Fun and Learning Combined at College of Health Sciences’ Workshop
The College of Health Sciences’ (CHS) Communications Workshop provided fun and games for participants but also useful information about the role of effective communication in teamwork and collegiality.
Facilitated by the international service provider for organisational training and development, Synergistic Outcomes, the workshop united College management and staff who participated in all-day activities including a fun-filled giant inflatable obstacle course as well as the challenging hula hoop communication loop.
The College recognised that in order to contribute to the University achieving its goals as outlined within the strategic plan of the Institution, it depended largely on contributions of all staff and students being made as individuals as well as members of the teams in which they operated.
To this end, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College, Professor Rob Slow, supported a multi-pronged approach to communication saying it would promote ‘consultation, participation, shared understanding, and commitment’.
Mr Brett Ellis of Synergistic Outcomes said communication was often found to be the main barrier to success for many organisations internationally so it was important for the CHS to recognise this obstacle.
Tackling communication challenges was critical and this was emphasised by inspirational speaker on the day, Mr Eddie Botes.
UKZN’s Academic Leader for Dentistry, Dr Shenuka Singh, said: ‘We pay lip service to the team approach but still work in silos.’
Singh said the workshop was an important part of reminding an individual about teamwork in service delivery.
Participants agreed that teamwork and a professional attitude towards communication would promote College citizenship.
The Director for College Professional Services, Professor Fanie Botha, reminded participants that the common objective of the strategic communications plan was to improve and optimise communication between all College staff, students, external stakeholders as well as the wider community within which the CHS functioned.
‘The new framework is envisaged to optimise all levels of communication (verbal, written and online) in the CHS while increasing freedom of participation, recognition of contribution, respect for differences of opinion, and rejecting discrimination. It also allows for the use of various forums to communicate policy, strategy and logistics in addition to assisting staff to improve and develop communication skills in the form of workshops and follow-up activities,’ said Botha.
Ms Zinhle Nzaji of the University’s Human Resources Division (HRD) said the Division supported the CHS Communications Workshop because the Multi-Faceted Strategic Communication’s Framework encouraged College staff to live out the values of respect, excellence, accountability, client orientation and honesty (R.E.A.C.H). Nzaji said communications workshops were an excellent channel to remind everyone of the University’s strategic direction as it provided a platform for staff to achieve its vision through teamwork.
The College website (www.chs.ukzn.ac.za) is active and in addition to ask.fm/UKZNCHS, staff members can now “Like” and join the already popular CHS Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ukznHealthSciences) and its buzzing Twitter account (https://twitter.com/UKZNCHS) which will keep the College community abreast with trending news and developments.
- Lunga Memela