Hiring and Managing Teenagers

Hiring teenage employees to handle your company’s operations can be a critical decision; but if you find yourself lacking human resources and need to hire a teenager, be aware of all the consequences of that decision.  Keep in mind that teenage employees are like clay that has not been molded yet.  They have to be molded and trained well to elicit the range of skills you require.  With proper knowledge and patience, you can prevent headaches and problems regarding teenage employment.

  1. They may be inexperienced.  Teenagers may just be coming out of high school and don’t know a lot about work, much less the field or industry you are in.  Know first that you may have to train and teach the teenager thoroughly to be as efficient a member of your company as your other employees.
  2. Teenagers today have short attention spans.  With the onset of technology and a fast-paced means of communication, teenagers tend to have shorter and shorter attention spans.  You may have to deal with repeating your requests or finding your teen employee doing something else than what you asked him to do.
  3. They could easily give up under pressure.  Since teenagers don’t usually know much about the value of work, they could easily give up during tough times.  They may leave their work when it becomes too hard.  Be prepared for these kinds of circumstances, because this may help you think of possible solutions.
  4. They may be difficult to handle.  Some teenagers tend to be stubborn and immature, and since they don’t really have extensive work experience, they may be a bit difficult to manage.  Your patience and understanding would greatly benefit the growth of the employee, so be sure to stock up on those two qualities.
  5. They can think outside the box.  One great advantage that young people have over adults is their ability to think outside the box.  Most teenagers would be curious enough to ask questions that adults would normally be too afraid to ask (in fear of losing their job) but could potentially help the company and steer it in the right direction.  If you have teenage employees in your firm, ask them for their ideas regarding problems you may be having a hard time solving.  You never know; you may just need another perspective in order to see the solution.
  6. There may be restrictions in the law.  Most teenagers are still minors, and they have a special place in the law regarding their employment.  The U.S. law, for example, prohibits minors to work in industries considered hazardous by the Secretary of Labor, which includes manufacturing explosives, mining, logging, roofing operations, excavations, and others.  So if your company belongs to any of these industries, know that you may be liable under the law if you hire a teenage employee.

Even if they are teenagers, you have to treat them as your regular employees.  Do not be lenient just because they are underage; this may prove to be a bad decision because it may promote favoritism and therefore contribute to the lack of efficient job output.


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