In a survey of 2,226 employees conducted by professional body CIPD last year, it was found that just 39% of staff were engaged with their work and 3% were actively disengaged. As part of their research, they measured factors such as employees’ satisfaction with their line manager, relationships with colleagues and alignment with their company’s purpose.

Creating the right conditions for staff to be able to work to the best of their ability is so important; this was reaffirmed by researchers at Kingston University who found that engaged workers perform better than non-engaged staff, take less sick days and are less likely to leave their employer.

With this in mind, we’ve come up with 7 steps you can take to create a fulfilling culture at your nursery, making it a great place to work.

Step 1 – Encourage strategic thinking

Create an environment which allows employees to set aside time to focus on long-term projects which will stretch them beyond their normal day-to-day role and also help the business. Ideally, staff would be given a designated amount of time each week to research their ideas and eventually present them back to their line manager. This is an invaluable way to keep staff engaged and encourage strategic thinking.

Step 2 – Support a good cause

Consider supporting a charity. Rallying around and raising money for a worthwhile cause creates a feel-good factor which is shared by everyone. There may also be opportunities for you to teach your children more about the world around them because of your chosen charity, for example if your setting were to support disadvantaged youngsters in developing countries.

Step 3 – Let appreciation flow

A common grievance of employees across many different sectors is the fact that, whilst they never fail to receive a telling off for a job gone wrong, appreciation isn’t so freely given by their managers. Make sure that the efforts of hardworking employees never go unrecognised. Praise should flow generously as part of your company’s culture as it makes employees feel valued – meaning they’re more likely to remain loyal to your business.

Step 4 – Share success together

Where possible, try to give all your employees a stake in the company’s success. This could be in the form of profit sharing or bonuses tied to meeting team performance objectives. If you don’t have the budget to make this possible, there are plenty of other creative ways to share your success. For example, you could take your team out for dinner after a successful Ofsted inspection or bring in cakes and other treats to celebrate having a successful term.

Step 5 – Give your staff independence

When appropriate, allow staff to make choices for themselves and work independently. Employees feel a great sense of pride when they know that their line manager trusts them to get a job done, without feeling the need to micro-manage them every step of the way. To help staff become more self-sufficient, encourage them to search for opportunities to sharpen their skills and knowledge – webinars, professional development events – in their own time.

Step 6 – Create an open dialogue

It’s important to communicate frequently and openly with your staff to gauge their happiness at work and allow them to air any grievances. Ask for their input into where the business is going and implement any useful feedback you receive to improve the way things are done. This not only makes your staff feel valued, it’ll give them a sense that they have some input into the important matters that directly affect them.

Step 7 – Provide opportunities for growth

In order to help them fulfil their potential, provide your staff with plenty of opportunities to learn, develop and cross-train into other areas. If you know an individual who’d like to progress into a management position one day, help to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge that you know would serve them well in the future.

Remember, if your staff are engaged at work, you’re likely to see benefits in terms of a happier and more productive workforce, as well as a lower turnover of staff. With persistence and by following the steps above – you can transform your setting into a great place to work.

Equip your team with the skills and knowledge they need to do their job well. Take a look at our range of childcare courses by clicking below!

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