Why improve staff wellbeing?
It is morally right to create an environment where staff can do their best work and enjoy themselves each day. It’s also a legal requirement to manage the risks associated with workplace stress.
Beyond this and importantly there is clear evidence that improving self-reported staff wellbeing raises school outcomes*. You can expect better results, improved staff retention, lower staff absences and reduced costs.
What should we mean when we talk about staff wellbeing?
It is that part of a staff member’s overall wellbeing that they perceive to be determined primarily by work. It also has to be capable of being influenced by workplace interventions.
It includes workload, which is often what is talked about most, though it covers much more.
There are six key areas that have been identified by the Health and Safety Executive as the biggest causes of work place stress. These are:
- Demands (workload, deadlines, working hours…)
- Control (the say staff have over what and how they work)
- Support (from school, resources, line managers, senior leaders and colleagues)
- Relationships (how well behaviours are managed in school)
- Role (staff know what is expected of them and how this fits with their department and aims of the school…)
- Change (and how it is managed)
It is also about the role that line managers play
“The thing that is causing people to get ill at work and adversely affect their quality of working life is line managers who are not socially and interpersonally skilled. They don’t have the soft skills that are needed.”
These are the words of Professor Sir Cary Cooper, one of the UKs foremost experts on workplace wellbeing.
Improving staff wellbeing is predominantly about your leaders and line managers’ behaviour and how well the risks of workplace stress are managed. Schools do support leaders with professional development and many have taken steps to reduce workload. So why aren’t we seeing greater and significant improvements?
Tackle causes not symptoms
It’s all about culture.
Like building a house you need to focus on strong foundations. These are the behaviour of leaders and the processes that support highly effective leadership.
Free fruit, yoga and health initiatives are all helpful, yet not the place to start or focus. They can be added later.
As can training on mindfulness or resilience, as these won’t make a difference unless the foundations for good wellbeing are already in place.
They are all part of the first or second floor.
Where should I start?
Identify where you are now. Existing data and staff feedback will provide strong clues as to areas for focus and using an effective questionnaire will ensure you have the full picture.
This is also the advice from the National Foundation for Educational Research, who recommend you monitor the satisfaction and engagement of staff through surveys and the effectiveness of your line managers.
Yet we provide so much more than a questionnaire.
What if you could run a questionnaire that:
- Provides scores against the six key areas known to cause workplace stress
- Benchmarks your scores against schools and cross sector organisations
- Highlights things to celebrate and suggests where you should focus
- Provides you with priority actions for each area and your top three actions overall
- Gives you evidence for the new Ofsted Leadership and Management judgement for English schools (and great evidence for all UK school inspectorates, as well as making a real difference for your staff).
And gives support that allows you to quickly take the actions and put them into your school development plan and evaluate impact through your usual school processes.
It’s one of the ways we help make staff wellbeing easier and it won’t cost you an arm or leg.
You will need to make an investment starting at just £247 + VAT depending on your pupil or student numbers.
We also make it easier by helping you measure your line managers against those competencies proven to prevent and reduce staff stress – a different questionnaire and we can support with training for senior and middle leaders too.
If you are interested in making staff wellbeing easier then get in touch to find out how we can help.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Or call 01277 554001
*Staff Wellbeing is Key to School Success - Birkbeck College, University of London and Worklife Support in a major study in schools. There have also been a number of reports demonstrating a strong causal link between staff wellbeing and financial and health related outcomes in the Health Service (which we can share).
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.