Orienting new student employees to their role, immediate work environment, and IUPUI or off-campus organization as a whole is critical to ensure students grasp the mission and how his or her position contributes to achieving it. In addition, a comprehensive and effective new student employee orientation program can accelerate the time it takes for student employees to become productive and improve their retention. For departments or organizations that hire multiple IUPUI students, an orientation program can also provide a chance for students to connect with each other and to begin bonding as colleagues.
Additional benefits of an intentional approach to orient new student employees include:
- Student employees become engaged in the work environment from the first day.
- Clear expectations and goals can be established.
- Student employees can understand standards regarding professionalism and workplace conduct.
- New student employees feel valued when they see planning and effort put into the orientation program.
- Student employees receive access to tools, systems, policies, and procedures to provide them with position-critical information.
A Process, Not a Transaction
New student employee orientation, as a process (not a transactional or one-day event), begins the moment the position is offered to the student—even before the first day! From the time the position is offered, many will begin envisioning themselves no longer as applicants but as employees. It is critical for supervisors to have a thorough plan for welcoming new student employees from this point all the way through the first day and weeks on the job.
Luckily, as a supervisor of student employees, you do not have to take on the entire process of orienting your new student employee(s)! A variety of people are and should be involved in welcoming new student employees, including leadership, human resource contacts, other student employees, campus/organization departments, and staff and faculty in general.
Below are sample timelines, topics, and tasks that supervisors can use in developing their own new student employee orientation process and program. The below list is not comprehensive, but can be used to help supervisors identify opportunities to provide their new student employees with a meaningful experience. Again, supervisors do not have to conduct each item below; many items may be appropriate (and perhaps more effective) for other student employees, full-time colleagues, leadership, or other departments to deliver.
Before the First Day:
- Contact them, welcome them to their new position, and express your excitement that they are joining your team
- Ensure they complete all hiring and human resource paperwork prior to the first day
- Determine additional forms and paperwork needed to prepare the student, including emergency contact information, confidentiality agreement, conflict of interest form, etc. See the hiring process page for sample forms.
- Establish and confirm their schedule for their first day and/or semester
- Discuss your and their expectations for their first day and weeks; share all or parts of your orientation plan
- Discuss logistics, including where to park and where to report to
- Provide them with the department/organization dress code and professionalism expectations
- Provide them with required and appropriate departmental and institutional policies to review and complete before beginning, including confidentiality and conflict of interest (see IU Policies for Temporary Employees)
- Provide them with the department/organization website to review and document any questions they might have
- Share welcome materials such as a welcome letter, PowerPoint or other presentation, and handbooks or manuals
- Ensure they have a work station with adequate supplies and necessary technology
- Request access to systems or technology they may need to complete their duties
- Order name tag or other identifying supplies (t-shirts, employee ID card, etc.)
- Identify a space for them to place their personal items when they arrive to work
- Identify a list of people to involve throughout the employee’s orientation and arrange meetings and presentation times (e.g., Office of Student Employment, Career Development Offices, Office of Equal Opportunity)
- Answer any questions they have about you, the position, the department or organization, or their first few days