Supervising Student Employees

Supervisors can ensure a more positive work experience for both the student and the employer by setting expectations, creating a climate of open communication and on-going feedback, and recognizing and rewarding excellent student work/effort.

Setting Expectations:  Employers should orient new students by familiarizing them with their specific duties and responsibilities.  Students should receive copies of job descriptions, payroll information, expectations of the employing department, and potential reasons for disciplinary action up to, and including, termination.  Setting expectations helps to encourage responsible behavior and ensures accountability (see “Establishing Work Performance Standards”).  Supervisors should also use this opportunity to discuss how and when performance appraisals are conducted, and to what extent these appraisals may affect raises and promotions.

Employer Tip!
Stay in touch with your returning student employees during the summer by sending them a card or letter letting them know you are looking forward to their return. (Click here for sample)

Creating a climate of open communication:  Sharing relevant university information, encouraging students to share thoughts and ideas, and providing on-going feedback will help students see the importance of their roles to your organization and the university.  It will also increase the likelihood of students returning to your organization year after year.

Having open communication regarding credit hours with your students is also important. If, at any time during their employment, a student withdraws from the university or falls below half-time (6 undergraduate credits & 4 graduate credits), the student is no longer eligible to work under student employment. Please check your student's registered hours in Banner periodically.

Reward/Recognition:  Providing on-going positive feedback can increase student productivity and also maintains higher levels of morale. Departments are also likely to retain more student employees, and therefore reduce costs associated with training new hires.

Outstanding work can be recognized by creating an "Employee of the Month" or other recognition program. Employers can also participate in “National Student Employment Week” during the second full week in April by developing visible and creative ways to recognize and reward their student employees.  (See the “National Student Employment Week” section of this handbook for more information and ideas). 

 

ESTABLISHING WORK PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

In accepting a campus position, a student assumes work responsibility for which he/she will be held accountable.  The following list describes the general work performance standards that should be discussed and reinforced with student employees.  Supervisors should also share more specific department requirements with their employees.

1.         The student employee should always report to work on time and let the supervisor know when he or she reports for work. The student employee should always contact his/her supervisor if it is impossible for him/her to show up for work or to report for work on time.

2.         The student employee should request permission in advance to be absent from work if special circumstances arise (the student employee should ask his/her supervisor to define "special circumstances".)

3.         A student employee should immediately bring to his/her supervisor's attention any problems or concerns he/she may have pertaining to his/her job.

4.         A student gaining employment from more than one on-campus employer must notify each supervisor of all current on-campus employment.

5.         A student employee should perform the duties assigned to the best of his/her ability.

6.         A student employee should dress appropriately for the job as specified by his/her employer.

7.         A student employee should respond positively to constructive criticism.

8.         A student employee must give his/her supervisor at least a one-week notice if he/she is quitting his/her job.

9.         Any student that does not meet departmental work expectations may face disciplinary action up to and including termination at the request of the employing department.

10. A student is expected to handle all confidential information he/she encounters during the employment experience in an appropriate and professional manner. Supervisors should clarify what constitutes confidential information and reinforce if/how this information should be handled and discussed.

 

EVALUATING STUDENT EMPLOYEES

Regular evaluation of employees helps the supervisor to measure performance and also presents an ideal source of feedback for students.  One important method to assess and improve productivity involves the use of performance appraisals.  Supervisors should evaluate student performance at least once per semester by completing an appropriate appraisal form and meeting with the student employee to discuss his/her performance.  It is important that supervisors explain the content of the appraisal and obtain a signature verifying the student has read and understood the evaluation.  All completed performance appraisals should be maintained on file in the employing department.

Employer Tip!
Don't wait until the performance evaluation to let the student know that they are doing a good job. Write a letter of appreciation, give regular verbal recognition, or feature the student in a department newsletter or e-mail.

The performance appraisal process provides documentation of student performance and also increases awareness of departmental standards and expectations.  In addition, performance appraisals can establish a favorable work record that students may want to utilize for future employment opportunities.  Students should be aware that their campus employment offers an excellent chance to establish a sound work history.

See an example of a sample performance appraisal.

 

NATIONAL STUDENT EMPLOYMENT WEEK

National Student Employment week falls during the early part of April each year and provides an excellent opportunity for employers to recognize the hard work and effort put forth by our student employees.  During National Student Employment Week, employers are encouraged to honor their students by doing something creative or out of the ordinary to show your appreciation.  Some ideas to consider:

*         Treat students to a pizza party, potluck lunch, or special breakfast.

*         Give students a care package with cookies, candy, popcorn, a mug and hot chocolate packets.

*         Share a decorated “Thank You” cake with all the students in your organization.

*         Send your students flowers or give them a plant to remember your organization.

More ideas for Student Employment Week will be available from the Career Services' website during the weeks prior to the event. 

 

DISCIPLINE/TERMINATION OF STUDENT EMPLOYEES

Supervisors should engage in reasonable efforts to ensure that all student employees understand performance expectations and that students are treated appropriately should disciplinary issues arise.

Grounds for discipline, up to and including termination, could include, but are not limited to, unsatisfactory work performance or conduct, or other violations of University policies and regulations.  Supervisors should immediately document incidences of inappropriate behavior and the disciplinary action taken in order to maintain an accurate record of the reasons for discipline and/or dismissal.  

In the event of alleged violations of municipal, State and/or Federal laws, the Dean of Students and the Director of Public Safety and Police Services should be consulted.

 

STUDENT EMPLOYMENT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

Student employees may experience problems related to their employment situation.  The Student Employment Grievance Procedure is designed to resolve such problems as quickly and fairly as possible.  Supervisors should ensure that student employees are familiar with this process.

1.      If a student has a grievance, he/she should meet with his/her immediate supervisor/program coordinator and a good faith attempt should be made to reach mutual agreement.  The immediate supervisor/program coordinator will give a verbal response to the student as soon as possible after their meeting. 

2.      If the student does not feel that the situation has been satisfactorily resolved, he/she should request a meeting with the department head, unit manager, or designated representative of the department in which the student is employed in a good faith attempt to resolve the issue.  The department head, unit manager or designated representative shall meet with the student employee as soon as possible to discuss the employee's concern.  The department head/unit supervisor's decision shall be final, exclusive and binding on the University and the student.

Career Services has no authority to change an employment-related decision by any University department, but is available to discuss a student employee's concerns once the student employee has met with their immediate supervisor.