3 Reasons Your School Will Benefit from a Staff Survey Posted on 19 April 2021 by Natasha Godden, Kent-Teach in Wellbeing Giving educational staff a voice, involves schools providing opportunities for individuals to openly communicate their views. Staff should have a direct influence on policies and matters that impact them at work. Encouraging your staff to share their thoughts has benefits for both the school and the individual. From an individual’s perspective it helps promote social wellbeing and a sense of inclusion. Staff who feel engaged and able to influence their working environment, feel empowered. This leads to increased motivation and productivity. From a school’s perspective communication between Senior Leadership Teams (SLT) and their staff can lead to innovation, improved decision making and a culture where staff are confident to challenge, modify, and enrich their classrooms.It is also worth recognising that poor engagement can be costly to your school and can impact your staff retention levels. Research from the Gallup Organisation, highlights that there is a ‘48% greater likelihood that people with low engagement and wellbeing will leave a company’. On the back of worsening teacher retention statistics which saw the five year teacher retention rate drop to 67.7%, (Department for Education data), it is crucial that schools actively listen and engage with their staff.Benefits of a Staff Survey:1) A Staff Survey Identifies Gaps in PerceptionTo successfully deliver sustained, measurable, positive change within your school you first need to understand the position you are starting from. For many schools there may be a gap between how you think you are supporting staff and the level of support staff perceive they receive. This gap in perception can be created for several reasons. It could be because of poor communication or signposting of services and it can also arise because the support available doesn’t match the needs of your staff. The key is to not make any assumptions. A staff survey can establish a baseline for your school that identifies a true and honest reflection of what your staff think about how they are supported in the workplace and will help you identify areas of development.2) Transparency is Vital to Build TrustWhen you engage with your staff and ask for feedback, it is critical that you share with them the results. Communicating your findings with staff helps create a culture of openness and transparency. In a survey from Hubspot, 50% (of respondents) said that leaders sharing information and data had a significantly positive impact on productivity and motivation.As well as openly discussing the findings you also need to communicate the actions you will be taking and document these in your School Improvement Plan or Wellbeing Action Plan.A good staff survey should provide you with baseline analytics that measure staff wellbeing in your school. Performance indicators could include;Staff absence levels and associated costsStaff ratings in mental, physical, social, and financial wellbeingThe presence of certain policies and proceduresThese indicators act as a baseline and a starting point to measure the success of any change or initiative you put in place. Regularly review the difference you are making to these metrics and every 12 months or after a major change, run your staff survey again to assess how staff are feeling.3) Create a Survey That Goes Beyond Job SpecificsTo be happy and productive in our roles we need to consider staff wellbeing as a ‘whole self’ approach. In a TEDx talk Mike Robbin’s explored the concept of ‘Bringing Your Whole Self To Work’ and stated:‘For us to thrive professionally, especially in today’s world, we must be willing to bring our whole selves to the work that we do. And, for the groups, teams, and organisations that we’re a part of to truly succeed, it’s essential to create an environment where people feel safe to bring all of who they are to work. ‘By asking questions in your staff survey that go beyond role specific questions, schools can identify areas to support their staffs’ ‘whole self’. A good approach is to consider the four pillars of Wellness and ask questions relating to individual’s Mental, Physical, Financial and Social wellbeing. Each pillar is important, but all pillars are intrinsically link to one another. If one pillar falls down, so do the others. By adopting a whole self-approach to your survey staff feel able to communicate and share opinions on all aspects that are affecting them, and this leads to an increased connection with the workplace as well as improved wellbeing.Should you need some support in carrying out and creating a staff survey please speak to your Kent-Teach Wellbeing and Retention Advisors. They have a comprehensive staff survey available and used within Schools. For more information, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or 03000 410203.If you are interested in wellbeing initiatives to support your staff wellbeing why not read a recent case study from a Kent-Teach customer – Thamesview School.