And how best to do it?
There is compelling evidence that staff wellbeing strongly correlates with improved exam, financial and health outcomes in schools (you can see more about the evidence here).
Improving it means more engaged and healthy staff, lower absence, higher staff retention, improved student outcomes and a reduction in your costs.
If you are going to improve staff wellbeing and through this student outcomes, then below are three reasons why you should measure it.
- Staff workload is clearly a big risk, yet not necessarily the biggest or only one, so measuring allows you to identify your specific school challenges. This means you can take relevant action, include it in your school development plan and ensure it is just part of what you do each day, rather than an add-on.
- It creates a base line from which you can review progress; and
- You can use it to engage staff and create a common language and shared responsibility for action.
If you decide that measuring wellbeing is important for you, where might you start?
Start with your school data. This should include; absence and attendance figures, staff turnover, exit interviews, teacher performance, student behaviour, staff disputes or grievances and student outcomes. Each of these and the trends they show over time will give clues to what might be happening. Turning this data into a readily accessible and easy to use dashboard will allow you to quickly identify possible issues early and take the necessary action.
The other common means of measuring wellbeing and staff engagement is through using a questionnaire. There are two very important considerations; which questionnaire to use, and should you do it yourself or use a third party?
Which questionnaire to use?
The first thing to consider is whether to use an existing questionnaire or to create your own. There are two major challenges to creating your own.
The first is that without validation and reliability, you cannot be sure the questionnaire is measuring what you want. It is only through research and testing that you can be confident in the results
The second is that you also cannot be confident in what the scores mean. Most evidence backed questionnaires come with a guide to the scoring and benchmarks, meaning it’s much easier to interpret your score and focus in the right areas.
If you do want to make a change to a recognised questionnaire or are thinking about running one for the first time, there are not that many to choose from. Examples include The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS), The NUT Staff Wellbeing Ready Reckoner and The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Indicator Tool.
We use the last of these with the schools we work with as it comes with a significant evidence base and benchmarks and focuses on things that can be addressed by school leaders.
Should you run the questionnaire yourself or hire a company to do it for you?
If you run it yourself, you can set it up on-line, for example using survey monkey or similar, or use it as a paper-based questionnaire. There is no charge for its use, and the costs will relate to the staff time needed to set it up, run it, and create the results. You will need to interpret these and decide on action.
Using a third party means this is done for you, and reports can be filtered, for example by teaching and non-teaching staff, and in the case of a MAT, by the Trust and each school. Participation must be anonymous and using a third party can take away the unfounded fear that individual results are seen locally. They will also advise on how to ensure you get the best possible take up.
The most important part of running a questionnaire is the action you take once the results are delivered. Using a third party can also help with this and make sure they are able to share their expertise and guide you towards priorities that will have the biggest impact.
It can also be surprisingly affordable.
Finally, you can also measure staff wellbeing through individual staff and group discussions. Regular meetings over time will provide invaluable feedback and help you to continually improve your performance.
Introducing the Acceleration Academy
Are you interested in:
- A fast track process that helps line managers put staff first and raises student outcomes?
- An evidence backed way to measure staff wellbeing and focus on those things that have the biggest impact in your school?
- Supporting line managers so they understand those behaviours and competencies that have been proven to reduce staff stress and improve their wellbeing and performance?
- Reducing costs and spending more of your stretched budget on the things that matter to you?
Answering yes means the Acceleration Academy is for you. It’s an on-line platform with wellbeing measurement and a growing resource base, designed to make it easier for schools and Trusts to tackle this important area.
You can find out more, register for a free account or invest in an affordable solution.