BiS: BusinessInSavannah.com - Business news for the creative coast.
In Case You Missed It

Owens: Invest time in young people at summer jobs

On Memorial Day Weekend, we honor all Americans who died while in the military service, and it’s also the unofficial start to the summer vacation.

With summer, comes the summer job.

My first foray into hospitality was a summer job at McDonalds. I learned a lot on that job, and it wasn’t just about making Quarter Pounders. I learned the culture and expectations of a real work environment. I learned that earning a paycheck felt good. And, I learned I didn’t want to work at McDonalds for the rest of my life.

In a few weeks, hundreds of students will be taking a paid internship with businesses all across the city through the City of Savannah’s initiative, the Summer 500 program. You’ve no doubt read about it or perhaps participated by hosting interns at your place of business. It’s a great program that showed tremendous success in its inaugural year last year.

For those of you who are participating in Summer 500 or hiring some seasonal summer employees who may be entering the working world, I encourage you to invest in those employees like our future depends on it. Because in a way it does.

The young people who are taking seasonal jobs are preparing for their future in the workforce. Part of what we do at the Tourism Leadership Council is help businesses train their employees. I’ve picked up three key points that I hope you will remember when working with young people this summer:

Be explicit

For many of these summer seasonal workers, it’s their first, real job. They may be nervous and don’t know what to expect. Communicate what you want them to do by modeling the behavior, and give clear expectations of their duties.

Remember, you need to be explicit with the new-to-the-workforce employee. They don’t carry the years of experience you have. So, encourage them to be to work early and be at work every scheduled day. Outline how one employee missing a day throws the whole team off balance and puts their own future at a disadvantage.

Walk them through the work day. Will the workload require a lot of moving? Will there be customers to care for? Will they need any special clothing or shoes to perform their duties? Tell them what breaks look like, how often, and what they should bring for lunch or snacks.

Spell out how you want to communicate with them about evaluations, scheduling changes, and tell them how they can best communicate with you. Set them up for success by having professional expectations that will carry them over to whatever may be next.

Be sure to train

The young people you hire need to know more than just how you want them to do their job. Teach them the soft skills of dealing with customers and co-workers in a healthy way.

Training shouldn’t be something out of the ordinary. It should, in fact, be very ordinary, a part of your daily dialogue with staff, no matter how long they’ve been at your business. If you’re always tweaking the team’s soft skills, a culture will be built. You will create a fluid and ready team. Training must be a part of the employees’ daily schedule.

Be ready to say goodbye

Young people looking for work are in transition. They must be free to go back to school or advance up the ladder. This means you should be ready to repeat the training the next time you have a young person join your team. We owe it to our businesses and to our future to keep investing through training.

So, as you get ready to have your opening hurrah to summer, don’t forget you have a job to do when you get back. Tomorrow’s workforce depends on it.

Michael Owens is president/CEO of the Tourism Leadership Council, the largest nonprofit trade organization that supports and represents the tourism community. Contact Owens at michael@tourismleadershipcouncil.com or by calling 912-232-1223.

Comments

In Case You Missed It