My name is Amy, and I’m the Recycling Manager at Flat Can Recycling. My boss Kat thought it would be cool to give me the chance to write a blog post for our website, and I’ve decided to make it about how you, as a business owner, can attract young, energetic team members who will be incredibly loyal to your business. I think this is important because in today’s crazy world, you want employees who will be motivated to stick around and really give their all to your company’s goals and mission. If you don’t have that, you’ll be dealing with high turnover rates, and it will be harder for you to make a difference or innovate in your industry.
The first thing you should know about me is that I’m 19 years old. Technically I guess that makes me a member of Generation Z, which is probably the age demographic that you’re looking to hire from as you grow your company into the next decade and beyond. I’m not exactly your typical Gen Z teenager, though (I’m not doing anything crazy like eating Tide Pods). I’m more of an old soul, but I think that’s a quality that you can probably draw out of most people my age if you make them feel valued and invest in their personal and professional development. That’s what Kat does for me, and it’s turned me into someone who’s so passionate about our business that I often find myself texting her late at night with ideas on how we can optimize our recycling process!
The main thing that I think is so important when it comes to investing in your young employees is that you should accept them for who they are, and let them know that you care about helping them to grow and learn. Letting them wear what they want to work, teaching them leadership skills that fall outside the “normal” zone of their responsibilities, offering to arrange for training that will help them to do their jobs better, and including them in brainstorming sessions alongside the higher-ups are all things that will have a positive impact on your young employees’ experience of working for you. It helps if you actually listen to their ideas, too! Young people often have interesting perspectives on longstanding business processes and that sort of thing.
Right now Kat is sending me to a forklift driving class. It’s really motivating to know that your employer is willing to pay for this kind of stuff. I’m an automotive technology student at college, and because working on cars at school is very physically demanding, I’m usually pretty tired when I go into work. But because of how supportive the atmosphere is at Flat Can, and because I know that they’re invested in my skill set and me as a person, I can reach down inside me and find the energy to do a great job taking apart and sorting aerosol paint cans. In fact, I recently decided to start working towards getting a business certificate, so that I can apply that knowledge to stepping into a management role at work as our team and client roster expand.
The other thing I would recommend that you do in order to keep your young employees happy is more of a personal nature. It means a lot when you can make them feel like you have their back. Let them know that you understand that sometimes, life happens. Don’t expect them to be 100% perfect all of the time, and they will feel comfortable coming to you when they make a mistake or need your advice about how to do something. This goes a long way. If your team feels like you appreciate their best efforts, they’ll stick around for the long haul. And you won’t be continually needing to post job ads, interview people, and train them on things, which cuts into your time doing what you need to do.
Of course, though, not every Gen Z employee is going to have a great work ethic. That’s why you need to test people out. I recommend that you offer the opportunity to do a brief internship or job shadow. The right person will jump at the chance, and will step up and figure out how to handle whatever challenge you throw at them. This is usually described as being a “self-starter”, but you can’t really know if someone IS a self-starter or not until you give him or her the chance to demonstrate that.
And lastly, I’d recommend that you get a cute company mascot. When Chompers, who is Kat’s adorable bulldog, waddles up to me in the warehouse in the morning, it makes my day. Maybe it’s weird that that’s a big selling point for me for my place of work, but I can’t imagine having a job anyplace that didn’t have a furry friend available for cuddles throughout the day!
Recycling Manager at Flat Can Recycling