West Texas A&M University

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Career Services Sup Handbook Tips for Supervisors

Tips for Supervisors

Supervisors of student employees are, on occasion, a student's first interaction in dealing with a "boss." As such, we supervisors can significantly impact a student's professional development by how we supervise. Here are some tips you might find helpful:

  • Establish clear goals – make sure your student employees understand their responsibilities and how their work will benefit your department.  Taking time to provide new hire orientation is a good investment for both you and your student employee.  A Statement of Understanding  can be especially helpful in terms of defining the expectations for your office.
  • Set a positive example of professional, polite and ethical behavior – remember you’re modeling how a professional is expected to behave.
  • Be an accessible supervisor – an open door policy is always appreciated.
  • Show appreciation for exceptional work – students REALLY want feedback.  They need to hear when they have fallen short, but they also need to hear when they’ve exceeded expectations.  Brag about their good work to your supervisor or a peer.
  • Allow for students' input – because our student employees are both providers of services and recipients of our services, they may have some wonderful solutions for an office’s trickiest problems.
  • Be a student – our student employees’ fresh ideas on how our offices operate can make our departments even more efficient and customer friendly.
  • Be a teacher – our student employees are developing workplace attitudes, habits, and behaviors that they will take with them after college.  Look for opportunities to explain the “whys” of your office’s policies and procedures.
  • Encourage risk taking and decision-making – provide student employees the chances to apply some of the things they’re learning in classes.  Find opportunities in which they can use their critical thinking skills.
  • Communicate openly and honestly – model assertive communication so that students feel comfortable dealing with a variety of situations.  Regular performance evaluations provide opportunities to improve and succeed.
  • Remember that student employees are students first – it will be important to adjust to their schedules as much as possible; however, help them develop time management skills, if necessary.

In addition, it's important to hone your supervisory skills -- and learn new ones.  Plan to attend the professional development workshops offered by Career Services on a regular basis.  See the training section of our webpage for details.

Celebrate your student employees during Student Employee Appreciation Week, April 4-8, 2016