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Staff Welfare Strategies

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Whenever we are asked as Business Owners, Business Managers or Principals questions relating to our staff and their welfare, we state with full conviction that our employees are our most important resources. The reality is that we don’t always treat them as such. With the many and various pressures on schools in conjunction with the fact that schools only operate in full capacity 41 weeks of the year, it is difficult to find the time to adequately invest in our employees at both the Professional Development and personal levels.

Analysis

The average age of the cohort of teachers is increasing year upon year. The baby boomers upon whom the Education Sector has relied upon for decades are rapidly reaching the accepted retirement age, however many may not actually retire.

Many baby boomers are planning to remain in the workforce beyond the age of 65 for various reasons, if for nothing more than a consistent income and a sense of identity. The financial reality for them not wanting to retire is the fact that baby boomers have failed to adequately prepare for the transition from work to retirement.

With advancements in medicine and overall improved health, baby boomers have the opportunity to retire into leisure or follow other personal goals. Having the baby boomers prepare for this transition is dependent on them having investments and cash reserves.

Whatever age they face their inevitable retirements, teachers don’t necessarily have the knowledge, resources or contacts to discuss with objectivity the key issues that will begin to dominate their personal decision making. Whether the decisions include general lifestyle, health or financial options, these will become the essential ingredients to live a positive, happy and fulfilled life in retirement.

If these matters are not satisfactorily addressed, then the working environments within schools and level of education delivery have begun to, or will suffer.

Providing genuine on-going support to your staff on matters that directly affect them will deliver a positive culture within the school and its community

Solutions

The implementation of a holistic Staff Welfare Strategy will lead to a healthier work environment. The key goals of a Staff Welfare Strategy should include the creation of:

  • A positive climate in the workplace
  • Harmonious working relationships that are conducive to effective teaching and learning
  • Implement guidelines to assist in taking the appropriate action to prevent and respond to a serious incident and providing relevant support to staff when a serious incident has occurred
  • Creation of an Employee Assistance Program
  • Managing safety, health and welfare as a means of reducing the risk of employees suffering illness or injury as a result of their work activities and environment

Given that Staff are a schools most important asset who work in a demanding and challenging environment, it is important that schools have in place the structures and processes to support staff.

As such a Staff Welfare Strategy will provide a positive overarching welfare environment. This will see the ongoing management of an employee’s Professional Development work with, and be complimented by, an Employee Assistance Program that will directly assist employees in their personal decision making, thus completing the circle.

The Employee Assistance Program should include topics of discussion that will directly benefit staff members. Examples of such topics include the presentations from industry professionals to staff that on topics that will provide information to improve the general lifestyle, health and fitness and / or financial status of teachers.

In relation to the personal financial matters, an example would be a presentation to staff by industry professionals on the topic of Superannuation and the options available to them. The discussion can include topics such as:

  • Investment Planning
  • Retirement Planning
  • Financial Planning, and Insurance Planning

Encouraging a savings culture, discussing longevity risks and improving teacher’s financial and retirement preparedness as a means of reducing their reliance on the external resources through sound financial assistance is of critical importance.

Results

The implementation of a Staff Welfare Strategy will lead to positive outcomes within the workplace. The benefits of a Staff Welfare Strategy are that they provide and / or create:

  • The delivery of a higher quality teaching to the students
  • A better workplace
  • Attracts and retains the best teachers
  • Improves staff morale
  • Improves teacher / school relations
  • Teachers who are supported are
    • Motivated
    • Fulfilled
    • Healthy, and
    • Take pride in their work
  • Fewer experienced teachers leave through retirement for health reasons
  • Lower levels of Sick Leave
  • Less likelihood of Workcover claims
  • Assists teachers reach and maintain their full