Positive Work Climate


  • Be sure that the student assigned to the job has the time and resources to do the job. It does not hurt to ask for that extra effort from your students, but be sure in your own mind that the assignment is reasonable.
  • Provide feedback to students. Provide assistance as needed to complete an unusual or difficult task. Even when the performance is okay, be sure to tell students what they have done well. Don’t miss any opportunity to give praise or recognition.
  • Remember that the most important, intangible part of the work climate is a healthy sense of self-esteem. Make student employees feel important and needed. When students feel good about themselves, about the university and the work they do, it will be much easier to get them to work effectively.
  • Make it matter. Make it fun and teach responsibility. When a student employee’s main function is to answer telephones, give them more meaningful work when you have it.
  • Follow the Golden Rule. Treat student employees as individuals, as you want to be treated, and as adults rather than kids – it encourages responsible adult behavior.
  • Be an example, an educator, and a team player. Model strong work habits through efficient, dedicated work practices. To the degree that we each contribute to the lives of others, we are all educators. The University of Missouri has a great resource, myLearn. It is a library of resources that can be easily searched for. Simply login with your university credentials to access hundreds of helpful materials.
  • Sometimes it is just the little things. Consider using simple things like e-cards and send them to your staff to let them know you appreciate them.

Welcome new employees

  • “Welcome to the team” flowers or sign on the first day of work.
  • New hire welcome event each semester or year.
  • Brown bag welcoming lunch with staff and new employees.
  • Welcome new hires with a picture/bio sent to other staff and faculty members.
  • When introducing new employees to others, describe each person with an interesting fact from their background or bio, or a unique skill set

Give recognition

  • Recognize students during Student Employee Appreciation Week (2nd full week of April)
  • Acknowledge employee milestones with a card.
  • Present employees with certificates of recognition: portrait style certificates, landscape style certificates.
  • Be creative with birthdays. Instead of a cake, have a balloon tied to the person’s chair that everyone can sign. Or send an e-mail reminder to other staff members asking them to stop by and give well wishes.
  • Highlight the work they have done over the course of the semester year, describing what they achieved and the impact they have made.

Help student employees be well

  • Offer or encourage massage therapy (Relaxation Station in Wellness Resource Center).
  • Create a wellness pledge or competition with points for healthy behavior.
  • Encourage students to count their steps and aim for a Million Steps.
  • Share resources and multimedia from Healthy for Life website (mediation, stress relief, etc.)
  • Encourage Mindfulness Practices with students which build coping skills and life appreciation.

Show appreciation

  • Send handwritten praise and thank-you notes.
  • Offer thank-you doughnuts for team.
  • Have a candy jar or bring treats (cookies, bagels, lattes).
  • Set interviews and meeting times with employees, who set the agenda.
  • Write three things you appreciate about each member of your team and give it to them each semester.

Learn more about positive work climate using training resources from myLearn.