It is essential to ensure that the knowledge and experience accumulated by an organisation is transferred to new staff. However inducting new staff can be time consuming, resource intensive and costly, and can become increasingly challenging to ensure new staff are inducted in a standardised way as an organisation grows larger. It can be even more challenging for refugee trauma services which are highly specialised and work with vulnerable clients from diverse backgrounds, meaning that new staff often need to be oriented to how they can adapt their relevant skills and experience to the refugee trauma service provision context.
This presentation will outline STARTTS’ staff induction program and how it is supported through ongoing professional learning. The induction program provides a comprehensive, standardised, structured and sequential approach to inducting new staff in a timely manner, utilising a combination of face-to-face sessions, online recordings, readings, group discussions, demonstrations, role plays and practical sessions. All new staff receive the same information about the organisation, its policies and procedures, and the core concepts of refugee trauma work within the first week or so of employment, which lays a solid foundation to start working in their role. Staff working with clients then complete relevant modules related to their particular roles in a sequential fashion that builds on their foundational knowledge. STARTTS’ staff induction program has its own website using a free, open source learning management system called Moodle; which is used by thousands of organisations around the world. This is an important tool in not only providing a visible structure to the program, and for housing video lectures and readings; but also for providing a way for managers to monitor the progress of their new staff through induction by checking what has been completed. All modules have simple quizzes attached which reinforce learning.
This approach allows the identification of strengths, areas for improvement and particular interests of staff. The staff induction program is supported by an ongoing and proactive staff development program aimed to deepen and extend the knowledge and skills of staff. This includes workshops, seminars and presentations, many of which are available to participants external to STARTTS, and online via a video lecture library called Psychevisual, which may soon be available to all IRCT members. In conclusion the combination of solid orientation and extensive ongoing professional learning is often quoted as one of the best aspects of working at STARTTS and fulfils a dual role of attracting and retaining staff, ensuring they attain optimal functioning levels quicker, and continue to develop professional throughout their employment at STARTTS.
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