Staff wellbeing can be blurry in terms of boundaries and grey lines. What can I say? What is my responsibility and what is theirs? Is this our problem? I don’t know how to help? Staff wellbeing looks different wherever you go there are different initiatives, approaches and thoughts but, what is important that you relate whatever you do or say in your organization or school to your context and that is related to your community and their needs.
Relationships are the foundations of any successful business or educational setting. People need to feel wanted and listened to, alongside safety and security to flourish. You cannot go into this journey thinking you can help everyone and fix everything because you can’t, but you must notice. Being aware and intuitive into your staff and community needs is the start. Listen, reflect and then respond. It doesn’t need to be something tangible all the time, but again notice what is going on and act on what you can.
During these complex and challenging times of COVID-19 wellbeing has formed a new identity and even meaning in some cases. Ensure you know what it means in your community by bringing staff on board to be part of the wellbeing development of the community. It must be in the culture and this takes times to grow, evolve and develop. Even those who were cynical about this word and concept flying around have turned to this not just in education establishments but, corporate organizations- it matters. It is no longer just for those who ‘believe in it’ or for those who are struggling it is part of who we are we and it must be thought about and represented throughout any organization. Wellbeing at times has been an add on or something that needs financial support (if schools are lucky enough) but, the three steps below do not require anything but the following:
- Reach out- offer support even just a listening ear or a coffee and catch up. Reaching out and offering support is the first step that shows someone cares, someone is listening, and someone matters!
- Connect- build relationships and try to understand the bigger picture without compromising your role or responsibilities. Be confidential where possible and ensure you build this relationship over time to gain trust and loyalty. This will not happen overnight.
- Remember- do not just support, help or assist once. Ensure you follow up and remember the conversations you have had in the past. That person will feel appreciated, valued and cared for.
Staff wellbeing is not a tick box approach it evolves and changes hourly, daily, weekly. This is about human emotion and social connection which is not always prescribed or set in stone- there is no rule book. Adaptability plays a huge part in this and the ability to be open, honest and reflective. Using the three steps Reach, Connect and Remember as a starting point can at least build relationships and ignite conversation to where your staff wellbeing journey can go and how it can be developed. It is important to note it is not about saying yes to everything either. There must be a balance with supporting someone’s wellbeing journey than trying to manage it- it doesn’t work like that and that is not feasible. There must be responsibility by the staff member to take control of their own wellbeing, but their working environment and how you support that is your problem and that is what I urge managers and leaders to take control on and make a change in their schools for the whole community.
As we all know happy teachers’ happy pupils.