Every organisation works better when there’s plenty of feel-good vibes floating around. We often call this ‘staff morale’, and an early learning centre is no different. It’s really important to take the time to develop a culture within the centre that fosters exceptional staff morale.
Organisations that have high levels of staff morale have better productivity and experience lower staff turnover than organisations that don’t. These kinds of morale boosting organisations also attract, by definition, happier and more productive staff.
Staff morale is particularly important at early learning centres, not only for the well-being of the staff members, but also for the kids. Children easily absorb negativity and are very intuitive to emotional variances. If staff are unhappy or feeling unfulfilled in their roles, kids will sense it and respond in kind. Unhappy staff also tend to move on quicker and this affects children’s sense of belonging and stability.
Morale can be defined as “the mental and emotional condition (as of enthusiasm, confidence, or loyalty) of an individual or group with regard to the function or tasks at hand: a sense of common purpose with respect to a group…” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/morale). Clearly, an organisation that fosters confidence, teamwork and enthusiasm will be a place where morale is high.
Here’s five suggested ways to raise staff morale (and keep it up!):
1. Build Relationships and Create Connections
It’s important that individuals feel part of a team and that each person’s actions and efforts are validated. Set time aside for staff catch-ups, both work related but also on a social basis. Get to know your team outside of a work environment and build a relationship with them as people, not just work colleagues.
2. Create Clear Communication Paths
Ensure that there’s clear methods of communication between staff members, staff and children, and of course with the families. Poor communication can be a cause for low morale for staff, due to misunderstanding or misinterpretation. Keeping all the team “in the loop” and making sure everyone is given access to accurate information in a timely manner can help ensure misinformation or misunderstanding doesn’t occur.
3. Build Staff Confidence
Pairing a newer staff member with a more experienced staff member, on a mentoring basis, is a great way to help build confidence and leadership. At the same time, it also provides opportunity to grow those essential interpersonal relationships. Involve your team in constructive and positive feedback so they are able to self-improve in their roles.
4. Develop Staff Skills
Along with developing confidence in the workplace, it’s also important to provide for the development of staff skills. Keep abreast of courses or online learning techniques that are available for your staff. Ensure staff are made aware of this information and provided the opportunity to undertake these courses. Highly skilled and competent staff are likely to be happier and display greater job satisfaction – resulting in higher workplace morale.
5. Improve the Workplace
There’s nothing like a dingy, ineffective workplace to lower morale! Make sure your workplace is bright and clean and that staff have the facilities they need during their working day. It may seem obvious, but things like an onsite kitchen with a fridge, a microwave or cooker, and tea and coffee making facilities can go a long way to ensuring staff are happier during their day.