The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

How to Prepare for Your Role as Facilitator

facilitationskillsFacilitators play a key role in helping teams, groups and departments function effectively. Whether coordinating a task force or compiling key points for a retreat, they are an integral component of how decisions are made and what work gets done.

Because facilitation is a critical component of an HR professional’s skill set, what steps can higher ed HR professionals take to improve their facilitation competencies?

In the recent CUPA-HR webinar “Facilitation Essentials: Build Your Competency and Credibility,” Mary Anne Berzins, assistant vice president for human resources at University of Utah, detailed her guide to preparing for a successful facilitation, starting with a face-to-face meeting with the individual or team requesting the facilitation. During this meeting, you should focus on:

    1. Background Context
      Think of this moment as a coaching opportunity to identify role clarity and context. What led to this facilitation?
    2. Participant Information
      Who are the participants, and what are their interests? Brainstorm individual contributions and group activities in relation to who the participants are.
    3. Success Criteria
      What is the success definition that is expected? If there’s no success definition, what is the minimum that must be achieved to feel this facilitation was beneficial?
    4. Sustainability
      How will the team follow-up? How will they know they’re successful with the outcome of the retreat/meeting/task force?
    5. Accountability
      Who takes what action going forward? What is the timeline?
    6. Follow-up
      What is my (as the facilitator) ongoing connection with the unit or team? Are there things they’d like to see following the facilitation?

By covering these six topics during the preparation portion of facilitation planning, you’ll have a better understanding of what is expected and be able to keep momentum going throughout the process.

The key takeaway: Preparation and a positive mindset can make facilitation less of something to be endured and more about embracing a learning opportunity. To learn more facilitation essentials and how you can build your skill set, see the free, on-demand CUPA-HR webinar “Facilitation Essentials: Build Your Competency and Credibility.”