My team has 10 fill time staff and 20+ part time student staff. How to best mitigate the challenges that the part time portion present from a management and training perspective.
I am in the interview process to be the manager of my current team. We are a IT service desk for a university.
In the first interview I was asked if I thought the student staff model is sustainable. I said I was a fan of the model and outlined the positives and negatives. Positives are they are eager to learn, have no professional baggage/bad habits (for most this is a first job), they are adaptable/easy to mold into professionals, lower salary. Negatives are the large numbers are difficult to manage, they need more training, they do not retain skills as well (because they work a fairly small amount of hours), they are difficult to schedule (we need to work around class schedules).
I have worked with student staff members for 15 years across three different universities and do fully believe that the positives out weigh the negatives. I would like to be able to elaborate on this answer in the second interview and am looking for ways to mitigate some of these negatives. Here are my current ideas:
- An additional management position, one focusing on day to day operations and one focusing on performance. (This was not originally my idea, the previous manager and myself chatted about this)
- A shift lead position. This would be a student position that focused on peer leadership and day to day operations. It could have nothing to do with performance due to union rules.
- A specialized student training program that focuses on skill retention and professionalism.