Performance and Attendance Concerns

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Supervisors should attempt to resolve a student attendance or work performance issue before considering termination. Begin with some form of “coaching.” Discuss your concerns with the student and set a timeframe within which you expect to see improvement. If the student does not improve by the end of that time, you may either proceed with termination or continue the coaching process.

Important: This process does not apply to cases of gross misconduct (harassment, misuse of University facilities, timesheet fraud, etc.). These cases should be reported immediately to the Work-Study Manager (for Work-Study students) or Student Job Service Manager (for non-Work-Study students).

The following guidelines are intended to help supervisors resolve concerns about students’ attendance or performance before they become serious enough to warrant termination. Feel free to contact the Work-Study Manager or the Student Job Service Manager directly for guidance.

Four-Step Coaching Process

STEP 1 – Identify the specific concerns.
STEP 2 – Identify what is influencing the behavior, and its impact.
STEP 3 – Discuss your concerns with the student.
STEP 4 – Follow up with the student.

Steps 1 & 2 – Preparing for a Discussion with the Student

Identify exactly what behaviors are problematic, and determine their cause, using the question below as a guide. The more specifically you respond to each point, the more effective your discussion with the student will be.

  • What actions do I observe that indicate a problem?
  • What behavior adversely affects our work/department?
  • How does the behavior negatively affect our work/department?
  • What should this student do (or stop doing) to convince me that he or she has resolved the problem?
  • Does the student know what my expectations are?
  • Does the student know how to perform the job and meet my expectations?

Step 3 – Discussing the Concern(s) with the Student

Arrange a meeting with the student, informing him or her of its purpose.

  • Describe specifically and objectively the behavior you have observed, and explain its impact on the work/department. Focus on observed behaviors, not the student’s attitude or personality.
  • Give the student an opportunity to respond to your concerns.
  • Try to get agreement that a problem exists as well as a commitment from the student to improve.
  • Explore alternative solutions. Ask for the student’s suggestions.
  • End the meeting by summarizing the discussion, reviewing the next steps, and offering encouragement.
  • Document the discussion.

A few additional tips:

  • Hold the meeting in a private place, and ensure that there will be no interruptions. Never address problems in front of others.
  • Allow as much time as it will take to complete the discussion.
  • Make sure your emotions are under control.
  • Provide a balance of positive and negative feedback.
  • Try not to give too much feedback.
  • Decide ahead of time what minimum action you will accept as a result of the discussion.

Step 4 – Following up with the Student

  • Has the student taken the steps that you agreed upon? If not, go back to the discussion stage and/or issue a written warning to the student detailing the concerns and potential repercussions of failure to improve in relevant areas (e.g. termination).
  • Verbally recognize any improvement.