Startups often struggle to attract or retain ambitious young talents. Some of the reasons for that include the inability of most startups to meet the high wage demands that Generation Z employees demand. Some don’t have a clue on how to convince young employees to stay, and others simply don’t know how best to manage and motivate excellent young talents.
If you run a startup and wish to bring in a young team, you need to first understand that young employees bring smart technical skills to the table, not experience. You cannot expect them to deliver optimally unless you offer them the leadership and guidance they need in order to put their technical skills to good use. With that in mind, here are 7 tips to manage your young startup employees:
1. Focus on the bigger picture
This applies, particularly in the Chinese labor market. During your China company registration process, you will learn some striking differences between running a business in the Far East vs. the western world. For example, China is largely defined by a collectivist culture whereby everyone wants to know their place in the bigger picture. Chinese kids grow up wanting to fit into the bigger picture, not to be mere onlookers on the periphery. That is why young Chinese workers want employers who respect their personal values and on top of that, factor in those values into the day-to-day running of the business. They want to feel like an integral part of the success of your business; as if they are indispensable to the company. If they cannot feel that way, they will quit on you within months.
2. Provide room for growth
Young employees around the world want employers who carve a clear career path for them. They will walk away if you cannot help them progress their careers. That is why you need to organize career fairs for them, help them create professional networks of their own, promise to sponsor them for refresher courses, and most importantly, give them promotion and growth opportunities in your startup.
3. Guide them well
We already mentioned that young employees are talented but not experienced. It is necessary that you and your senior employees help the employees to fit into their job responsibilities. Guide them not only in boardroom meetings but also in real-life training sessions. Share your experiences with them. If they make an error when executing a duty, don’t be quick to condemn.
4. Help them collaborate
Employees need to work as a team in order to bring the best out of each other. However, young employees often struggle to fit into teams especially when the teams are filled with people from older generations. They are fresh out of college so they probably feel like they are better equipped with modern skills than everyone else in the team. While that may be true, they still need to gain the experience that the older employees have. You have to help them to get along with older generations and leverage their experience.
5. Share feedback all the time
Maintain a steady stream of performance feedback when dealing with the millennials. These are people who spend a lot of time online consuming all kinds of information. They feel entitled to the information. If you hide it from them, they might feel unnoticed and undervalued. Be careful not to patronize them; just give them authentic feedback about their performance and leave it at that.
6. Utilize their strengths
Young employees aren’t perfect. Most of them are actually sloppy. However, as inexperienced as they are, they can be extremely ambitious. They are very energetic and bring a fresh wave of knowledge into the team. Young employees are eager to learn. They are creative and updated in regard to modern markets. Most importantly, they bring to your startup renewed growth potential. Focus on utilizing these strengths.
7. Invest in counseling
Young employees often struggle to manage stress. They are in a phase where they want to settle down, start families, pay student loans, buy their first car or house, maybe advance their studies, and have fun in the midst of all that. Help them to manage their time, to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and to alleviate stress. You will not achieve that by yourself. Hire a professional life coach or counselor to help you with that.
Young employees might appear rebellious and unruly from the outside but deep down, they are always crying for help and attention. If you can give that to them, they will be motivated to work for you no matter how tight your budget is.