Quality in Action #6


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Shining a Light on Supervision; hosted by the Mentoring Partnership of MN; July 7, 2010; features panelists from Minneapolis Beacons Network

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  • Starts promptly at 12 noon.
  • Slides 1-14: Goal is to get through those in 15 minutes or less. Slides available on Slideshare. Resources/web sites available at end of slides.
  • In my early days as a camp supervisor, I found myself mostly walking around reacting to problems, questions and concerns. Of course I smiled and waved to groups of kids and said hello to staff. I’d jump into a game or join an activity whenever I could. I remember smiling and saying “Howzitgoin?” a lot, which for about a week represented the full extent of my supervisor vocabulary. Here’s what I was missing. I was spending the majority of my time “weeding and pruning the camp garden.” If I saw something that wasn’t supposed to be there, I weeded it out. If one bush was getting in the way of another, I pruned away the conflict to make sure everything remained in its proper place. What I wasn’t doing was walking around promoting growth. I mean, of course the weeding and pruning helped things grow that were already planted, but I wasn’t putting new or better plants into the ground. I wasn’t looking for great ways to upgrade the overall garden.
  • Image is linked to the PDF. Research shared is drawn from this Issue – we did a webinar on it in 2009. You can find the slides on slideshare.net
  • From the “Action” section… Look at Checklists at back of issue # 3 Staff Qualifications Mentoring programs should hire staff who possess: ■ A strong commitment to the program’s mission. ■ Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to develop relationships with diverse community members, staff, and youth. ■ The ability to role model behaviors for mentors—including consistency, active listening, and compassion for youth. ■ Previous experience in youth development work. ■ Excellent written and oral communications skills. ■ A degree in a field related to mentoring, such as education, psychology, social work, and counseling, or equivalent experience. ■ A solid history of continuous employment without multiple short tenures or gaps in employment. Staff Training Mentoring programs should offer staff: ■ An orientation to the program and work environment. ■ Initial training on specific duties required for the position. ■ An overview of research on the effectiveness and best practices of mentoring including the Elements of Effective Practice.TM ■ Training on positive youth development strategies. ■ Opportunities to transfer knowledge gained from training into action. ■ An individual professional development plan. ■ Supervisory skills training for those who oversee mentors or other staff. ■ A role in evaluating the effectiveness of training received. Staff Retention Mentoring programs should: ■ Create a positive workplace climate that includes opportunities for managerial and peer support. ■ Understand and address the causes of staff turnover. ■ Ensure that staff are recognized for high-quality work. ■ Provide a framework for success, giving staff opportunities to achieve, demonstrate competence, and experience growth. ■ Budget appropriately to compensate high-quality staff. ■ Provide access to internal and external mentors/coaches for staff.
  • The most extensive empirical examination of program practice effectiveness to date was carried out as a part of the meta-analysis (DuBois et al., 2002). In analyses that controlled for the methodological characteristics of studies, we found that seven different mentoring program practices were predictive of stronger positive effects on youth outcomes: The magnitude of estimated effects increased systematically as programs utilized a greater number of the practices, thus suggesting that they made independent contributions to youth outcomes .
  • It stands to reason that the professional staff members who design the program models and implement the program policies and procedures make important contributions to establishing strong mentoring relationships and achieving the goals of the intervention. For example, workers who recruit, screen, train, match, and monitor program participants have a role in supporting the mentoring relationship at every stage in its development (Keller, 2005a). In the process of maintaining clear communications, ensuring adherence to guidelines, and providing encouragement and advice, the workers may form their own meaningful relationships with mentors, children, and parents/guardians (Keller, 2005b). Ideally, as representatives of the program, these mentoring professionals would serve as excellent models of the very attributes they wish to see in mentors: being consistent, attentive, and responsive; and providing appropriate structure and guidance to program participants. It is unknown, however, to what extent the personal characteristics or professional activities of program staff actually affect the quality of mentoring relationships because this topic has not been addressed through research. In fact, virtually nothing about the professional staff of mentoring programs appears in the research literature.
  • This is why we are looking at Beacons later… thinking of how we can apply this to mentoring staff… and even further, to supervision of mentors? Perhaps the closest parallels in the nature of the work are found with child welfare workers who screen and license foster parents, place children in foster homes, and monitor relationships among child, foster parent, and biological parent. In addition, the closest parallels in the nature of the workforce are found with the field of youth development , which attracts individuals interested in working with youth in a variety of community based and after-school programs but does not yet have a clear set of employment qualifications or a strong sense of professional identity. Given the lack of information about staffing issues in youth mentoring, this review necessarily draws on the literature available in related fields , such as child welfare and youth development. Of course, it is acknowledged that important differences exist between the conditions of youth mentoring programs and those of other settings . For example, child welfare workers typically operate in large, bureaucratic state agencies; work with severely abused and behaviorally challenging youth; and encounter involuntary, adversarial parents. Finally, although it is recognized that various leadership and administrative responsibilities are essential for the success of mentoring organizations, this review focuses on staff positions related to program operations .
