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Leadership webinar: employee engagement through workplace wellbeing (video and webchat)

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by AndrewFIS, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    With morale in schools at an all-time low, how can school leaders help their staff to thrive in their work?

    As part of the TES Leadership webinar series, I’ll be putting your questions to Howard Jackson, the founder of HCSS Education, part of Access Group.

    We will examine how schools can support and motivate their staff.

    Post your questions below now - and, if you can, join in our live webchat on March 28 at 4.30pm.

    Before that, you can watch a video we’ve made in which Howard and I discuss the issues, with key advice for school leaders.

    1920x1080-leadership-video-still-v2.jpg

    To access all the videos in the TES Leadership series, plus an exclusive database of grants available to schools, become a TES Leadership subscriber.
     
  2. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Hi,

    Don't forget to submit your questions below ahead of next Tuesday's webchat.

    Thank you.
     
  3. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Good afternoon and welcome to today’s webchat.

    The TES Leadership webchats give you the opportunity to put your questions to industry experts about key school management and operational issues.

    Andrew and this week's guest, Howard Jackson, the founder of HCSS Education, part of Access Group, will be available for the next hour to answer your questions.

    If you have any questions please submit them below. Don't worry if we run out of time, any unanswered questions will be responded to and posted on this thread later this week.



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    Hello and welcome to this webchat on employee engagement and workplace wellbeing. Joining me is Howard Jackson, who is founder of HCSS Education, part of Access Group. For those of you following this thread, please feel free to post your query. Remember to refresh your page to see the updates as they appear.

    Thanks for joining us, Howard.

    Firstly, morale in schools appears to be at an all-time low. What can a new school leader do to raise it?
     
  4. Howard_Jackson

    Howard_Jackson New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    There is no doubt in my mind that high levels of morale are linked to high levels of positivity. The first thing that school leaders can do is ensure that their environment is a positive place to work and learn in. Leaders need to be genuine and care for people and that has to be a natural thing that all school staff can relate to. That doesn’t mean that they are soft because school staff look for leaders to also make tough decisions if it is in the best interests of the school. We need to raise the status of teaching so that the whole country appreciates the massive value that they are bringing to our future development and prosperity as a nation. School leaders need to ensure that all the staff are involved in the strategy and vision of what they are trying to achieve. Leaders need to ensure that staff feel that they have ownership of their objectives as I believe that nobody delivers their best when trying to achieve someone else’s objective.
     
  5. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    If morale remains low, how should the governing body respond? Sack the new school leader?
     
  6. Howard_Jackson

    Howard_Jackson New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Clearly a new school leader needs to feel that they are getting support from the governing body and a new school leader also needs to be given time to turn around what he/she may have inherited. Positivity and morale needs to start at governing body level, as a school leader will find it difficult to impose strategies to improve morale without the full support of the governing body. The role of the governing body is to be supportive and challenging but they must leave it up to the professionals to manage the school. Having said that, clearly if a school leader is leading a school with poor morale, lots of negativity and therefore potentially underperforming pupils, then the governing body has to take what they feel is the appropriate action. The pupils only have one chance, we absolutely need to get it right.
     
  7. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    What are the clues that reveal that a particular school is not a happy place to work in?
     
  8. Howard_Jackson

    Howard_Jackson New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    There are a number of triggers that would give you an indication that the school is not a happy place to work, such as high levels of sickness, high levels of absenteeism in general, teachers not prepared to go over and above their contracted working hours, extracurricular activities are less frequent than expected, high turnover of staff, significant supply teacher costs, difficulty in recruiting staff. All these to me would indicate that this is not a great place to work. A small percentage of staff turnover is healthy, fresh blood/fresh ideas etc. but a high turnover of staff makes it difficult to deliver a consistently high education with any level of stability.
     
  9. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    What are the hallmarks of a school that exemplifies "workplace wellbeing"?
     
