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Human Resources

Tips for Supervising Student Employees

Establish clear goals.
  •  Provide training and specify performance expectations and ground rules.
  •  Assume that the students you have hired are competent and responsible. Provide them with the potential for learning and growth.
Set a positive example of professional, polite, and ethical behavior.
  •  If students witness a supervisor that is punctual and professional, students will learn the importance of doing the same.
Remember that student employees are students first.
  •  If there is a conflict between a student's academics and job, academics must come first. However, the student can and should learn how to manage time so that the impact on the position is minimal.
  •  Make your expectations clear regarding their time commitment and how to notify you if he/she must be absent.
Show appreciation for exceptional work.
  •  Positive feedback, especially when given in front of one's peers, costs nothing and provides a quick, effective award.
Allow for student input.
  •  Ask your student employees what they think of a certain project. They have a lot to offer!
Be an accessible supervisor.
  •  Tell students they are free to ask you questions and discuss concerns.
  •  Periodically ask them if they have any questions.
Encourage risk-taking and decision-making.
  •  Letting students know that you trust and believe in them helps to foster a sense of cohesiveness and provides great practical experience. Please remember that this is a learning experience for the students you hire.
Communicate openly and honestly.
  •  A student should always know how he/she is doing.

Supervisor Training Checklist

The time that you initially invest in helping your student workers learn their job responsibilities will prove worthwhile to you, your department, and your student workers. If you have more than one student worker, it may be helpful to offer a group orientation/training session. This is not only efficient but will help ensure that all students are trained in a consistent manner.