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Happiness at Work and Well-being

Let me share with you 5 big steps and 7 strands that will help you improve Happiness at Work and well-being levels.

Why do we need to invest in Happiness at Work?

With changes to the workforce, societal changes, Generation Z and a recruitment/retention crisis in education, it is essential that schools and trusts consider how people 'experience' work. In an increasingly competitive market, schools and trusts are seeking to become an 'employer of choice'.

Consider this: the average person dedicates 80,000-90,000 hours to their career over a lifetime. That's a significant portion of our existence - filled with emotions and experiences that profoundly influence our overall levels happiness.  With a substantial portion of our lives spent at work, it is perhaps socially and ethically responsible to maximise happiness at work. In addition, employees are comparing what it means to work in a school with what their friends and family experience in other workplaces. It can be difficult to compete, and therefore it is important that schools think about what they can do better!

  • Is it part of your organisation's vision?

  • Is it part of your leader's remit?

Benefits of Happiness at Work

Research consistently demonstrates the benefits of happiness within organisations, e.g. increased productivity, improved outcomes, greater customer satisfaction, higher profitability, improved workplace behaviours (such as teamwork), lower levels of absenteeism, reduced staff turnover, reduced instances of burnout.

Happiness at Work enhances our mood, increases positive emotions, helps us to have a positive view of ourselves, leads to higher levels of hope and optimism, improves our feelings of self-efficacy and builds our levels of resilience, as well as decreasing stress, anxiety, and negativity. When we are happy at work,  we are able to be the best versions of ourselves, we have the mental and emotional capacity to help ourselves and others to flourish, we see opportunities for growth and success.  This helps us to achieve high levels of job satisfaction and feel energised by what we do on a day-to-day basis. It is a spiral of benefits!

How do we make schools Happy and joyous places to work?

What might your journey to better workplace happiness look like?  I can work with you to design a programme that is right for your school or trust. A good place to start to work out a package of support and a plan is to consider these five 'big steps'.

🔍 Step 1: Knowledge acquisition for senior leaders

Learn about the science behind happiness at work - enable leaders to know what is and what is not likely to work! Use the knowledge to create strategic plan. Too many schools are using methods that are ineffective. It starts with well-informed leaders.

🤔 Step 2: Self-reflection for senior leaders

What factors contribute to your own happiness at work? Personal insights provide invaluable perspective beyond theoretical frameworks.  Group coaching and self-reflection activities help leaders to understand their own needs. Leaders completing this step are then better enablers of happiness at work and increase the chances of the school/trust achieving the strategic goals.

🤝Step 3: Create the culture at a senior leadership level

If it can not be created at a senior leadership level, it is extremely unlikely that it can be replicated to other teams and the wider school. Everything that leaders say and do, and every decision they make sets the culture. If it isn't running through their veins of SLT, the culture will be hard to shift. Therefore, step 3 is about getting it right at the top and working to create a happy SLT who are ready for action on implementing the strategy.

📊 Step 4: Data-Driven Analysis

Take my advice - don't start with this step and instead of the normal surveys, mine for data linked to 7 specific strands (research based) that contribute to happiness at work. That way, you can really pin point actions which will bring about improvements. Plus, you can change the way you gather the intelligence so that it is motivational for all involved.

🤝 Step 5: Creating ripples

* Work with middle leaders - cascade knowledge and understanding, they are pillars to creating culture;

* Create circles of practice- team by team;

* Look for universal areas of improvement - create a strategic plan which address these points;

* Set up a programme for inspecting and reporting on each of the 7 strands so that accountability for improvements is strong;

* Develop an education and onboarding process - empowering people to take greater responsibility for how they experience work and how they impact on other's experience at work.

The seven drivers:

Learn the science behind happiness at work.  Use the framework to assess current levels.  Engage in productive dialogue.  Find solutions.

Sitting underneath each strand : theory and science to ensure actions and developments are likely to bring about real improvements; questions and assessment activities to help you understand the current position; advice and guidance about taking the next steps.  Each of these can be be used to assess individual, group and organisation levels of happiness at work.  Get in touch to book training to help your develop knowledge.

An approach that is right for your trust/school

There are different levels of the Think Deeply Happiness at Work Programme:

  1. You can undertake the programme as an individual wishing to better understand what makes you personally happy at work and plan to increase your current levels of happiness.

  2. You can undertake the programme as a leader, wishing not only to improve your own happiness levels but those of your team.

  3. You can create a plan for using the programme across the organisation, e.g. starting at a senior level setting out strategic objectives, working at as a senior leadership team to understand the research and create a vision for the future, use tools to assess the current levels, help all your leaders to be 'Happy Leaders' who are well-equipped to create happy teams, put in place plans for improvement at an organisational level.

What type of support could we expect?

Depending on your needs, you might consider the following:

  • Training for SLT on the theory of Happiness at Work and what contributes to people's perceived well-being levels. This helps to ditch ineffective practices in raising well-being and start thinking about a strategy that will really deliver improvements.

  • Access to booklets to help leaders improve their knowledge and understanding of the 7 drivers for Happiness at Work.

  • Team activities and group coaching to support the SLT achieve higher levels of happiness at work. This includes supporting individuals to assess their happiness at work levels and enabling the team to assign a 'score' to team happiness - both of which can be used as a base line for improvements.

  • Support with action planning - 1) first for improving SLT happiness levels, 2) Planning for data gathering.

  • Assessment materials and advice on how to generate a picture across the school / trust as to current levels of happiness. From this common issues can be identified and the SLT can start to produce plans - from quick wins to longer term solutions.

  • Training for middle leaders - to aid cascading Happiness at Work and supporting them in turn to create happy teams. Resources they can use in meetings and with individuals to help move towards a people centric workplace.

  • Ongoing support for the strategic leader assigned with the overarching responsibility for improving levels of happiness and well-being. This will ensure the programme is responsive to need, and achieves step 5 'creating ripples'.

Email, telephone, DM - get in touch to see how I can help you achieve your goals for improvement.


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