Staff Wellbeing at Rivers
Alison Ragbourne, Director of People and Communications, discusses employee wellbeing and the procedures in place to support staff wellbeing at the trust.
What is wellbeing at work and why is it important?
Employee wellbeing is central to our People values and People strategy. It is wider than our moral and legal duty of care. We value and appreciate our staff. We are committed to supporting our staff and providing them with the best possible employee experience. Also, we know that if staff are physically and mentally well and motivated, they are in the best position to provide the best possible care and education for our children.
In an ever-changing and complex world, we are all trying to achieve a sensible work-life balance, juggling many commitments in and out of work.
What do Rivers have in place to support staff wellbeing?
We use a very broad definition of wellbeing including the physical, mental, emotional and financial health of our employees. We have a policy on Wellbeing to explain our commitment. Our schools are signed up to the Education wellbeing charter, again pledging our commitment.
We are constantly seeking ways to reduce workload of our teaching and support staff. The embedding of our Rivers curriculum, developing networks across year groups and subject areas and sharing of information and planning supports that. The introduction of a new HR/payroll software system will help office staff, removing duplication and making HR and payroll processes more straightforward.
We have introduced a new CPD programme for TAs. All staff will receive regular wellbeing and development conversations going forward.
We recognise that our employees have lives outside of work, which inevitably impact on their work from time to time. We have a range of ‘family-friendly’ policies to support staff as far as we can, balancing with the wider needs of the school. For example, Flexible Working, Parental leave, Special leave.
Our month-long focus on staff wellbeing ‘March into Wellbeing’, was requested by staff via Employee Voice and staff surveys, and provided staff with an opportunity to try new activities aimed at improving and supporting their physical, mental and financial wellbeing.
The staff STARS awards, recognising the achievements of staff and their commitment to our STARS values, was well received and likely to be a regular feature on our calendar.
What else is the trust looking at to improve staff wellbeing?
We are always looking for new ways to implement flexible working opportunities. As far as we can, taking account of operational needs. We recognise how important that is for staff in helping them manage their work-life commitments most effectively. We have set up a flexible working group to explore opportunities.
The MAT-wide staff wellbeing survey enables us to listen to feedback and continually improve our offer to staff.
How can employees take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing?
Consider their work-life balance and address that as far as they can; create time to prioritise their own physical and mental health. The NHS recommends the following 5 steps to wellbeing:
- Be physically active
- Learn new skills
- Give to others
- Be mindful – in the present moment
There was a range of useful resources collated on the Staff Wellbeing SharePoint for the March into Wellbeing event and they are still available; we would encourage all staff to access them.