Taking a Time Out: The Importance of (Social) Staff Development

In my 10 years of supervising people in student affairs, the biggest lesson I can share would be to develop your staff. No matter my position, from RA to Associate Director, the value of connecting the staff socially made each team stronger and more efficient. For some of you, it may be a requirement; for others, you may not have the time or budget to make this a reality. Here are some things I have done over the years when it comes to staff development.

Test the waters

Everyone is different when it comes to “forced fun.” By putting out feelers to my team, I knew if they were completely stressed and needed a relaxing night or super energized and could handle something a little more active (like ice skating, pumpkin picking or laser tag!).

Make it feel spontaneous!

If you are lucky enough to have a budget set aside for staff development, make doing something outside of work feel like it’s this great idea you had. It shouldn’t feel like something they need to add on to their to-do list. And word to the wise, don’t schedule it during midterms.

It doesn’t have to be expensive

There were positions where I did not have a budget to work with to make development happen. I turned to movie and game nights in my apartment instead. One year I had an all female hall and staff. We painted our nails, french braided each other’s hair and made tacos before crashing at 2am. #GirlsNightIn

As you may know, Swift Kick retreats have included an improv classBlue Man Group and  scavenger hunts. Big or small, this time together will help with team dynamics and, simply, the human connection. #TeamHuman

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