THE TEEN SCENE
The teen employees demonstrate a strong aptitude for education.
“The mindset of a young person is learning,” Seubert of HMSHost
points out. “They absorb our training very quickly.”
KEEPING THEM ENGAGED
After you hire young workers, you’ll fnd that retaining them comes
with its own challenges.
For one thing, you need to be able to ofer them what they seek—
primarily a sense of purpose in their work and an opportunity to learn and
grow, according to Kimberly Gilsdorf, associate director of nonproft
consulting frm FSG in Seattle. These insights come from a focus group
she held on retention best practices for local 16- to 24-year-olds who
were not in school or the workforce.
“Think about how you are framing this job to the people you are
hiring as the frst step in their career journey,” Gilsdorf says. “How
can you make it more than a way to get extra cash? When you do that,
your job will be so much easier.”
The companies that do this best make sure the benefts of work are
relevant to youth, Gilsdorf says. Predictable schedules are a good start.
HMSHost uses a time management system with an app that lets people
set their times of availability. “When we enter into a relationship with
a young person, we have a mindset this is one piece of that person’s
life and we want to be fexible,” Seubert says.
Compensation also counts. Pipino gives his ice cream scoopers bo-
nuses of up to $1,000 if they stick around for the full season. He paid
more than New York’s minimum wage until the state recently raised
it to $12.75 an hour for franchised companies like his. His turnover
rate is just 25 percent in an industry where it’s
usually much higher, and he receives 500 appli-
cations each year for 50 positions.
“We are perceived as the cool spot to work,” he
says. “You’re serving ice cream, with music on
in the background. It’s conducive to a teen en-
Not everyone has ice cream, cotton candy and
roller coasters to ofer. But even in less hip environ-
ments, such as at manufacturers like Timberlane,
you can draw kids in by teaching them how various
aspects of the business work, whether it’s wood-
working, installation or process management. Re-
search indicates that Generation Z—the youngest
generation, roughly defned as those born from
the mid-1990s on—have a deeply etched entre-
preneurial spirit that may lead them to want to
understand how companies are run.
Also, never underestimate the value of a good
perk. At Six Flags, summer hires can get into
the park free with a guest and qualify for college
scholarships. HMSHost ofers free meals and has
a tuition reimbursement program that employees
can tap if they become full time.
Praise is a particularly efective motivational
tool, Seubert says, especially for young people
who have been raised with the constant feedback
provided by social media. Managers at HMSHost
start each shift with a meeting by recognizing employees’ good work. Being singled out in front of a
room full of mostly older co-workers “will make a
young person’s chest puf out” and give them confdence on the job, she says. Even when not done
publicly, managers are encouraged to recognize
contributions in a private, meaningful way.
The company also uses a practice that others
have found to work for enterprising Generation
Z workers: rotating them to diferent jobs. A
Burger King worker, for instance, might get to
learn how to be a Starbucks barista. The Maryland Six Flags similarly moves teens around to
keep their interest.
Being singled out in front of
a room full of mostly older
co-workers ‘will make a young
person’s chest puff out’ and give
them confidence on the job.