How To Show Your Student Employees You’re Thankful For Them

By Emily Plummer on November 17, 2015

Students toil long and hard to first get internships and jobs, and then to maintain them with a diligent work ethic.

We take our employment very seriously because we understand that this experience is just as important as the classes we attend in preparing us for post-graduation life.

Student employees work hard to supplement their academics with real-world experience.
Image via hood.edu

We also realize that the tasks we do as interns and employees can have real impacts on the people and organizations we work for, so we put in lots of energy to doing the job well. That said, it is nice to know that our efforts are appreciated and worthwhile.

To show your student employees that you are thankful for them this season and always, here are some tips to guide you.

Words of encouragement and affirmation.

Your employees will always appreciate your sincere verbal gratitude.
Image via jaymeleehull.com

The number one way to let your student employees know you are grateful for the work they do, is to tell them! The life of a student revolves around earning the praise of someone we look up to, whether it be through grades, comments on our papers and exams, letters of recommendation, or the kind words of our superiors.

Hearing that we have done well, exceeded expectations, or made a meaningful contribution to the team makes students’ hearts soar when it comes from a person we respect or admire.

So if you feel that your student employees have done their work well, tell them! Let them know how you have seen them excel and how they have improved since their position began. If your words come from a place of sincerity, you will certainly make your student’s day.

This may seem small, just a simple “Thank you” or conversation about how an employee has benefited your organization. To student employees, however, it is everything. Students enter the workforce during their time in college looking to gain experience and learn from those already thriving out in the real world — you.

And hearing from you that we have done well or made a positive impression is all the praise we need.

Letters of recommendation.

Taking the time to write an honest and kind letter of recommendation makes all the difference.
Image via ipfw.edu

After expressing gratitude in speech, the next step is to offer your student employees something in return for their hard work. And for students, something we hold rather dearly is a letter of recommendation — that all-important vote of confidence from someone respected.

These letters represent the fruits of our hard work in forging connections with employers and executing tasks beyond expectations. By offering to write one, you are demonstrating a willingness to reciprocate your employee’s efforts with efforts of your own, out of your own, personal volition. To us, that says “I appreciate you” more than almost anything else could.

Yes, these letters take time and thought, but if you are truly grateful for the work your employees do, the writing should be simple. All you have to do is explain why they do such a great job.

Offering future guidance.

You have so much knowledge and experience with which to advise your student employees.
Image via claremonteap.com

Students are always looking for guidance, people to give us insight into our career paths –what we might do and how, after graduation. A supervisor at an internship or job is a perfect person to advise. Presumably, your employees work for you because they are interested in the career you have or the field you are in. So they would love your advice.

Offer to sit down with your employee(s) and discuss how you got to where you are, how they might start their own career-journey, and other advice you may have. To students, you are a fountain of knowledge that they are dying to tap into. And letting them pick your brain is a great way to show that you appreciate their work.

Let this holiday season be a reminder to express the gratitude you feel every day but have not yet put into action. Often we get caught up in the day to day work of our lives and forget to acknowledge those around us for the things they do.

So if you appreciate your student employees for the effort they put and what they have accomplished, let them know! Offer words of encouragement, a letter of recommendation, or career guidance, and your employees will know in their hearts that their work has been seen, and has made a difference.

By Emily Plummer

Uloop Writer
UC Berkeley
Hey, I'm Emily Plummer, a second year student at UC Berkeley, double majoring in Peace and Conflict Studies and History. Reading, writing, and travel give me life, and I'm excited to share my stories with you.

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