  10. Howard_Jackson

    Howard_Jackson New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    The positive attitude that you walk into when you arrive at a school where workplace wellbeing is important is almost tangible, even from the first point of contact with the receptionist that makes you feel welcome. Wellbeing manifests itself in highly motivated and happy staff which has an impact on students receiving inspirational lessons, other examples are low turnover of staff and low absenteeism, school teachers and all staff in general are happy to promote the school at outside events. Leaders who demand high standards, who genuinely care about their people and understand the link between their staff being happy and the impact it has on teaching and learning run the most successful schools.
     
  11. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    And how does this lead to employee engagement? Or is it the other way round?
     
  12. Howard_Jackson

    Howard_Jackson New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    I don’t believe that one is more important than the other or that achieving either happens in a particular order, both have to happen simultaneously. If you really care about workplace wellbeing as a leader, you should ensure you have high levels of employee engagement and as a leader you show appreciation to people’s efforts on a regular basis. A big element of engagement is trust - you give people a job to do and you trust them to do it. Employee engagement is not about micro management. Being trusted leads to feelings of wellbeing.
     
  13. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Is there training that can support this -- or is it more of a state of mind?
     
  14. Howard_Jackson

    Howard_Jackson New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    I believe that the majority is a state of mind but there is no doubt that additional training can support it. Training can certainly help people to learn new skills on how, in practical terms, to engage people. For example there are practical tools to improve engagement such as KISS analysis - Keep Improve Start Stop - a way of getting everyone in the school involved in future strategy by brainstorming on those 4 aspects. This is a great exercise to use on one of the INSET days.

    Sharing the school's vision and objectives in a whole school training event can be very effective and when schools spend relatively large amounts on staff away events, I believe at times this can represent outstanding value for money as team work and staff morale are critical when running an organisation. Sometimes leaders are criticised for spending public money on events attended by all staff, which on the face of it seems like a jolly, but the impact of these events can be tenfold in terms of morale and motivation for teachers to deliver inspirational learning.
     
  15. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    With numerous initiatives issued from the DfE, some of which are subsequently abandoned, it can be very easy for cynicism in schools to set in. How can school leaders shield their staff from this cycle?
     
  16. Howard_Jackson

    Howard_Jackson New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Having been a school leader myself, I can fully appreciate how cynicism in schools can set in due to the constant changing in policy and new initiatives. The problem that all these changes bring is that schools are only just getting to grips with the change in policy when a new initiative comes along and schools have to almost start again. To me there has to be a greater period of stability for schools to really embed strategy and ensure that an initiative is effective. The difficulty with schools having to change direction on a regular basis is that they do become cynical and less likely to introduce something with total commitment knowing that another initiative may just be around the corner, this also shows to schools that the DfE were not that committed to it in the first place. School leaders have to feel confident that any changes are an improvement on the current system and not just further interference. Leaders are not opposed to change in any way especially if the change will have a positive impact, in fact great leaders embrace change as long as they believe it is for the better.
     
  17. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Does government consult school practitioners enough when setting its policies?
     
  18. Howard_Jackson

    Howard_Jackson New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    I don’t believe that government does consult school practitioners enough when setting policies, although I also accept that this is a very difficult thing to do. The problem with consulting more is that it extends considerably the time frame for policy introduction – although this may be a good thing as there is greater input from schools. In my opinion this is one of the great strengths of the academy movement where best practice in schools can be replicated across all the schools in a MAT, this was very difficult to do at local authority level as many of them have huge numbers of schools to support.
     
  19. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    What are the hallmarks of a good teacher that translates into being a good leader?
     
  20. Howard_Jackson

    Howard_Jackson New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    There are a number of hallmarks that make a good teacher: self-motivated, really caring, great communicator, very positive, inspires pupils to learn. These skills translate when a teacher becomes a leader, managing a large number of staff in their school. You know from your own experience which teachers inspired you to learn and which ones didn’t and in that respect nothing’s changed. I think another hallmark of leadership is charisma, I think being a charismatic person and carrying people with you is very important.
     

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