Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Our Staff Festival

You may have spotted that we were short-staffed over a few days in July. Joanne Casey explains why.

Every year, the Information Directorate holds what we call Staff Festival. It's not quite Glastonbury - good weather helps, but we don't have to wear wristbands or wrestle with tents.

Instead, it's our annual focus on staff development, which springs from a belief that staff who are given the opportunity to boost their skills will provide a better service to our customers.

We've run our staff development events in various formats over the years - a fortnight of opt-in sessions, an all staff away day, or a week of events. This time, the event lasted three days: the first focused on individuals, the second on teams, and the third on the whole department. The overall theme was Brilliance, and how to achieve it.

As individuals, we tried to enhance our personal brilliance by selecting from activities aimed at improving the work life balance - from sessions on resilience to yoga in the workplace. Team events were an opportunity for us to get together in our groups with day-to-day work set aside; some chose to take time to look at their team mission, others arranged team building events off campus from sandcastle building to clearing weeds in Rowntree Park. Staff from the IT Support Office presented their colleagues in Customer Services with a video about their work, which is now proving popular on our YouTube channel.

The final day found almost all Information staff at Merchant Taylors' Hall, with a day long session facilitated by Darrell Woodman from The Art of Brilliance. Presentations in the morning were followed by group exercises in the afternoon. Crucially, we spent time looking at things that we could genuinely change to improve the work that we do, both for ourselves and for our customers.

Inevitably, carrying out staff development on such a wide scale meant that for the second two days the Library Help Desk and IT Support Office were running on minimal staff. We hope that this short-term inconvenience is more than offset by long-term improvements.

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