).

How you should educate them:

  • Bring in a financial advisor to help some of the staff that is having trouble budget their money more effectively.
  • Send out a weekly article to read and call it the “Money Monday Article” or something catchy.
  • Let them know that refinancing their loans could actually save them money on a monthly or even weekly payment.

Monitor the Partying

Having a young staff can be a blast as the company happy hours are highly attended week after week. The fact is many people ages 23 to 30 can go out partying and be quite productive the next day. You should track productivity the days after happy hours to see if they are impacting productivity.

A firm stance on partying should be taken with the message that people can do what they want as long as it does not impact productivity or the image of the company. If there is a change in behavior or a significant drop in production it could be because of excess partying. Be the cool boss and cover happy hours sometimes but make sure that the company does lose money or clients because of it.

Related Article:How Companies Are Changing Their Culture to Attract (And Retain) Millennials

There are so many advantages of having a young staff but it can be difficult to control the staff as a whole. Just like any other age group, clear guidelines and policies need to be given out so there are no misunderstandings. Leading a young staff can be quite rewarding as you watch people develop as young professionals, just make sure you lead them correctly.

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