Federal, state and local governments employ almost 22 million people. These staffers bring a wide array of skills and strengths to the table—some more crucial to the job than others. Whether you want to develop current employees or recruit new ones, you’ll want to look for skills all government employees can benefit from.
Government employee training can help instill these skills
Good listening: Good listening involves more than just hearing the other side of the conversation. It involves actively participating in it, also known as active listening. Active listening has three parts: paraphrasing, inquiry and acknowledgment. Listeners can demonstrate active listening by taking notes, asking questions and summarizing what they heard.
Practice active listening at your next training session with a simple “draw-what-you-hear exercise.” Pair employees and ask them to sit back-to-back. Give one employee an abstract drawing and the second employee a pencil and paper. The second employee must draw the picture using only verbal direction provided by the first employee. The exercise takes about three minutes—questions are allowed only during the final minute. End the exercise by discussing the effect that last minute of active listening had on the accuracy of the drawing. Add an element of fun with rewards for best duplications— googly-eyed pens, microfiber screen cleaners or MopTopper Stylus Pens are fun choices.
Stress management: Public-sector jobs can be stressful. Teaching proper stress management can help employees relieve some of the pressure before it builds. Journaling, coloring or practicing deep breathing, yoga or meditation can provide great stress relief. Several guided sessions can be found with a simple YouTube® search. Imprint URLs to your favorites on adult coloring books or journals and provide them to employees at your next government employee training.
Teamwork: Like other industries, many government job activities are team-based and cross-departmental, making teamwork and the ability to collaborate a necessity. Incorporate team-building into training with office trivia contests, “Minute to Win It” games or onsite scavenger hunts. These activities not only help to build strong teams, but they can be used as icebreakers during government employee training. Prizes make everything more fun, so be sure to recognize winning teams with rewards, such as logo’d cell phone wallets or ear buds.
Open-mindedness: As the saying goes, “Minds are like parachutes; they only function when open.” Open-mindedness is especially important in the public sector where employees work with team and community members from all walks of life. Being open to varying opinions, ideas and beliefs can benefit your employees and improve their work. Tolerance and respect for others should be an integral part of training for government employees.
Problem-solving: Employees who bring solutions to the table—rather than problems—are a great asset. Create a culture where problem-solving is encouraged and even rewarded. You may want to hold brainstorming sessions that include identifying problem sources and exploring recommendations.
Whether you’re looking to improve your existing staff or onboard new team members, incorporating the five skills of good listening, stress management, teamwork, open-mindedness and problem-solving into training for government employees will set them up for long-term success.
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