Staff Training

Bringing in qualified outside trainers can often be more effective. Staff has to listen to you and your managers all day long. Sometimes it’s best to have them hear the message from a qualified third party. Local, regional or national municipal associations (such as the International City/County Management Association, or in Georgia, the Georgia Municipal Association) often offer free or low-cost professional training sessions at your site. There are also companies that do this and if you shop around and budget for it, you can outsource.

Setting The Mood

Sending staff to outside training is great too. It gets them out of their workspace and among others who are in the same line of work. They often rejuvenate their creative juices and come back motivated. This will generally cost a little more, but the payback in higher motivation and better performance is well worth it.

And, generally speaking, if all other aspects of your organization are in good shape, better-trained people are happier and tend to stay with you; it’s always better and ultimately less expensive to have a motivated staff of seasoned, well-trained people rather than losing them and having to re-train.

Training Day

One additional thing I’ve insisted on is an annual “all-hands” training day. I have more than 60 staff who work in various sections of the parks, recreation and library operations. We have different shifts because some of our facilities are open before or after normal working hours. Even with a relatively small staff as this, some people don’t even know others let alone what they do.

I normally plan this at the first of the year. The annual training day (or it can be a half day, or two days…) is a time for me to let everyone know what’s coming up in the year, and what part they’ll play in it. I give a Parks, Rec and Library 101 session and tell them about the organization. This especially helps new staff and makes them feel part of the team.

I invite the city manager and mayor to speak to them about big picture issues. Staff can ask questions and get answers. If I’ve done my job and kept people informed, there are no surprises.

The annual training also lets everyone see what others in their organization do. It makes them realize they’re part of something larger than just their section. They begin to see how they fit into the big picture.

So how about it? What are some of the training ideas you all have in the field? What’s the best training experience you’ve had? What’s the worst? Got some good suggestions for training scenarios? I’m wide open to suggestions…contact the PRB staff or me and we’ll get them in here.

Randy Gaddo is the director of Parks, Recreation and Library Services in Peachtree City, Ga. He can be reached via e-mail at or call (770) 631-2542.

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Related posts:

  1. Training
  2. Feedback For Staff
  3. Training Begins
  4. Sound The Alarm
  5. Online Training

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