Results of a survey show that School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) staff have similar wellbeing concerns as other organizations which have taken part in the Guarding Minds at Work survey.
The Guarding Minds Survey is an online tool and summary reports that compare an employer’s results against a 2016 nationally representative sample of workers in industries and geographical regions across Canada. The survey assesses 13 domains.
Director of Instruction (Inclusive Education) Carol-Ann Leidloff and Assistant Superintendent (HR) Ryan Brennan reported to the board that, overall SD83 results were consistent with organizations throughout the country.
Leidloff explained themes which emerged from the data include a strength in the area of employee engagement. “Our employees love their jobs and are committed to providing the best possible service to students. Areas of concern include work-life balance, workload, and to a lesser extent a feeling of being unrecognized for contributions. Additional areas to pay attention to include organizational culture and clear leadership and expectations.”
Trustee Marty Gibbons commented that he had been told that the district has a high number of teachers on mental health and stress leaves. Brennan commented that he looked at the absentee rates amongst teachers and it is around four per cent, which is fairly inline with the industry average.
Trustee Quentin Bruns commented the results were really interesting to look at. “I feel it is positive results overall. I was pretty impressed with the really high engagement scores.”
The District is in the second year of a two-year project with the Mental Well Being Coaching Initiative through the Well Ahead Foundation. Laura Paiement, Marie Seibel and Carol-Ann Leidloff are leading this initiative. This led to the creation of our Wellness Committee and a focused effort to address the mental wellbeing of our students and staff.
Senior staff had heard concerns regarding the wellness of employees. In September 2018 the Wellness Committee decided to administer the Guarding Minds at Work Survey in an effort to collect data to help clearly understand areas of strengths and concerns around the mental wellbeing of staff in the district.
The Survey was launched on November 5 and closed on December 12, 2018. 511 employees completed the survey (40.1% of total staff, including TTOCs and Casual Support Staff). Of these 511 employees, 37.4% (191) identified as CUPE, 54.2% (277) identified as NOSTA, and 8.4% (43) identified as PVP/Exempt.
The Wellness Committee met on December 14, 2018 to review the data and identify broad themes. This data will now be shared with District staff. The Wellness Committee will be meeting again on February 6, 2019 to determine next steps based on this data, including the creation of a District Wellness Plan as it pertains to staff.