Author: Cassie Gasaway
High schoolers, college students and recent graduates are often good employees because they’re ambitious, eager to earn a paycheck and ready to apply what they know in a real-world setting. But they may be intimidated by older adult customers and worse, those customers might not trust their knowledge or experience. Neither scenario is productive to your workplace. To reduce employee turnover and set younger staff up for success, you must help them become experts about your products and company, while giving them opportunities to test and demonstrate their skills and growing knowledge base. These five practices will help you bring younger staff up to speed in a meaningful and engaging way.
Conduct a Comprehensive Onboarding
Help young adults see the business big picture. Give them the layout of other staff and their responsibilities, as well as an overview of your company’s goals, your typical customers, and standard operating procedures. Providing that insight helps younger staff understand brand objectives and internal conversations, which helps them connect with the team and company.
Then, start training sessions on core tasks before branching into specific technical skills or advanced sales techniques. If you hired a bow technician, enroll them in the ATA’s Bow Technician Certification Course so they learn the safe use of a bow press, draw board and other shop equipment, as well as how to perform a complete compound bow setup. Click here to learn more.
Provide Incremental Education
Education motivates younger employees. Providing a few minutes of education each day keeps employees excited and engaged. Share additional details about processes they already know or teach them new facts about products, brands, events, partners or customer preferences. Consider getting them certified to teach archery if you plan to have them instruct a class or run your range. The ATA offers archery instructor certifications at the annual ATA Show or you can sign up through USA Archery.
Pair a new employee with one experienced staff member so they're receiving one-on-one training. Photo Credit: ATA
Assign a Dedicated Mentor
Your new hire should work with and report to one person after their initial onboarding. A one-on-one learning environment is typically more productive for young adults because many of them are prone to being overwhelmed and overstimulated. Working with the same person eliminates confusion, streamlines the learning process, and creates an environment where young workers feel comfortable asking questions and for help when they need it. Mentors should provide clear expectations, ongoing feedback, coaching when their mentee fails and praise when they succeed. The consistent connection builds trust and develops a close professional relationship, which helps retain new hires. The setup also helps mentors stay relevant and reminds them to model good behavior and avoid shortcuts.
Ask Lots of Questions
People in their 20s are typically shyer than the 30-plus crowd because they lack experience in the working world. Asking the new hire regular questions prepares them to answer a customer’s questions and is a good way for both parties to track progress. If the young worker answers incorrectly, they’ll know what to work on; if they answer correctly, they’ll gain confidence and prove they’re ready to move on to something new. Asking general questions also shows the new employee you value their opinion and feedback, which stimulates growth and education.
Model the behavior you want to see in your employees. Photo Credit: ATA
Remind your young employees to be professional throughout the training process, and lead by example. Don’t slouch, swear, roll your eyes, talk behind a customer’s back or wear inappropriate clothing. If you have downtime, show them they can dust shelves, reorganize products, clean the bathroom or step up to help other employees. Managers and current employees set the tone for impressionable new hires who observe and mimic their superiors’ behaviors.
As you’re training capable, goal-oriented young adults, remember to be patient and positive. You should also be open with your customers and mention you’re training a new staff member. Explain that you oversee and inspect their work to ensure the customer receives top-notch customer service and equipment care. Approaching new hires with a comprehensive company employee training program gives you, them and your customers confidence in the process, while building your brand’s reputation as a great place to work.