  • This absence of systematic study is unfortunate because program staff positions in youth mentoring represent a special combination of responsibilities and challenges distinct from most other jobs in the human services . One aspect of the role demands the interpersonal and clinical skills used in direct practice with both youth and adults, such as assessment, training, advising, negotiating, and resolving conflicts. On the other hand, because the primary focus is on the mentor, the staff person tends to assume a secondary, supportive role in facilitating the mentoring relationship and acting as a volunteer manager. As an additional twist, the program worker also may perform the functions of a case manager for the child and family by providing referrals and opportunities (e.g., tutoring, summer camp).
  • Conventional wisdom suggests that the retention and advancement of qualified, well-trained staff is a priority in most organizations, including youth mentoring programs. There is widespread perception of substantial staff turnover in the field of youth mentoring, but no facts and figures are available to suggest the actual scope of the problem . Staff turnover is also a concern in the related fields of youth development and child welfare. Impacts of turnover Monetary impact on organizations due to costs associated with separation, replacement and training Negative consequences for morale of remaining co-workers burdened with extra work Disruptions in continuity and quality of services Factors for Staff Turnover Large amounts of time focused on difficult and emotionally charged issues Necessity to work evenings and weekends Pressures and anxieties associated with child safety issues Feelings of role overload and burnout Emotional exhaustion In general, human service professionals spend large amounts of time focusing on difficult and emotionally charged issues, and the intense demands of the work can cause stress, frustration, and fatigue (Maslach & Jackson, 1981). Particular challenges in mentoring programs may include the necessity to work evenings and weekends to accommodate volunteers and parents as well as the pressures and anxieties associated with child safety issues. Two comprehensive, systematic reviews of research on factors associated with staff turnover in human service professions and child welfare provide consistent evidence that feelings of role overload and burnout, particularly emotional exhaustion, are linked with turnover (Barak et al., 2001; Zlotnik, DePanfilis, Daining, & Lane, 2005).
  • Likewise, these two reviews demonstrate several points of agreement regarding the predictors of staff retention in three broad domains: individual factors (previous work experience, self-perceived competence or efficacy); professional perceptions (job satisfaction, organizational or professional commitment); and organizational factors (reasonable workload, support from supervisors and co-workers, higher salary, and perceptions of a fair, supportive organizational climate) (Barak et al., 2001; Zlotnik et al., 2005). It is interesting to note that several organizational factors associated with the successful transfer of training knowledge to practice, particularly supervisor support, also correspond to improved staff retention (Curry, McCarragher, & Dellmann-Jenkins, 2005).
  • Taken together, these findings on turnover and retention tend to emphasize the importance of the workplace climate, which is defined in terms of the psychological impact of the work environment on the individual worker (e.g., emotional exhaustion, role overload) (Glisson, Dukes, & Green, 2006). Evidence from the child welfare and juvenile justice systems shows that workers experiencing more positive organizational climates not only remain in their jobs longer but also demonstrate better attitudes about work, deliver higher-quality services, and achieve better outcomes for children (Glisson & Hemmelgarn, 1998).
  • 12:15pm Walk the Talk… will come back to this when we talk with our Beacons panelists Those who are supervised well tend to supervise well….
  • This commentary takes readers inside the world of the Beacons, to understand their approach to supervision. In it, we ask and answer the questions: What does good supervision of youth work professionals look like? How can we strengthen supervision in ways that improve practice and reduce turnover? SCREEN – BRING UP ARTICLE ONLINE (PDF) Definition highlight… Ask any youth worker about their first experience working with kids, and there’s a decent chance you’ll hear a “sink or swim” story about arriving on the job, getting assigned a group of youth, and being left to their own devices to work some magic. However recent trends suggest that you are increasingly likely to hear a different kind of story. One characterized by more intentionality, more pre-service orientation, and more on-the-job coaching and support. With the popularity of OST supports growing and concerns about the quality of programs front and center in policy debates1, capacity building must remain a high priority for the field. Supervisors are a logical, cost-efficient target population. They turnover less frequently than frontline staff, they are more likely to be employed full-time, and building their supervision skills should net the additional benefit of developing the frontline staff they work with. Supervision does appear to be getting some well-deserved attention in the field. Several entities have articulated supervisor competencies2, director credentials are being piloted, and professional development strategies that involve coaching and performance assessment are becoming increasingly popular. We are poised to learn a lot in the coming years about how to strengthen on-the-job supports for youth workers in ways that improve practice and reduce turnover. Recent research demonstrating… (p. 2)
  • The importance of effective staff supervision, and in particular, of receiving regular feedback about one’s work was driven home for the Forum in 2005 when we surveyed over 1,100 frontline staff in school and community-based OST programs nationwide. When we compared satisfied youth workers with their dissatisfied peers, only one significant difference emerged in their profiles: satisfied workers were more likely to report getting the feedback they needed to do their job. Recent research demonstrating that a continuous quality improvement strategy can influence manager practices and as a result, improve the instructional practices of staff, underscores the critical role that supervision plays in influencing program quality and ultimately, program outcomes. Though most of us know from our own experience how important supervision can be, not much research in the OST field has shed light on effective supervision or management. And while the importance of organizational leadership is often discussed in OST practice and policy circles, the emphasis is often on things like administration, resource development, advocacy and partnership building rather than supervising and supporting staff. This stems in part from a disconnect, not unique to the OST sector, between administrative and programmatic systems or functions within organizations.
