If you’re a parent, finding ways to motivate your teenager or young-adult child can be difficult at best. But it’s even more of a challenge if you’re managing young adults in the workplace. In that situation, it’s crucial to find effective means of motivating your workforce–for their sake and for the sake of your business. Fortunately, there are a few simple strategies that will help to encourage productivity in your young employees.

1. Create work teams. Teenagers and young adults typically like being part of a group. When you create work teams, you also create groups that every young worker can be a part of. Set work-related goals for each of your groups and emphasize how important it is for every member of the group to participate in order to make the team successful.

2. Provide a variety of work tasks. Young workers can become bored easily, and boredom can lead to daydreaming, texting or other unproductive activities. Mix it up a bit and challenge them by giving them some variety in their work duties. The more your young employees have to focus on their responsibilities, the less time they will have to waste on non-work-related distractions.

3. Provide positive reinforcement, and don’t be too quick to criticize. If they make mistakes, correct them in a positive manner and encourage them to try again and continue trying until they succeed. Most young adults–and people in general–respond well to positive reinforcement.

4. Listen to your young employees, and show them the same respect that you show to your older workers. Young adults may not have the experience that your older employees do, but they can still make valuable observations and suggestions. Pay attention to what they tell you, show them some respect, and they’ll be more likely to do the same for you.

Remember what it’s like to be their age. Looking at things from a young adult’s perspective will help you understand why they may lack motivation to begin with. Low self-esteem, raging hormones and a desire to be accepted will all impact how a young adult performs in the workplace. Fortunately, these conditions can also be tools for motivating your young workers.

Photo courtesy: Annie E. Cacey Foundation

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