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May 12, 2021

6 Things to Know About Hiring Young Workers

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A teenager working in a coffee shop. Learn more about hiring young workers.

Does your company hire teenagers? Many companies offer jobs to younger workers, particularly in retail and food service. There are many benefits to hiring younger workers, not the least of which is the opportunity to offer someone their first job and help them start their career. However, there are also special considerations management should keep in mind when hiring teenagers.

Learn how to manage your youngest employees effectively.

6 Things Managers Hiring Teenagers Need to Keep in Mind

#1: Obtain any needed permits.
Many states, such as Washington and California, require businesses that hire minors under age 18 to have a permit to work.

The requirements for this form may vary depending on your state, so verify that you’re up-to-speed on child labor laws. In California, this permit is often issued by the minor’s school. The minor must request a form to be completed by themselves, their employer, and their parents before being returned to the school.

Verify that you understand how this process works in your state.

#2: Be aware of applicable regulations.
Certain regulations apply to employers who hire teenagers. If the employee is under 18 years old, they will almost certainly be subject to your state’s child labor laws. This may regulate things like the type of wages a minor can earn, how many hours they are permitted to work based on their age, etc.

For example, in the State of California, minors age 16 and 17 must have completed 7th grade to work while school is in session. They may only work 4 hours on a school day, or 8 hours on a non-school day while school is in session. Furthermore, minors in California must be paid at least minimum wage and applicable overtime.

Read up on the regulations that apply to your state and for the age of the employee that you’re hiring.

#3: Have clear expectations.
To succeed in the workplace, teenaged employees often need clear expectations, even more so than other employees.

For many teenagers, this will be their first job, and they may need additional guidance to understand workplace expectations. For example, it may seem obvious to you that they shouldn’t be on their phones while they’re working, but they may not understand that. It may also be beneficial to clarify what appropriate language or professional dress is or what your expectations for their role are.

#4: Train soft skills.
In addition to clarifying the expectations for teenager workers, you can also help them be more effective employees by serving as a mentor for soft skills as well. The Society for Human Resources Management reports that the three soft skills young workers are often missing include problem-solving, communication, and collaboration.

Demonstrating how to effectively communicate professionally, deal with angry customers, etc. can help them build soft skills that will benefit them for their entire careers.

#5: Tailor benefits to young workers.
If your company is looking to recruit teenagers, it can help to tailor the benefits you offer to appeal to them better.

For example, young workers might appreciate having a regular, stable schedule or the ability to set their availability so that they can work around school and other extracurricular activities.

Starbucks offers support with college tuition to eligible employees, and Six Flags lets summer hires into the park for free with a guest.

#6: Offer Mandated Reporter training.
In the State of California, an employer who hires minors and has at least five employees is required by law to provide Mandated Reporter training to their human resources employees and frontline supervisors.

Find the right Mandated Reporter Training solution for your organization. Explore our courseware.

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