10 Tips for Staff Training

  1. Give good tours.  You want your staff to feel comfortable with where they are working, both because it will help them to feel like they belong and because it will make them more willing to ask questions.
  2. Create detailed job descriptions.  Your staff should know the basics of what is expected of them just by reading it.
  3. Have staff read Your Staff Manual before staff training starts.  You’ll be ten steps further ahead when you begin. A great way to encourage this is to embed prizes throughout the manual. Sentences that say… “did you read this? Great! Email your boss for a free camp sweater”.
  4. Leave out the fluff.  Stick to only the most essential, most useful content.  Use teambuilding exercises sparingly, trying to embed them in other things.
  5. Do emergency drills.  The most important job your staff has is to keep your clients safe.  Emphasize this.  Practice this.  Be able to perform drills in your sleep.
  6. Organize time carefully. (Read this article for more info)
  7. Set aside times where staff can (or have to) speak with leaders individually to discuss how training is going, questions they have, or concerns that pop up.  Then have another time a couple weeks after staff training to do the same thing.
  8. Emphasize cleanliness.  Staff will try to cut corners where they can to save time and energy; be prepared for this.  Train your staff to be hyper-vigilant about sanitation, hygiene, and having the camp appear perfectly spotless to your guests.  This way, when corners are cut a little, you will still be ahead of many camps in the cleanliness department.
  9. Teach staff How to Deal with Homesickness and generally difficult campers.  This is one of the biggest challenges (particularly for summer counselors) and it is important for their confidence to feel they know how to deal with the situation when it comes up.
  10. Don’t train returning summer staff the same way you train new staff.  New summer staff need the basics; returning staff don’t.  Do what you can to train them according to their needs.

Related Articles:

Training: Summer Staff

Training: Full-time Staff

Training: Volunteers

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