Positive Feedback and Reinforcement

Positive feedback motivates students and encourages them to continue doing their jobs well. Positive feedback is most effective when you:

  • Recognize a specific action/behavior.
  • Give it as soon as possible after the student’s good work occurs.
  • Deliver it in a sincere manner.
  • Direct it toward an individual rather than a group.
  • Adapt it to the student’s style/preference.
  • Keep it proportional to the work being recognized.

It is also a good idea to express general appreciation to your student employees for the outstanding support that they provide. Ways you might do this include:

  • Celebrating National Student Employment Week. Supervisors receive information during the spring semester regarding this important event.
  • Nominating excellent student employees for Student Employee of the Year. Supervisors receive information in January regarding the nomination process.
  • Sending students thank-you notes, or creating a large thank-you note, signed by all staff members, to display in the department.
  • Creating awards or certificates to give to your students. (Best Customer Service, Most Professional, Most Likely to Show up in a Snow Storm, etc.)
  • Providing students with letters of recommendation for their job searches.
  • Offering occasional “treat breaks” such as popcorn, candy, cookies, etc.
  • Celebrating the birthdays of student staff members.

Be creative!

For more information on the topic of positive feedback, see Bringing Out the Best in People, by Alan Loy.