4 Ways to Better Manage Student Employees

Posted by Katie Brown on 27 September 2016 |

manage student employeesBefore embarking on their careers, college provides students with the tools they need to become successful. In addition to providing educational knowledge and social skills, college is also a great opportunity for students to gain real-world experience as members of the workforce.

However, to get the most out of the experience, student employees need to have quality managers who are able to provide feedback and direction. 

The Value for Student Employees

While many students may find internships or part-time jobs with local businesses, there are a variety of on-campus opportunities available for student employees.

According to Lillian Dotolo of St. John’s University’s human resources department, “Employees now regard work study as a key component of a student’s total experience, acknowledging that the university has a responsibility to provide not only quality academics but quality experiential learning as well.”

Whether students find a specific role or take a position within a department that translates to their chosen career paths, this real-world experience can be very valuable to them.

Not only does it give students an opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge, but they have an opportunity to receive feedback on their performance and receive additional training and direction that isn’t always provided in the classroom.

How to Improve the Success of Student Employees

For human resources professionals or managers, overseeing student employees can be different. Often younger and with less work experience, many student employees are still trying to identify their career path and learning to work in professional environments.

But as a manager, you play a major role in the success of student employees. Here are four ways you can help to improve your students’ experience:

1. Recognize Their Successes

We all need encouragement at times, and for the younger generations, positive recognition is a huge motivator. If they only hear about the tasks they did incorrectly or how they should have done something differently, student employees will likely become frustrated. Additionally, for high-performers, it’s important to set them as examples for other student employees to look up to.

2. Give Specific Direction and Feedback

When assigning tasks, give specific details, including desired outcome/deliverables, timeframe expectations and people/resources to leverage for support. Without outlining specific expectations and desires, providing feedback can be difficult.

Whether positive or negative, feedback is imperative to the student employee’s success, both now and in the future. They need to know how they are performing, ways they can improve and opportunities for growth.

3. Provide Harassment Prevention Training

As a manager or human resource professional, ensuring that the workplace is safe and secure for your employees is important. However, harassment can occur, even in the workplace.

Help educate your student employees on how to identify, prevent and address sexual or unlawful harassment in the workplace. For example, we offer a training course that’s designed specifically for student employees that introduces them to these important workplace concepts.

4. Encourage Learning

Ultimately, student employees are here to learn and grow. Provide them with opportunities to improve upon their current skills or develop new ones. Once in the workforce, they will be faced with high-pressure and demanding situations, so challenge them to overcome obstacles and enforce the importance of continuous education.


Student employees will soon be out in the working world. Just as professors and educators are preparing them with the knowledge to be successful, it’s human resources professionals and managers who can provide them with the skills and tools to have a prosperous career. 

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