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ARCHIVES Home

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ARCHIVES  July 2006, Week 3

ARCHIVES July 2006, Week 3

Subject:

Final summary on staff morale (long)

From:

Laura Ruttum <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Laura Ruttum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 19 Jul 2006 11:30:01 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (112 lines)

Listers,
 
Thanks to all of you who provided anecdotes, advice and general musings on 
the topic of non-monetary means of improving staff morale. I was tickled by 
the creativity of some of the ideas, and amazed at the outpouring of 
emails. It seems this is a topic close to many of our hearts, and certainly 
a concern germane to the archives/libraries field as a whole. 
 
The answers I received ran the gamut from general management skills 
to "silly" perks, and are summarized below. Overall, the consensus was that 
any sort of official recognition or rewards are only a supplement to what 
should be a supportive, professional, trusting and respectful environment. 
Morale-boosting programs should be sincere, consistent in practice, and not 
applied in a broad stroke of one-size-fits-all. Finally, a succesful 
program would avoid becoming overly bureaucratic.

Now, for the summary of ideas:
 
Professional Development:
--Hold staff brainstorm sessions on special projects--utilize and develop 
their particular specialties and strengths
--Assist in creating publishing opportunities, as well as opportunities to 
present lectures, workshops and classes
--Provide support (monetary and time off) for attendance at conferences, 
workshops and classes
--Organize staff inservices and ongoing on-site training
 

Work Environment:
--Allow for staff autonomy, while also providing occasional "treat" 
projects or collections based on the employee's interests
--Encourage teamwork and give public credit where credit is due
--"public praise, private criticism"
--Ensure your staff have appropriate equipment and space for their work
--Allow for flextime or time off in exchange for special achievements


Communication:
--Remember to say "Thank you" often!
--Create a monthly newsletter that highlights institutional news, staff 
news and achievements, upcoming developments and events, and positive 
feedback from patrons or co-workers
--Include staff presentations in monthly meetings. Possible formats 
include "progress reports" from all staff as to what projects they are 
working on, and interesting items they have come across in their work. 
Include staff from other departments, requesting they explain their duties 
and how these fit with your efforts.
--Meetings in general: keep them to a minimum, have an agenda and stick to 
it
--Clearly delineate workers' duties, in writing
--Have an annual exhibit on staff, including the works of 
artists/writers/other creatives in your institution. 
 

Social events:
--Organize weekly afternoon teas. Consider inviting researchers as well.
--Hold (optional) annual retreats. Possible ideas: tours of neighboring 
libraries/archives, visits to museums, "fieldtrips" to institutions related 
to collections being processed.
--Monthly birthday parties focused on the staff born in that month.
--Potlucks (optional participation), including International cuisine day 
potlucks
--CAKE!!!
--Pizza parties, chocolate parties, Friday afternoon sherry hour, weekly 
breakfasts, bagel day
--Summer picnics, Holiday parties, institutional anniversary parties
--Arrange for a staff book club
--Place games (darts, board games) in the staff lunchroom
--Organize special fun classes for staff: t'ai chi, yoga
--Invite staff to come to a monthly lunchtime film screening in the staff 
room


Recognition/Rewards:
--charity donations in honor of staff
--career service rewards for retirees
--Put together a "stars" program, including small gifts, gift cards, or a 
meal for the honorees
--Send flowers for special events (life events, etc.), or place flowers in 
a public area for the entire department to appreciate
--Send cards for birthdays or the employees' annual anniversaries with the 
institution
--Install a thank-you box, into which staff may put forms praising co-
workers for going the extra mile. Hold a drawing from this box at your 
monthly staff meeting, and offer some small reward for the winner. 
Distribute the thank you's to the rest of the staff receipiants.
--Create a staff recognition wall on which you post positive feedback sent 
by researchers
--Bring small souvenirs from your travels to share with colleagues


Thanks again for all of your responses!


Laura Ruttum
Manuscripts Specialist,
Manuscripts and Archives Division
New York Public Library
[log in to unmask]

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