Want happy teen employees? One word: training.

Want happy customers? Once again: training.

Want to improve your bottom line? Training, again.

Hiring high school students? You guessed it. You need to train them.

You may be tempted to skimp on job training for teens you hire for weekend part-time jobs. But don’t fall for the “they only work a few days, they only need a little training” trap.

Students working weekend part-time jobs need training as much—if not more—than any other employee. Here’s what they need to know.

Job Training for Teens Part 1: Learn the Specifics of the Job

Job training for teens is about showing them how the job should be done. You’ll walk them through administrative tasks like clocking in or logging errors. You’ll show where things are: the break room, the tools they’ll need, emergency systems.

You’ll demonstrate step-by-step how to ring up a sale or enter an order. You’ll explain policies and procedures. But don’t stop there.

Introduce them to company culture. Show them how you want them to greet customers. Answer questions and connect them with the rest of the team.

For high school students, since they often have less job history, training may include going over basic expectations, too. So make that part of your weekend part-time job training.

Job Training for Teens Part 2: Learn How to Dress the Part 

If your company expects people to wear a uniform, what to wear to work gets a lot easier. Still, you may want to provide more detail: no wrinkled uniforms, shirts tucked in, close toed shoes.

If employees wear branded shirts, explain what is appropriate to wear with it. Does everyone wear khakis or anything black? Are shorts acceptable or yoga pants?

If you don’t have a company uniform, a dress code can be helpful. The key is enforcement for everyone. Be clear on piercings, tattoos, and job-appropriate clothing choices.

Let employees for your part-time weekend jobs know why you have this policy, whether it’s safety, health codes, or company image.

Job Training for Teens Part 3: Learn Why It’s Important to Be on Time 

As part of job training for teens, set an expectation for timeliness. That often means getting to work a little bit early to make sure you’re there on time.

Let employees know your policy for clocking in and out. Do they have to wait until 8 on the dot to sign in, or can they sign in and get started at 7:50?

Be clear about expectations for shift end as well. Some jobs, like retail, restaurant and healthcare jobs, don’t get out exactly on time every shift. Make it part of your interview process to talk about schedule flexibility, and keep the discussion about timing open during training.

Job Training for Teens Part 4: Learn Why It’s Important to Show Up to Work

Team camaraderie is a plus, but not if it gets in the way of getting the job done. Over-socializing may be an issue, particularly on weekends when students are in a “time off” mentality.

Review rules about socializing and using technology on the job. Do you have a policy about texting on company time? Should phones be turned off or left locked up in the back room? Set rules that work for your company, but make them clear to all your employees, including those working weekend-part time jobs.

Do you have a job where there’s potential down time? Students may see this as a great opportunity to get some studying or homework done.

In fact, some jobs lend themselves to additional study time. If your position isn’t one of them, make guidelines clear—and show weekend employees what they can do when things are slow, whether it’s restocking, cleaning up, or prepping for the next shift.

Job Training for Teens Part 5: Learn Why It’s Important to Bring the Right Attitude

You’re looking for three things when it comes to employee attitude:

  • General enthusiasm for the job
  • Treating customers with respect
  • Being a good team member

Again, it comes down to expectations. Don’t hesitate to spell out what you expect. Then give plenty of feedback.

Remember to catch employees doing things right: “I know that was a difficult customer. Great job keeping a smile and sending them out the door satisfied” or “I know you don’t usually deliver orders, but thanks for helping out during the rush!”

Job training for teens is essentially about showing someone the ropes and setting expectations. When you are clear about what you expect from employees, they’re better able to succeed as a critical part of your team. #TeenHiringGap

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