Leadership: Staff Well-Being
Staff well-being is more of a focus than ever under the new Education Inspection Framework. Annette Rawstrone from Nursery World reports. See the full article published in Nursery World magazine here ( May 5th 2020)
Read the excerpt from Linda Baston-Pitt, PurpleBee Learning below:
Staff well-being in the pandemic
The pandemic is an excellent opportunity for staff to feel part of a bigger effort and have their contribution recognised. Linda Baston-Pitt, chief executive of Purple Bee Learning and co-founder of the PANCo qualification, which provides early years health and well-being training, says, ‘When staff enjoy coming to work and feel that their contributions are recognised, so their level of motivation and engagement rises. Research suggests that flourishing and engagement go together, so if you want to attract and retain staff, your well-being strategy should create the conditions for people to flourish as well as providing support for those who are struggling.’
During the pandemic, she says the ‘most important thing’ is to be open and maintain a constant flow of communication with everyone, including those who are furloughed. She also advises:
- Maintain a level of continuity as you would do normally within the nursery by providing individual support.
- Check in on team members regularly by planning meetings in the setting if appropriate or by telephone or internet conferencing.
- Don’t shy away from difficult conversations and ask open questions that focus on well-being, for example: ‘How are they adapting to the change?’, ‘What plans do they have?’
- Keep a record of how staff feel and build the support they need around this.
- Create a bank of useful information and guidance that you can draw on and signpost staff to.
- Encourage staff to share with their colleagues via closed groups such as Facebook or Whatsapp.
Advice for leaders
- Well-being is a very broad concept which can include how satisfied people are with their life, how much control they feel and their sense of purpose, so staff need to know what is expected of them and feel valued.
- Anxiety, stress and depression can be caused by a mixture of work and home pressures, including workload, sudden change, relationship problems, health and financial worries, so a supportive leader needs to focus on both work and home life.
- Be aware that many people still feel a stigma associated with mental health which may prevent them from talking about their problems for fear of discrimination.
- Develop positive relationships by valuing difference and diversity and actively encouraging and listening to different perspectives.