High school and college students play a very important role in the pool industry. We need extra help during the busy season and that coincides with summer break for teenagers and young adults summer break. They are the perfect complement to our adult staff members.
To have successful and great student employees you need to treat them with respect, regardless of age. Reward them with small rewards and kind words of praise. Happy employees make better people and better people make better employees. After all, they have an important job to do no matter what position they hold.
Employ high school students to work your water labs. Testing water is one of the most important parts of any retail business so make sure they are well trained, understand their responsibilities, and are treated well so they always have a smile on their face.
A few college students can assist at the counters and cash registers. Have them go through the full customer service, sales, and cash register training like the full time employees, as they are on the front lines selling as well. Schedule the time for training and make your plans in advance so you can stick to the schedule. Don’t ever make the claim that there is no time for training. One of the best ways to learn is to train, so let the employees train and help each other. If you assign someone to teach another on a particular subject, the trainer will need to become an expert. Make sure that they can take care of customers, increase profits and feel good about coming to work every day.
Do you know which things are most important to your student employees? Ask them! Get to know them and focus on coaching rather than bossing. Make time for them and make sure they have a full understanding of your expectations. Inform them of what they can do to be a better employee. The key is to inform them immediately as things happen, and convey it with respect. Follow up throughout the season. Check in with each staff member at least once a week on their turf, not in your office. Engage them casual conversation to see how they are doing and if they need any help with anything. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn about your customers and your business from fresh eyes and ears.
Provide a nice and enjoyable working environment. Teenagers and young adults typically have a very active social life. Allow schedule swapping with very specific guidelines: swap with someone that does the same job, has the same level of understanding, and overtime is never created as a result. You will always have who you need on staff and your staff will always be happy because they will rarely miss something that is personally important to them.
Include your students that sell in the commission structure, bonuses and sales games. They are smart and will be highly motivated for the rewards. In the end you will see how important these individuals are to your success.