Managing others in the workplace can be exhausting. It sometimes feels like you’re spending so much time overseeing, correcting, and eventually redoing projects that you’re not getting any of your own work done. Maybe you’ve gone so far as to fire one employee, only to find the same thing is true of the next one. On top of not getting work done, the frustration and micromanagement is enough to make you implode.
Rather than entering a never-ending firing and hiring cycle until you find the perfect person, why not take steps to make your workforce more self-sufficient to begin with? Here’s how:
How hiring college students boosts your employees’ self-sufficiency
Getting an early start
We’ve already provided you with the ways that hiring college students can shrink your recruiting budget. But there are added benefits to your workforce productivity as well.
Traditional internships have become less about helping you get work done and more about scrounging to find tasks that fill their time without handing over too much responsibility. While you may have found some stars, chances are you’ve encountered many interns who didn’t fit in at all, which is a shame because it means the internship was a waste of time for both of you.
Short-term, part-time positions while a student is still in college, however, can stop this from happening. If the worst happens and you realize it’s not a great fit, you can nix it quickly. And if you see a promising potential employee with an interest in what your company does and how it works, you can coach them from the get-go. Even better: You can teach them to complete a task your way, and not someone else’s.
Coaching > overseeing
College students today have the built-in (so to speak) benefits of being digital natives. They understand the application of mobile and digital technologies better than any generation before them because they grew up using them. They know how to reach customer bases, create brands, and hone a target audience without even having actual job experience. What we’re trying to point out here is that they’re already accustomed to thinking strategically from a business perspective.
In addition to benefiting your company’s promotional efforts, these skills can help you minimize oversight. The next time an issue arises or you find yourself not getting the work you expected, ask your student employees what they think of the process based on their expertise. In addition to getting them to think strategically about why they were supposed to get something done a certain way, you’re giving them the chance to feel ownership over it. And you might even learn something you didn’t know in the process!
If you’re overseeing employees in the same office, they have the benefit of being able to reach you whenever they need to, which can cause a dependency that might not be beneficial to you. This usually isn’t the case with student freelancers, since they’re physically not in the same place as you and are often busy with classwork and extracurriculars during your normal business hours. This isn’t a bad thing! Because they can’t reach you at any moment, they’re likely to have to come up with solutions on their own if questions arise. This problem-solving mentality can give them the confidence they need to think critically next time, making them more self-sufficient in the process. You might find a potential full-time employee out of it!
Making feedback more efficient
Feedback is one of those things that can get thrown by the wayside when you’re in crunch mode. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most important things when it comes to making your workforce more self-sufficient. Whereas internships can cover a vast array of projects that a student might touch only to a certain degree, a short-term project gives the student the chance to own it from A to Z, even if he or she has help along the way.
Because of this, your feedback can get a lot more specific. You can point to particular aspects of the project where the student went above and beyond and showed some potential interest for a future job. You can also point to other areas as concrete examples of skills on which they could improve. Specificity is always key when it comes to constructive criticism, so use real projects to your advantage!
We’re here to help. The HireOwl platform gives you a space to post jobs, communicate with students, browse video profiles and e-portfolios, and check references all in one spot. Get started today!