Creating an identity development friendly work environment
New employee on-boarding and semi-regular employee training can be an effective time to help students with their development. Maximize these time periods not only to share essential job functions but to create foundations upon which students can build throughout their time in your organization.
Encourage your students to self-reflect and create an environment where they feel comfortable coming to you with a simple three-phase conversation structure:
- Getting acquainted: The goal in this first phase is to help students feel comfortable, which helps them share things and describe feelings. In this phase, develop trust by asking students about their expectations for college overall and how things are going so far.
- Encouraged reflection: Ask students to describe experiences that were meaningful or significant. What made them feel significant? In this phase, also consider asking students about their experience working across differences, whether it be race, gender, or politics.
- Interpretation: Ask students to interpret the meaning of the experiences they just shared with you. How did these experiences influence their development? Have they influenced the student’s consideration of a career, major, or larger purpose in life?
Be willing to discuss issues of identity and career development with your students (when appropriate). It is helpful for those in identity development stages to grow their pool of knowledge to continue their growth.