Launching Primary Research with Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey

We haven’t blogged for a while, owing to our own workload and a few things that we’ve been planning for this term. But we’re very excited about the next stage of our wellbeing research project: carrying out primary research that will help us understand the health and wellbeing of education staff across a range of schools.

We have been plotting for a while to create a survey that encompasses the principles of Self Determination Theory, to ensure that we can analyse data that is as credible as possible, and ties in with our values and beliefs about an accurate measure of wellbeing in the work place. Ben Gibbs from the Relationships Foundation has been a fantastic supporter of the project, and initially we were looking to collaborate on our own survey; however, we then found Britain’s Healthiest Workplace, and it was too good to pass up!

Britain’s Healthiest Workplace: what is it, how does it work?

A joint effort between RAND, Vitality, Cambridge University, and Mercer, Britain’s Healthiest Workplace is a nation-wide survey that asks individual staff members a range of questions about their physical and mental health, and their wellbeing and motivation in the workplace. It’s completely free for schools and employers, too.

These are what we view as the benefits:

  • Staff members have the opportunity to answer a range of questions about their health, lifestyle, and workplace (individual surveys are confidential and unseen by employer).
  • Staff immediately receive a personalised report about their health, lifestyle, feelings about work, which may offer interesting insights that they hadn’t unpicked before.
  • In October, workplaces receive a report analysing all results across their workplace, with recommendations. This data picks out trends within the school, but also links the organisation to others that are similar.
  • Recommendations are then provided to help improve employee lifestyle and wellbeing.

In the past, we have found that some staff are sceptical about filling out surveys created or managed by their own institution. They are potentially suspicious about its motives, or concerned that leaders may be able to examine their responses. The nature of this survey means that it is run by Britain’s Healthiest Workplace, the individual receives their own private report, and the organisation later receives analysed data about the data set as a whole. In that respect, we really believe this survey is a win-win for staff and leaders!

For those interested, here is a step-by-step guide to launching the survey in your school or workplace:

Step One – Registration: Register your school. This includes one or two individuals whose email addresses will be registered as the leads for the survey and its subsequent data.

At this point you can also identify if you wish to segment the survey into different departments / ‘offices’. For example, you could create separate departments for ‘Teaching Staff, ‘Learning Support / Teaching Assistants’, ‘Office, Site and Administrative staff’, etc

Step Two – Employer Survey: the survey leader will be contacted, and at this point, fills out a 45-minute survey about the organisation itself. This helps contextualise everyone else’s data when staff take the survey. Questions include staff size, turnover, staff demographics, etc.

Step Three – Staff surveys: send your survey link to staff for them to fill in. Consider giving them a set deadline so that you can give reminders week by week. We suggest that staff are allocated 20 minutes of time to do this to ensure high take up; consider using the first or last 20 minutes of a staff meeting or CPD.

Step Four: staff receive a personalised report about their health and wellbeing, immediately after they submit. The organisation cannot see this, and it means individuals can reflect on their own results without being concerned about what others can see.

Step Five: results for the organisation are published in October. These include charts, graphs, rankings etc. about how staff are feeling. The layout of this report is excellent: clear, accessible and very easy on the eye, with the data already analysed for leaders to start reflecting upon.

How we are using the survey:

The results from this survey arrive, at an organisational level, in October. While this doesn’t provide immediate feedback, it’s worth remembering that improving staff wellbeing is an ongoing, long-term process. The data generated will be useful, but it should be part of a wider discussion and ideas from school leaders.

We will evaluate the findings and use it to inform ideas about how we can continue to make our school a fulfilling place to work for all staff.

What we’re just as excited about is partnering with our Catholic Diocese to roll out this survey across around 50 schools. Our plan is to pool data from these schools so that we have a sample size in the thousands to examine, with a range of primary and secondary schools from across the South East of England.  We will then feedback to the schools about what we found overall. This process could be replicated by other Diocese’ or Multi Academy Trusts.

Please keep following as we continue to follow this process; we will be presenting our findings at ResearchEd Surrey in October.

We really hope this post encourages schools to trial this excellent survey

Sam and Rachel

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