How to get your staff on board: Three ports of call for effective change management

As the new term begins, schools continue charting unfamiliar waters. In a sea of change, schools are modifying their curricula and practices; which is no small task.

Whilst these changes can be seen as exciting opportunities, some staff may feel daunted by the changes ahead.

Managing change

Your staff are the terra firma on which change is built. Having their cooperation and commitment will mean they will want to work hard to achieve the change with you. So how do you ensure your staff are on board and see this new initiative as an opportunity, rather than just something else to do?

The key to effective change management is the building of staff buy-in at three key stages. Without this the change will not become embedded and is at risk of facing unnecessary opposition.

1. Laying out the vision

What is the change and why is it taking place? This may involve weakening the case for keeping the status quo. It’s essential to convince your staff that the change is necessary. Don’t assume that everybody is as ready or willing as you are to change!

What will be the benefits for them, and more importantly, for your pupils and parents? As teachers we love stories; one idea is to illustrate the benefits of this change by telling the story of one of your pupils, showing how this change would help them.

Whilst a presentation during a staff meeting or INSET day is a good start, sharing the vision once is not enough to create and sustain staff buy in. Be sure to re-visit and repeat the rationale for change regularly. This will ensure that the rationale becomes embedded amongst staff and that they too buy in to the change.

2. Delivering the changeShare the vision

As teachers, we know that lack of time is the greatest threat to initiatives not being successful. After teaching all day, chasing pupils to detention, attending a departmental meeting, making phone calls home, planning, marking and resourcing for the following days’ lessons — tackling a new assessment system is too much to ask. It will become a rushed job, and its value will be lost.

Giving staff an action plan with sufficient protected time highlights the importance of the task. Ideally, this time will be little and often until the change is complete.

3. Reviewing the impact

Reviewing the impact of the change should be part of every department meeting and every line management meeting throughout the change process. This ensures that staff are able to champion their successes, air their grievances and discuss changes to their course of action. Staff will feel as though their feedback is being valued and will continue to steer the ship with you.

This feedback may mean that some adjustments to the original plan need to be made. This further highlights to staff that you value their input and they feel part of the change. Stages two and three will be repeated until the end goal has been achieved.

Would you like to receive exemplar senior leaders’ presentations introducing their vision for change?  In my role as a Doddle Education Adviser, I work with senior leaders on a variety of projects, many of whom are happy to share their best practices. Please email Sarah Taunton at Doddle: sarah.taunton@doddlelearn.co.uk.

Sarah Taunton is a Doddle Education Adviser and a former history teacher and head of year. Doddle Education Advisers support schools on how to use Doddle to achieve their longer term priorities, and in their day-to-day use of Doddle. In this occasional series of blogs, Doddle Education Advisers share great teaching and leadership ideas and best practice from schools they work with.

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