  • 12:20 APRIL to JENNY - Can you describe the Beacons Model? APRIL to JENNY - You and other Minneapolis Beacons staff are quoted in the FYI commentary… how did you get involved, or what is your connection to the Beacons Young Adolescent (BYA) initiative mentioned in the article?
  • 12:25 APRIL to JENNY: What is the Youth Development Institute (YDI)? The FFYI commentary mentions the social group work methodology – how do you incorporate that methodology into your supervision practices with Mpls Beacons?
  • 12:28 Alyson and Hayley--Running effective staff meetings (building "staff communities", the "huddle, modeling, etc.) Overlapping staff meeting that foster communication across and between different levels of staff
  • 12:31 Matt--Designing individual supervision/coaching meetings Regular one-on-one supervisory meetings focused on mentoring and professional development
  • 12:34 Matt--Using staff evaluations as a means of reflection, teaching, and continuous improvement
  • 12:37 Alyson and Hayley--Conducting in-house trainings (and layering the training opportunities to include at the site, org-wide, and Network wide)
  • 12:40 Jenny--Using data to inform programming
  • 12:45 For another demonstration of how these principles and practices are woven into the daily life of Beacons employees, the FFYI article features a section called “A Week in the Life.” From principles to practices. This vignette includes several practices implemented at the Center for Family Life and YMCA Ann Sullivan/ Anishinabe Beacons, as well as many other centers across the country. These practices include: •• Regular one-on-one supervisory meetings focused on mentoring and professional development. •• Overlapping staff meetings that foster communication across and between different levels of staff. •• Observation and feedback based on a consistent youth development rubric. •• Use of the social group work method to guide staff and participant meetings. •• Regularly soliciting staff and participant feedback using youth development principles (e.g., safety, opportunities to contribute) to guide interactions. •• Strong agency commitment to mentoring, developing and retaining staff. Ensuring the implementation of practices like these requires more than a philosophical commitment to quality supervision. High expectations and a clear framework for effective practice are coupled with high levels of support. In some Beacon centers, program directors are expected to devote a full 1.5 days per week specifically to supervision. “ Walking our talk” – make connection to lessons for mentoring program coordinators; walk talk for volunteer mentors as well as staff
  • Our job is to support staff because it’s staff who most directly provide the service (of camp) – giving children enriching experiences that last a lifetime. Unfortunately, organizational charts don’t always make this concept clear because staff get put at the bottom with the “bosses” on top. Actually, the bosses are the foundation, or the floor, on which the staff/mentors stand to directly serve the children.
  • 12:50 We will take questions while I click through slides featuring resources.
