Welcome back to this week’s segment of After School Tea Time! Get your tea cups ready because we have more to spill this week! Keep your questions coming because you could be helping someone who has similar questions!
Question from New Haven County- We recently hired a new staff person, and we are having some trouble training them. They have experience but seem nervous because of the new environment. What can we do to help and support them?
Hey New Haven, thank you for asking this question. Hiring and training new staff provides an opportunity for you to build leadership skills amongst more experienced and seasoned staff. Several programs use a buddy system for onboarding new staff. Essentially, this shadowing allows staff to ask questions and gain confidence as they learn their new role.
One of the key ways to make the environment seem less intimidating is lowering the stakes for new staff. What are the expectations you have of them, and what do they expect from themselves? If either of these are unclear, it is a recipe for miscommunication. In letting them know up front about a probationary (or learning/onboarding period) where the main task is learning from others and interacting with the children and youth in positive ways, the playing field is leveled and the expectations are clear.
Using free training resources from the Connecticut After School Network resource page or tapping into professional learning communities are some avenues to help support new staff and leaders as they start. The biggest thing new staff need is to feel included. Think about the climate and culture of your program. Is there a clique or team culture where new people have to earn their spot, is it more of a learning and supportive culture where new staff are allowed to make mistakes, ask questions, and develop skills along a continuum to support them in their work.
Leadership matters in bringing on new staff. What is the first impression you want them to have as an employee, and what are you willing to change to meet the needs of the staff collectively to support the fulfillment of the mission and vision of your program. We hope this will be helpful for you!
We’ll see you next week for another segment of After School Tea Time! Don’t forget to submit your anonymous questions here.