YOUR NEXT STEP

Well done! You have been working hard to implement many of the required steps to improve staff wellbeing and school culture. You have already begun the journey of improving wellbeing at your school by reviewing multiple sources of data and formulating a Wellbeing Action Plan in your school setting. You have practices in place to build, strengthen and manage the relationships between staff at your school and have found ways to keep some of your more vulnerable staff coming to work while feeling supported. Read on to learn about how to put more measures in place to further engage your staff in their work.

Positive school outcomes are strongly related to staff engagement.

Without engaged staff, our attempts to introduce and embed new initiatives can be severely compromised. Increased work engagement of staff leads to optimal performance and in turn, improved outcomes for teachers, students, and the community. Building schools where staff want to be and do their best rests on the shoulders of leaders and the structures put in place to motivate and engage their staff.

Meaningful, engaging work not only fuels professional achievements but also contributes to the growth of your school and creates a sense of fulfilment for staff. For work to be meaningful, the goals and vision of the school must be clear or co-constructed. From here, staff should be given ample opportunity to engage with their work in a way that matches their strengths, interests, and working style.

Highly engaged workplaces promote:

Utilisation of Staff Strengths

Bringing awareness to staff strengths and matching them to specific job roles or projects optimises engagement. Studies show that individuals who use their strengths in new ways each day report increased workplace engagement after six months.

Self-direction and autonomy

Empowering employees with the autonomy to make decisions on how, when, and where they do their jobs. This can be accomplished through crafting flexible working hours and personalising workspaces.

Competence

Engaged workplaces are characterised by effective praise and appropriate on-the-job challenges that develop and grow new skills without un-supported and mismatched challenges. Some examples include meaningful and personalised recognition, opportunities to learn, mentoring and coaching opportunities, time to innovate and to explore without fear of making mistakes.

Community

Fostering high-quality relationships ensures staff can feel like they are a part of a community. Reviews of organisational job satisfaction data show that workplace friendships are a strong predictor of job satisfaction. Being a part of a cohesive and supportive team satisfies not only individual needs for belonging, but also organisational needs for greater collaboration (Friedman, 2015).

Step 1: Create clear goals and give timely feedback and recognition of achievements

Providing clear goals for both the school as a whole and individual teams limits the occupational stress that is caused by ambiguity. Clear goals also enable the flow and engagement with tasks.

Many companies today are doing away with annual performance reviews in favour of ongoing year-round immediate feedback that can be initiated by employees as well as their managers.

Ways to do this include:

  • Create opportunities to set and create goals with staff
  • Use annual or monthly professional goal setting times to your advantage
  • Encourage teams to set goals to improve wellbeing as well as improving teacher practice.

Step 2: Assess, review and develop the strengths and professional skills of staff

There are a number of resources for assessing and developing one’s strengths and assessments like the VIA Strengths Survey.

Ways to do this include:

  • Suggest teams complete this free assessment to identify their character strengths
  • Discuss as a team or with their team leader to find self-awareness and awareness of others
  • Capture and collate your teams strengths to begin working with them.
Adrienne Hornby talking to client and smiling

Step 3: Ensure clarity with job and roles

Ways to do this include:

  • Ensure employees have an up-to-date job description that includes role purpose and key duties expected of them. Have a clear process and time frame to resolve any uncertainty
  • Encourage autonomy/self-direction in roles where appropriate. This could include supporting staff to determine their specialties, leadership opportunities, how their work is organised or how problems are tackled
  • Offer opportunities for employees to provide feedback regarding their role, such as performance reviews, team meetings, or supervision sessions
  • Offer relevant professional development and training that aligns with the school direction. Remember, sometimes it can be wise to keep your focus narrow to avoid overwhelming your staff.

Step 4: Create a mentoring, coaching, and peer feedback model

Ways to do this include:

Recognition and coaching are equally effective in motivating and supporting employee engagement and can be done via peer-to-peer programs. Csíkszentmihályi (the godfather of workplace engagement) proposed that more work activities should be designed to produce immediate feedback.

  • Offer opportunities for staff to observe one another based on self-identified goals and provide positive feedback and suggestions
  • Explore The AITSL Coaching Toolkit for establishing a rich coaching and mentoring model and program at your school. Utilise learning walks, peer feedback, and formal coaching opportunities.
  • Encourage pre-service teacher programs and mentoring to develop community, purpose, and skill-building for all staff.

FREE CONSULTATION

Would you like support to improve your schools culture?

Book in a FREE school culture assessment consultation and identify and plan your next steps to improved staff health and wellbeing in your school.

In this appointment, you will have the opportunity to discuss your school's concerns, goals and your next strategic steps towards a more positive school culture.

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