Monday, February 1, 2010

Dear Retailers: Your Biggest Fans are Working for You

Young people are typically treated as a disposable, easily renewable commodity when it comes to working mall retail and other teenager appropriate, "unskilled" jobs. Unfortunately, us kids have a reputation for being unreliable, and compounded by the fact that we're are available only during holidays and after school, it's no wonder employers don't see fit to invest more time and effort in us young workers.

But, one glaring misconception on the part of companies hiring gen y-ers is that we'd rather not be there. In truth it's quite the opposite. We're often your biggest fan!

I worked at a coffee shop when I was in High School and with only a few full time employees they relied heavily on a staff of young people. We were paid very little (around $6.50/hr), made to pay for our drinks and food, and no tips were allowed. In spite of all this we all loved our jobs and wanted the shop to do well. Yet, we were often treated by the management as if our next shift would be a "no call no show." Despite our friendship and desire to do a good job the attitudes of our managers became a self fulfilling prophecy and drove many people away.

Employers would do well to consider that often young people want to do well at their jobs and have a deep desire to establish a place where they feel they belong. We develop an emotional attachment to the store and the other employees we work with, but need to feel we are valued and respected as well.

I explore this issue in more detail and offer some suggestions of what employers might improve in an article published on,
Dear Retailers: Your Biggest Fans are Working for You. Check it out and leave a comment!