Firms are trying to keep their core production people by offering them higher wages, switching to full-time benefited positions, and even offering signing bonuses. It’s essential to develop social aspects of hiring that promote mutual respect and trust in order to keep young workers around.

The following are ways to help you improve your onboarding process:

1. Create career jobs.

There is an expectation for good jobs in this era. A good job is not simply one that pays a little above the minimum wage; there are many of these types of job available. A good job is one that offers security and a sense of worth. It helps young people feel like they are valued and have a bright future ahead of them. A career job is one that meets the following criteria: it pays a living wage, has predictable hours, offers visible skill and wage progression, and fosters respectful relationships with supervisors and co-workers. A bad job implies that the employer does not care about their employees’ well-being and whether they stay or leave.

2. Communicate opportunities for career progression.

Young people may have held multiple short-term, low-paying jobs before you hire them. Employers should be aware that what they might see as a training period for young workers with the intention of developing a long-term relationship, might be experienced by those workers as just another short-term job. A young employee may not understand what an employer finds obvious. If you are interested in this job as a long-term career, let the employer know from the beginning. If you do not explain the career growth opportunities at your company, young workers may leave for a job that offers more opportunity for advancement.

3. Build positive relationships prior to hiring.

If you are struggling to find high-quality candidates to apply for your open positions, doing some outreach ahead of time can be beneficial. Young workers need to be able to see themselves in your workplace, doing your jobs, and working with your people. Holding a mock interview can help you understand what employers are looking for, before you have to face the real thing (which can be quite stressful). Although workplace tours and job shadowing can help potential candidates see themselves in a role, if everyone already at work is white or male, it might be a signal to many potential hires that they would not fit in. If a website or training video doesn’t feature anyone who looks like me, I may assume that I’m not welcome. Since more and more workers will be people of color in the future, employers need to think about how they are communicating with workers of color.

4. Ensure a positive first day reception.

New workers are often nervous about entering a new workplace. One of the biggest mistakes employers make is assuming that new workers are ready and willing to work without any guidance. If you stay, people will think you don’t care. This will lead some people to leave. An extreme version of this would be if a new employee showed up to work and everyone seemed surprised to see them. This may be due to a communication breakdown between HR and department supervisors from the employer’s perspective. This makes it seem like you don’t care from the perspective of the new employee. First impressions are crucial to retention. It’s important to introduce yourself to your coworkers, supervisors, support staff, and boss.

5. Assign new hires a mentor.

Employees need to learn job skills and also the informal culture of their workplace. If you don’t provide guidance, some employees will be able to figure things out, some may get lucky and be adopted by a more senior colleague, and others will have a difficult time. This tendency leads people to think that those who are struggling are lazy or not intelligent. More often, they have not received adequate mentorship and need help figuring out how to proceed. Mentors can provide helpful information and help new employees feel part of the social life at work. Mentors who are assigned to young workers of color are especially important because these workers are often not noticed or given attention by older supervisors until they have “proven” themselves. Many firms have well-developed mentor systems for their managerial and professional workforces, but they leave the onboarding of lower-level workers to chance. It’s a mistake to overlook these people, especially since they’re often your most important production workers.

6. Communicate and explain expectations clearly.

There are both formal and informal rules around expected behaviors in every workplace. Many people discover social customs and etiquette by paying attention to their surroundings and observing others. Rules like no cell phones on the job or calling in if you can’t make it to work on time may seem self-evident to supervisors, but young workers may find them arbitrary or unreasonable. Cell phones are a valuable possession for many young workers, as they provide a way to stay connected with their children. For many young people, cell phones are also a central part of their identity and relationships. Using phones on the job can be dangerous in some manufacturing settings, rude to customers in many service jobs, and irritating to supervisors in general. If an employer enforces rules that make sense, then employees are more likely to follow them. Therefore, it is important for employers to not only establish rules, but to also explain the reasoning behind them. If you don’t want to come across as a coercive parent or teacher, don’t tell the person to “just do it.” We all remember how ineffective that was when we were young.

7. Create a culture where young workers can ask questions.

Some young workers may feel shy or uncomfortable asking for help from their supervisors. They are afraid of failing, so they don’t ask for help or clarification when they need it. When a new employee feels like they can ask questions and that they will be respected, they will learn more effectively. When there is a lack of respect and patience, people are less likely to ask for help. It is okay for young workers to ask questions and it is actually beneficial for them to do so.

8. Understand non-work lives.

Young workers typically have different lifestyles than more established workers. The statement is saying that it is especially true that your labor force is made up of people of color or immigrants when you are just starting out. Some have children. Many must commute on mass transport. Some are in school or their children are. To be a successful supervisor, you must understand the reality of your young workers’ non-work lives. There are a lot of things beyond our control that can interfere with our plans, like getting sick, transportation problems, or school events. Keep in mind that the person you are talking to may have a very different life from your own. If you take the time to understand someone’s life, you may realize that their “bad” work habits are not actually bad, but a result of their complex life.

9. Foster a climate of respect and dignity for everyone.

Even though they may be the source of toxic racist encounters and sexual harassment, sometimes supervisors and coworkers who are equal opportunity bullies are excused by managers. Managers should never ignore routine bad behavior just because it is racism and sexism. Respecting one another is key to maintaining a positive work environment. Allowing disrespect to go unchecked will result in negative consequences for morale, productivity, and employee retention. workplaces that are respectful and dignified towards all employees, regardless of race, gender or citizenship, are more likely to be successful in hiring and keeping young workers.

10. Create a racially equitable workplace.

Workers of color and immigrants have experienced discrimination in past jobs, schools, and public places, and are worried that they will experience it again in your workplace. A color-blind approach to race is an insult to the lived experiences of immigrants and people of color. Employers should ensure that there is no discrimination in pay, shifts and hours, and job assignments based on race and gender. It is important for supervisors, coworkers, and new employees to have stable and respectful relationships with people from all backgrounds in order to create a workplace that is fair for everyone regardless of race.


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