As it’s the festive season, I thought I’d take the opportunity to highlight some of the little things that make a big difference at our college; things that cost little, other than personal commitment and effort – and a little imagination – but reap positive rewards in terms of staff motivation and morale, profile in the community, staff-learner connection, and a genuine contribution to cultural change. Arnie Skelton, Head of Business Development Unit at Epping Forest College writes for FE News.
The College has a commitment to PRIDE – 5 core values, which are:
- Putting students first
- Rewarding relationships
- Inspiring people
- Delivering excellent service
- Exceeding expectations
To emphasise their importance, they are integrated in the staff appraisal process, and we have annual awards for staff and students who have excelled in any of these 5 values.
Here they are – in no particular order. Your college may have the same or something similar – if so, you’ll know their value.
If not – why not give them a go?
1: Open piano in reception
We have a simple piano in reception, which anyone can play, at any time. It’s amazing – staff, students, even visitors, tinkle the keyboard. It creates a fabulous atmosphere, and reveals talent that would otherwise go unappreciated – and unleashed!
3: Meet, greet and check…
Every morning at least 3 managers are at the college entrance, meeting, greeting and checking. We’ve established that it’s important for us to be visible, and to be welcoming – a live and physical presence that says ‘ we care about, and value, you being here’.
In all public areas there are two A3 laminated posters: fab and drab – and alongside them, a pad of post its and a pen. Everyone – staff, learners and visitors – are encouraged to write on a post it what is ‘fab’ or ‘drab’ about their experience, and stick it on the appropriate poster.
These are collected in by any of the leadership team, as soon as we notice them, and they are collated and form part of our feedback and improvement process…
12: Loose change…
This is one from me; I always make sure I have some loose change on me as I walk through the building (usually from meeting to meeting). I like to be able to offer to buy someone a coffee or tea, but it’s amazing how this little thing can have a big impact. For example, I stopped and chatted to a learner who was ‘starving’ and was on the way to the chocolate bar dispenser; 30 seconds later she was on her way back, frustrated – I asked what was up, and she said she was 10p short – so I gave her 10p. You had to be there to see the effect: people (let alone senior staff) don’t do that. Actually – here – yes we do….
Read more little things that can make a big difference 12 little things for Christmas….
Does your school/college do anything similar? Please tell us about it in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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