How To Use a Staff Wellbeing Survey To Support a Whole-School Scan
Conducting an Anonymous Staff Wellbeing Survey is the most effective way to pinpoint exactly where your staff stressors lie and which school focuses and wellbeing initiatives will make the biggest difference to their wellbeing.
Before implementing any new initiatives designed to support staff and teacher wellbeing, it’s important that leaders assess their school and gather relevant data to understand how their people are doing at work, uncover any underlying issues, and determine what initiatives may be most helpful for their school. The process of gathering and reviewing multiple sets of data is called a school scan and, one way to collect this data is by running a school-wide anonymous staff wellbeing survey.
The simplest way to understand what teachers and school staff need to support their mental health is to ask them.
A confidential staff survey helps measure and monitor progress and enables a school to focus on the tangible and practical actions they can take to support a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing.
In this article, you’ll discover:
- Why schools should run an anonymous staff wellbeing survey
- Benefits of anonymous staff wellbeing surveys
- How to effectively survey your school
Why Schools Should Run an Anonymous Staff Wellbeing Survey
Anonymous staff wellbeing surveys can help leaders collect valuable feedback which will aid them in creating a Wellbeing Action Plan that directly addresses the needs most reported through the survey.
Schools should carry out wellbeing surveys at least once a year in order to better understand:
- How teachers and school staff are feeling mentally and physically
- What stressors are impacting staff wellbeing
- How staff feel about work practices, engagement, morale and management
- How supported teachers and school staff feel
- Feedback on leaderships processes, models, and approaches to staff wellbeing and mental health
- Any additional support they need for their mental health and wellbeing.
There is plenty of evidence to highlight that teaching staff and education professionals have some of the highest rates of work-related stress, depression, and anxiety in Australia. Research has also found that teacher stress directly impacts children’s learning and whole school outcomes.
One of the key steps I suggest schools complete when considering wellbeing initiatives for their school is a whole school scan of staff wellbeing– a review of multiple sets of data, including observations, surveys, and staff voice.
A confidential staff survey provides great data for your school scan. This survey helps measure and monitor progress and enables a school to focus on the tangible and practical actions they can take to support a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing.
When their wellbeing is a priority, staff feel better equipped to support the wellbeing of the children and young people they work with and build trust and motivation, which is crucial for a well-functioning school setting.
Benefits Of Anonymous Staff Wellbeing Surveys
As discussed, anonymous staff wellbeing surveys provide leaders with important insights that allow them to make better-informed decisions on how to support staff’s wellbeing.
Here are some of the other benefits of using wellbeing surveys at your school:
- Inspire engagement. When you give your staff a voice, they’re more likely to feel engaged when given opportunities to provide feedback and be heard. Involving them in the process of change helps them feel like valued members of a team.
- Provide a big-picture view of your school’s culture. A well-constructed survey can help leaders identify the overall sentiment toward the school’s culture. Additionally, it can help quantify how many of your staff are struggling and how they view the support they currently receive.
- Improve accountability. When staff feel they can share feedback and express their concerns, they’re less likely to build resentment and more likely to hold themselves accountable for communicating when they’re struggling with their leaders.
- Identify stressors impacting staff wellbeing. Uncover which workplace stressors are having the most impact on staff mental health and wellbeing.
- Identify which initiatives staff feel would be most supportive to their wellbeing and school culture. Stop spinning your wheels with scattergun approaches. Pinpoint exactly what approaches and initiatives staff need to improve their wellbeing.
- Boost staff satisfaction and retention rates. In an environment where leaders encourage their staff to provide feedback, there is more likely to be collaboration, trust, and loyalty, meaning staff are more likely to seek solutions than leave.
- Improve school outcomes: Survey data helps leaders make better-informed decisions regarding staff wellbeing initiatives so they can effectively boost morale, influence a change in culture and boost performance outcomes.
How to Effectively Survey Your School
I recommend schools consider using anonymous surveys to ensure staff feel able to respond honestly. Be sure to communicate this clearly to staff and encourage participation. When sharing results, give thought to how you will protect participants’ anonymity. For example, if only a few respondents answer a question in a particular way, you may inadvertently identify individuals when you report this.
Be mindful of timing
Your survey results may vary according to the time of the year. For example, you may choose to survey during reporting when stress levels may be high. Or, asking staff to complete a survey at the end of the school year can allow them to reflect on the successes and challenges while allowing for meaningful change in the next year.
Sharing survey results can be a useful starting point for discussions and action planning. Sharing and discussing findings openly with staff and providing a safe space for reflection can encourage staff contributions in exploring issues and identifying solutions.
Once you’ve shared results, you may wish to think about how to embed the findings in your planning and strategic process. For example, you could include a staff wellbeing goal as part of your annual or strategic operating plans or develop a School Wellbeing Action Plan.
Repeat the survey
Repeating the survey on a regular basis can help schools to track change. I recommend annually, at minimum. You may want to repeat the whole survey or just one or two of the sections. By comparing the results at different time points, schools can monitor whether actions are having the intended impact.
Additional Things to Consider When Conducting a Staff Wellbeing Survey
- Encourage staff and leadership participation when drawing up the survey – what questions would they like to see asked?
- Survey questions should be a mix of multiple-choice, scale (1-4), and open-ended questions.
- Allocate time for staff to complete the survey (i.e., at a scheduled whole school or team meeting). This shows commitment to staff wellbeing and will help maximise response rates.
- Review response rates to measure how well staff are engaging in the process.
- Provide feedback to staff, departments, and/or government. For example, what were the findings from the survey, and what changes have been made in response to the findings?
- Consider how the findings can contribute to your school’s strategic planning processes going forward.
As you’ve learned, staff wellbeing surveys can be a valuable tool for collecting data and feedback regarding the culture and perceived support at your school. They help leaders make better decisions about wellbeing initiatives, and when done regularly, they’re a helpful tool for tracking change and progress over time. Additionally, they provide staff with an opportunity to voice their thoughts and be involved in the process of change.
Survey Your School Staff
Our editable 70 + question Anonymous Staff Wellbeing Survey is grouped into four main sections to provide insights into your staff’s views, opinions, and wellbeing needs. Engage and involve staff in the process of change by giving them an opportunity to share valuable feedback regarding staff wellbeing, burnout risk, school culture, and morale. Uncover the school’s leading workplace stressors and what initiatives staff will find most helpful so you can make better-informed decisions about staff wellbeing and influence school culture and performance.
Purchase and download all you need to capture staff voice and get started on your school’s improvement journey. Choose between two packages:
- DIY Staff Wellbeing Surveys
- Staff Survey + Data Analysis & Recommendations
Anna Freud Institute – Wellbeing Measurement for Schools Staff Survey
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