If your company is like many others, you may have employees who are still in high school and college. While their fresh perspectives and ability to work nights and weekends can be a boon to the business, working with teenage staff can occasionally try the patience of even the most experienced managers. Whether you currently work with teenagers or are considering adding them to the payroll, you can ease tensions by considering two strategies.

Strategy 1: Explaining Corporate Culture and Expectations

One of the most important things to remember when working with teenage staff is that working for your company could be their first real job. This means most of the behaviors you take for granted with your other employees could be lost on them. In particular, it’s important to educate younger employees on:

  • Arriving on time
  • Customer service
  • Dress code
  • Following through on their tasks
  • Giving adequate notice before taking time off or calling in sick
  • Limiting personal phone calls
  • Maintaining a positive attitude
  • Phone etiquette

Perhaps the best way to get the point across without being perceived as lecturing is to give them a crash course in how your business operates on their first day on the job. Not only will teenage staff want to know what they must do each day, but how it fits into the bigger picture of the company. You’ll be able to meet the dual objectives of orienting them to your company’s way of doing things while making them feel like a vital cog in the corporate machine.

Strategy 2: Understanding the Teenage Mindset

When it comes to working with teenage staff, it’s important to remember that they’re used to multitasking. Instead of focusing on one thing, they may well be used to doing their homework while watching TV, texting their friends and listening to their MP3 players. If you notice that the teenage employee who showed so much promise during his interview seems to be flailing in his position, it could help to give him a little latitude in how he works.

Granted, no one wants an employee of any age constantly texting their friends, but if you have a teenager in a back office position where they don’t have to answer phones or greet customers, letting them work with headphones shouldn’t cause too much of a disruption to your office. In fact, it may even increase productivity.