  • Quality in Action #6

    1. 1. Quality in Action Shining a Light on Supervision: Lessons from the Beacons July 7, 2010 Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota
    2. 2. Webinar Logistics <ul><li>Asking Questions & Sharing Comments During the Webinar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Raise your hand” & MPM Organizers will unmute you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or, type questions (and comments) in the question/answer section and submit; we will respond directly to you or possibly share your question with all attendees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When unmuted, please monitor your background noise </li></ul></ul>April Riordan , Director of Training and Community Partnerships
    3. 3. “ Howzitgoin?” Super Staff SuperVision: A How-To Handbook of Powerful Techniques to Lead Camp Staff to Be Their Best Michael Brandwein 2002
    4. 4. Overview <ul><li>Mentoring Research </li></ul><ul><li>Shining a Light on Supervision </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons from Beacons </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Strengthening Supervision </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Walking the Talk </li></ul><ul><li>Questions & Resources </li></ul>
    5. 5. Mentoring Research <ul><li>Program Staff in Youth Mentoring Programs: Qualifications, Training and Retention </li></ul>Tom Keller, Ph.D., Portland State University
    6. 6. Program Staff: Keys to Successful Mentoring Mentoring Program Success Staff Qualifications Staff Retention Staff Training
    7. 7. Program practices predictive of stronger positive effects on youth outcomes Structured activities for mentors and youth Ongoing (post-match) training for mentors Clearly established expectations for frequency of mentor-youth contact Using mentors with backgrounds in helping roles or professions Use of community settings for mentoring Procedures for systematic monitoring of program implementation Support for parent involvement
    8. 8. Mentoring Program Staff: <ul><li>Design program models </li></ul><ul><li>Support relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Form relationships with participants </li></ul><ul><li>Model attributes desired in mentors </li></ul><ul><li>Implement program policies and procedures </li></ul>
    9. 9. Parallel Fields <ul><li>Nature of mentoring work  </li></ul><ul><li>Nature of mentoring workforce  </li></ul><ul><li>child welfare workers </li></ul><ul><li>youth development </li></ul>
    10. 10. Many Hats of Mentor Program Staff Direct practice Volunteer managers Case managers
    11. 11. Staff Retention
    12. 12. Predictors of Staff Retention <ul><li>Individual Factors </li></ul><ul><li>Professional Perceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational Factors </li></ul>
    13. 13. Workplace Climate <ul><li>Workers experiencing more </li></ul><ul><li>positive organizational climates: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>remain in jobs longer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>demonstrate better attitudes about work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>deliver higher-quality services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>achieve better outcomes for children </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Implications of Research for Mentoring Programs <ul><li>Likelihood of retaining qualified staff may be enhanced when the culture and climate experienced by employees embodies the stated values of the program </li></ul>
    15. 15. Shining a Light on Supervision <ul><li>There is an important relationship between what managers do , what frontline staff members do , and what children and youth experience in programs </li></ul>
    16. 16. 2005 Forum Survey <ul><li>When we compared satisfied youth workers with their dissatisfied peers, only one significant difference emerged in their profiles: satisfied workers were more likely to report getting the feedback they needed to do their job. </li></ul><ul><li>- Forum for Youth Investment </li></ul>
    17. 17. Beacons Panelists Jenny Wright Collins , Minneapolis Beacons Network Director Alyson Mohan-Lucas , Beacons Center Director for the YMCA of Minneapolis Hayley Tompkins , Beacons Program Director for the YMCA of Minneapolis Matt Kjorstad , School Success Program Executive for the YMCA of Minneapolis
    18. 18. Lessons from the Beacons From a systems point of view, supervisors are the key leverage point for the quality improvements we want to see happen in programs. -Denise Williams, NYC Dept. Youth & Community Development
    19. 19. Strengthening Supervision <ul><li>Running effective staff meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Designing individual supervision meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Using staff evaluations as a means of reflection, teaching, and continuous improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Conducting in-house trainings </li></ul><ul><li>Using data to inform programming </li></ul>
    20. 20. Strengthening Supervision <ul><li>Running effective staff meetings </li></ul>
    21. 21. Strengthening Supervision <ul><li>Designing individual supervision meetings </li></ul>
    22. 22. Strengthening Supervision <ul><li>Using staff evaluations as a means of reflection, teaching, and continuous improvement </li></ul>
    23. 23. Strengthening Supervision <ul><li>Conducting in-house trainings </li></ul>
    24. 24. Strengthening Supervision <ul><li>Using data to inform programming </li></ul>
    25. 25. Walking the Talk <ul><li>“ This is all really about having our staff be connected to the vision. How are we organizing the work with adults in the same way that we want to with young people? The more we model this at the staff level, the more we see it in programs.” </li></ul>Alyson Mohan-Lucas , Beacons Center Director for the YMCA of Minneapolis
    26. 26. Conclusion
    27. 27. Featured Resources <ul><li>Beacons Minneapolis </li></ul><ul><li>Forum for Youth Investment </li></ul><ul><li>High Scope Youth Quality Assessment (YPQA ) </li></ul><ul><li>Extension Center for Youth Development's Youth Work Institute </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality Matters </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Youth Development Institute </li></ul>
    28. 28. Professional Development for Mentoring Program Staff <ul><li>Quality in Action Webinar Series </li></ul><ul><li>MPM Training Institute workshops & events </li></ul><ul><li>Minnesota Mentoring Conference, Oct. 25 </li></ul><ul><li>MENTOR EEP Webinar Series </li></ul><ul><li>Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring </li></ul>
    29. 29. Resources <ul><li>MPM Training www.mpmn.org/traininginstitute </li></ul><ul><li>Web sites & PDFs www.delicious.com/traininginstitute </li></ul><ul><li>This presentation & others www.slideshare.net/traininginstitute </li></ul>
    30. 30. Thank You! <ul><li>Next Quality in Action webinar is August 4, 2010; 12:00 – 1:00 pm CDT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Beyond the Background Check  Features panelist Sarah Kremer from Friends for Youth. </li></ul></ul>