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Discovering What is Possible

A large Sydney based multi-campus K-12 boys independent school embarked on an organisation wide staff engagement project. Their vision centres around helping boys develop the character and potential to make active and potential contributions to society both now and into the future. 

The Principal believes that quality motivated staffing and staff engagement are critical elements in achieving the vision. The purpose of their staff engagement project was threefold and included:

  1. Supporting the teaching staff to be more aligned to the vision of the organisation and aligned in their roles, with time to reflect on their commitment to the organisation.
  2. To provide staff with opportunities to have a say about change and improvement they would like to initiate in their roles and work practices for an enriched work  experience and more efficient practices and processes.
  3. Support staff to talk about their career aspirations in a safe and non-threatening manner and discuss what was working and not working for them.

Together the elements of the project were collaboratively designed to include:

  • All senior executive and 175 teaching staff being invited to complete an online engagement tool called the individual Role Engagement Alignment Profile (iREAP™)
  • Providing confidential individual reports to each respondent that facilitated improved self-awareness and career decision-making by providing information on individual motivation and alignment levels and recommended development strategies.
  • Conducting 1-1 debrief and coaching sessions where appropriate.
  • Heads of Departments having career and engagement conversations with their direct reports.
  • Departmental engagement reports being generated to facilitate focus group sessions and identifying strategies to increase both engagement and alignment to the vision.

A 96% response rate was achieved with 60% experiencing engagement levels between Moderate to High, with a further 38 percent reporting Moderate engagement levels.  The percentage of those with low engagement or “disengaged” was only 2 percent.

Whilst the engagement result was a good overall result some retention risks were identified. This risk was discussed by the Principal at Council and the risk of losing talent is being mitigated by the school through individual conversations with talent by each Head of Department.

There were differences in the engagement levels between particular departments.  Those that were more highly engaged to a large part had more active involvement and a consultative and collaborative style of leadership from the Head of Department.  Interestingly it was the larger Departments that tended to have the higher levels of engagement.

The major issues identified by the school centred around the need for better work-life balance and staff feeling they need a greater voice to “have a say”.  The work-life balance issue was consistent across all departments but the having a say seemed to be more of an issue for Generation Y.  Special focus groups have been established to specifically drill down into these issues and identify solutions. This is an ongoing process with staff currently working on identifying specific initiatives to put to the schools management.

This case study has been published in the AHISA Independence Journal in May 2016.  For a full copy of the article click here.

To read about other case studies click here.

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