Scheduling Student Employees at College Campuses


5 min read

Scheduling Student Employees at College Campuses

Garrett McHugh

Jan 30, 2023


    Tips for scheduling student employees at college campuses

    Many American colleges employ student workers. It’s a convenient way to fill the gap in staffing needs and reduce labour costs. The Federal Work-Study (FWS) program further incentivises schools to hire work-study students because for each work-study job, the federal government contributes a portion, or in some cases, all the payment needed for their wages. Students can hold various part-time jobs on campuses that work around their class schedules. Campus jobs can range from dining hall worker, tour guide, residence assistant, tutor, mail room attendant, barista, and library assistant. Despite the range of positions and students eager to work, hiring student employees comes with challenges.

    The most significant challenges of employing student staff are retention and attendance. Student workers often have other priorities that rank higher than their on-campus job. For many college students, receiving a quality education and earning a degree tend to outrank part-time work. For instance, student-athletes often make excellent employees but also have hectic schedules juggling practice, games, and class. Other students remain equally busy as most American college campuses offer students the opportunity to participate in clubs, social activities, and events.

    Student-employee turnover tends to be high as each semester brings new course loads and schedules. Furthermore, students might graduate, transfer to another university, or switch to a more time-intensive major. There’s also a common need for last-minute scheduling changes for reasons such as group projects, away games in sports, and prep time for exams. Being empathetic to student needs while properly scheduling your staff is a tricky balancing act. Fortunately, we have some tips and solutions.

    Tip #1

    Offer flexibility

    Student employees appreciate flexibility, which improves employee retention and ensures your staff is committed. Below are Planday features that greatly benefit both your student staff and schedule managers.

    • Allow staff to digitally submit their availability. Managers can then view the days and time slots submitted while making the schedule.
    • Post open shifts that your team can request if they’re looking to take on or make up extra hours. Instead of scrambling to fill a shift, you can create a roster of eager volunteers.
    • Allow staff to swap or handover shifts with other student workers. This eliminates you as the middleman and empowers staff to problem solve and work as a team.

    Tip #2

    Go Digital: Offer a mobile app

    Make the schedule agile and accessible to view from their phones.

    Allow your teams to access their schedule in our user-friendly Planday mobile app. Students have a high technical aptitude and rely on their phones for almost everything. Managers can also create schedules on the go and manage their teams through the app. Here are some advantages of providing a mobile app experience such as Planday to your student staff:

    • View personal shifts and the schedule for the rest of the staff so they can see who they work with and can plan their upcoming study sessions and social activities.
    • Access documents such as uniform policy, handbook, or job manual in one place.

    View hours worked, request time off, message, and more on the go.

    Tip #3

    Effective communication

    Positive Communication and teamwork play a crucial role in developing a strong staff of student workers. Treating them respectively and understanding their greater goal of being at the university is important. For some, the on-campus job could be a means for paying for courses, textbooks, a trip, or a concert. Keeping this in mind, you, as an employer, should frequently check in to see how they’re managing the balance of their job and schoolwork. You can devise a plan if they need to reduce their hours, or they could be looking to work more to earn additional money. Here are some recommended tips for improving communication with Planday:

    • Use the newsfeed area to post an inspirational quote, highlight someone doing a good job, or communicate an important message for everyone to view.
    • Use Planday as a regular way to message with your staff. It’s more agile than email and more professional than texting or a WhatsApp group.
    • Fill urgent scheduling needs by messaging staff that aren’t scheduled but could work; or provide regular updates to staff scheduled for a specific day.
    • Don’t over clutter with too much messaging—keep it simple and easy!

    College is often considered to be a highlight in people’s lives. Meeting new people and being exposed to new ideas and experiences contribute to a person’s development and growth. University employers are no exception. As an employer, you’re in a unique position to play a role in making a positive impact on your student staff and their career development. Enjoy the time and connections you build with your student staff and let Planday pick up the slack when scheduling and payroll becomes cumbersome. That way, you can ensure that each student worker’s experience is rewarding.Planday can help colleges and universities better manage their employee scheduling and student staff. Already many student staff working in dining operations are relying on Planday for their scheduling needs. If you’re interested in learning more and attending a demo with one of our consultants, you can visit our website and select “book a demo”. 

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