Tuesday, May 9, 2017

You Matter. Your Staff Matters.

By Guest Blogger, Rebecca Fabiano

Rebecca Fabiano
Research has shown that one of the top three reasons why youth stay in after school programs is because of their connection to the staff. YOU MATTER. YOUR STAFF MATTERS.

Those of us who have been in the field for more than a minute know that staff retention can be just as challenging as retaining the participants. Try these things as non-traditional ways to support, motivate and acknowledge your staff.

1. Work with them to PRESENT at one of the local, state or National Conferences; this helps to showcase their talent, their strengths and helps them to deepen their and your organization's networks.

2. For staff in a new role, like that of a supervisor, pair them up with a mentor (either in your organization or from a 'sister' organization); transitioning into a new role can be exciting and challenging, having someone to turn to who has gone through it before to provide a little extra guidance can help ensure success. And then, when they are ready, have them be a mentor to someone.

3. Find ways to show case their strengths and talents; perhaps they can run a photography or cooking workshop for other staff or participants, which may be a little different from their regular responsibilities. Consider sending them to a training or a workshop that speaks to their interests in addition to the required training (like CPR, mandated reporting, etc.)

4. Ask them how they like to be motivated and acknowledged! Not everyone likes the public shout-out at the staff meeting, and others hope for it every week. When you check in with your staff, find out how they like to be acknowledged, you might be surprised to find out a simple thank you note in their staff mailbox could go a long way. My staff used to love a 'good job!' sticker every now and then. Who knew!? You will, after you ask them.

NOTE from Sam Piha, Temescal Associates: I first met Rebecca in 2004 when she was directing The (high school) After School Program in Lincoln Square. I was so impressed with her approach that I wrote a description of her program for the National Institute on Out-of-School Time. You can view it here

Rebecca Fabiano is Founder of Rebecca Fabiano Consulting Services (RFCS), a small business that supports organizations and individuals that work with children and youth by focusing on improving program quality and providing professional development for staff. Rebecca has an extensive background as an executive in non-profit program administration & leadership, youth development, and adult education. 

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