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Onboarding and Welcoming Students on their First Day

New student employees will remember their first day on the job, and supervisors and those who direct the work of student employees have a unique opportunity to make their new students’ initial workplace experience a positive one. Genuine consideration and a little planning ahead will make the difference in assuring a welcoming and professional first day. 

The first day is the ideal time to capitalize on students’ excitement about being hired and their genuine desire to be successful.  It is the perfect time for Supervisors to follow a planned orientation to be sure to cover important topics, to set the tone for effective ongoing communication and to clarify position and overall department expectations. As often as possible Supervisors should be present to conduct the initial welcome, and may assign others to cover certain topics.  

The following can be used as a checklist for your student employee’s first day:  

University Level

  • Give a warm welcome and try to reduce any nervousness the new employee may feel.
  • Express your enthusiasm for hiring your new employee and review the agenda for the first day.
  • Have the new student employee complete all the necessary new hire paperwork for HR, payroll and the department.
  • Review all relevant University policies and procedures that are listed fully on the HR website here. Highlight the policies that are critical for new student employees to understand and where they will have liability if in non-compliance.  Supervisors have an important responsibility to inform student employees about this information and direct them to the material.  

Department Level

  • Provide a big picture view of the work of the department or unit including the mission, objectives and accomplishments. Let new student employees know how their work will connect with the overall mission. Share organizational charts if available.
  • Review specific department rules and procedures including proper attire for the office, attendance, punctuality and confidentiality rules.
  • Provide a tour of the work area including offices and work spaces, restrooms, lunch and break areas, kitchen, work room, supplies, emergency exits, etc.
  • Review appropriate use of PSU equipment in the department including computer, telephone, fax, photo copier, work room materials, etc.
  • Review emergency procedures for rapid evacuation of the building
  • Introduce new student employees to other staff members, particularly those they will be working with most often. 
  • Set up access such as relevant office keys, relevant computer accounts and applicable departmental system drives, etc. 

Individual and Position Level 

  • Review the position description (See Writing Effective Position Descriptions” in the Recruitment, Selection and Hiring Student Employees section.)
  • Set up work schedules and breaks.
  • Demonstrate and discuss procedures for tracking the student’s time, including signing/clocking in and out.  Refer to Attendance and Punctuality Management.
  • Review procedures for notifying the department in cases of absence, lateness, or planning and requesting days off.
  • Discuss plan for providing training for job duties and any safety training needed for physical tasks such as heavy lifting, using mechanical equipment, working with hazardous materials like chemicals.
  • Summarize your expectations for student employees, and ask them to sign off on the orientation agenda acknowledging that they participated in this session with you and other applicable staff. 
  • Remind the student employee to complete the "Creating a Culture of Respect" module available on D2L.