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Staff management help needed


nikkia77
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Can anyone help me re staff management ?

I'm quite new to the role of manager and I'm still getting used to the whole managing staff bit, I have a member of staff who, while not doing anything particularly wrong is not quite getting it right either and I don't know what I can do to help her to improve.

Staff member in question, I'll call her J, is 21 but has an older way about her, she has always worked with children but had quite a few jobs and been laid off for one reason or another.

It's difficult because the forms I inherited that the setting use for appraisals and supervision meetings are, firstly, the same and secondly, based on the job description and because she comes into work and does her job nothing gets flagged up except I'm constantly having staff say to me 'she's not done that right' or 'she's taking ages doing this'.

She uses her initiative but often at the wrong time and doesn't seem to have much in the way of common sense.

She's very slow doing absolutely everything which means she's often being carried by other staff which is causing bad feeling in the setting, I did at first wonder if she had additional needs but that appears to not be the case.

I think I need to change the way the staff are reviewed in order to start getting her to pull her socks up but I don't know how.

I think the appraisal is ok as is but the supervision meetings need something else.

I was also thinking of introducing peer observations across the whole setting so she can observe good practice one-on-one and hopefully learn from example, my deputy is worried they will cause extra work but I feel that in time as J learns from the others it should lighten the load so to speak.

If anyone has any advise they can give a new manager I'd be very grateful, don't be too harsh and please bear in mind that I am trying to help her as opposed to just getting rid which is what I think her previous employers have done x

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I have a board in my staff room with 'what I'm looking at this week' on it. Then I make sure I ask all staff the relevant question whenever I'm in their groups- then staff get used to me questioning what they do in a non-threatening way. For example, this week I have written "Make sure you know not only what you are doing but why" - this is because last week I was talking to one member of staff about Chinese New Year and she was suggesting that the children collage'd a picture of a Chinese Dragon - I wanted her to think ... 'is this about Chinese new Year?' or is this about 'Collage?' If it's about Chinese New Year then how does collaging a picture help the children to learn and understand?

 

Last week the board was 'what do you want the children to tell their parents they have done today?' - I was thinking, do you want the children to say 'I did cutting' or do you want them to say 'I cut out lots of pictures of peoples faces and we looked at eyes'.

I've found it useful to guide thinking about priorities

This also means you can say "That's great ... that's exactly what i mean" when you see her, or other staff, doing the right thing so that everyone will be able to see what you consider to be good practice.

If you can 'flag up' the most important things then the idea of 'she's not doing that right' might be addressed because you will have made it exactly clear what 'the right way is'. If she is still not doing it you can then go down a more formal route.

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all the staff need to be clear on what is expected of them, so before saying anything make sure you know what you are expecting from each staff member - the example I often use at whole staff/team meetings is the request to 'Tidy up the book corner' - what does this mean exactly? - in my experience some staff will place the books in piles, others will use the book frame to keep books away from the floor and some will just pile them on top of one another in the general area or put the books out of reach on cupboard tops. All these things are 'tidying up' but what I learnt to say was " XX please arrange the books attractively on the shelves, using no more than 20 books this week. All the extra books need to be put in the cupboard in the staff/storage room". Then if the instructions are not followed I was able to ask, "what did you need me to explain in more detail in order for the books to be tidied as I requested?" It did stop the 'she's not doing it right' comments as everyone knew what was expected. It was hard initially but staff did respond more positively after a few weeks and everyone knew what was expected of them. As purplewednesday says, if after doing this there are still problems it is easier to follow up a more formal approach to what is expected for the role.

You may also need to review everyone's role descriptors, many were written decades ago with only minimal chnages and the role and responsibilites have certainly changed over the last few years.

Edited by kayw
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I would broach it with her in a one:one meeting, she carnt improve on something if she isn't aware of it. It's not so much the issue you need to think of it's the delivery of telling her as when I have to go through things like this it's ensuring you say it in a supportive way and having progress ideas ready. Always do a sandwitch approach. I introduced peer observations a bit back now but in a staggered approach so I am observing each member once per fortnight then we go through it all in supervision so they can see how it's ment to be a positive experience, we are only just now looking at staff doing it peer to peer.

Little niggles have a tendency to become big issues over time and if nipping it in the bud can help then it's worth a go.

Congratulations on being a new manager x

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Hi Nikkia and welcome to the forum. Congratulations on starting a great thread that will hopefully bring you lots of helpful replies.

 

As regards the form, could you have a little part for them to say about any issues they have with other staff. Any team working issues they would like to raise. This would give the other staff the opportunity to raise these points, and if they choose not to flag them up, then they can't be that 'serious'.

 

After doing appraisals I used to send a letter thanking the member of staff for their time and going through some of the points we had raised. This was useful to clearly state what improvements we had discussed and a timescale for these

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Sometimes I feel like saying to people would you tidy up like that at home? I.e throw in cupboard anyhow, leave cups around the kitchen

No then why do it here grrrrrr

Trouble is 2 of my 7 staff still live at home perhaps mum does it for them LOl

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I would give this little problem back to the staff that are moaning about the 1 member.

Open discussion also ask the moaning staff what they are going to do about it, give them tools to help sort it but let them sort it.

 

We have an item on our agenda at staff meetings 'get it off your chest'

 

It enables staff to bring up stuff that is annoying them sometimes with each other sometimes regarding me.

It helps to nip stuff which is niggling before it becomes a huge problem .

I always foster a speak your mind in the setting and I think because of that it stops moaning and niggles

 

If your staff member is found through your observations and supervision not to be able to carry out tasks then perhaps you need to use a capability procedure on her, set targets and time periods for improving, coaching and training where necessary ( a capability policy is a useful tool to have in your policies)

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What I have done in the past with my Nursery Nurses is to spend time watching their general work, during activities but also during routine times such as meal times. I have a different focus every time.

I would suggest you watch the practitioner go about their job at a particular time and make notes of what they are doing. (Not just the one practitioner but also the other ones) I literally just made notes for myself. Then decide what is most urgent that needs addressing. For instance interaction at meal times.

Call the person into a 1:1 meeting, provide some guidelines on what you expect a meal time to look like. (use Ofsted inspection schedule/EYFS wherever possible as these are your documents that the staff need to know they are being judged against)

Explain what you think of that she can do already and what would you like her to work on. Then tell her when you are going to observe again. You could also get someone else to mentor where possible. Make a note of all of this and get the staff to sign it, so you have evidence in case there is no improvement.

I had huge issues with that in the beginning, but I worked with the team leaders to support their staff through these things. We area now mostly on board that we want to constantly improve.

I have used videos with staff to show them the practice we want. I have also videod staff during activities and then asked them to reflect on what they did etc.

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  • 1 month later...
I have a board in my staff room with 'what I'm looking at this week' on it. Then I make sure I ask all staff the relevant question whenever I'm in their groups- then staff get used to me questioning what they do in a non-threatening way. For example, this week I have written "Make sure you know not only what you are doing but why" - this is because last week I was talking to one member of staff about Chinese New Year and she was suggesting that the children collage'd a picture of a Chinese Dragon - I wanted her to think ... 'is this about Chinese new Year?' or is this about 'Collage?' If it's about Chinese New Year then how does collaging a picture help the children to learn and understand?

 

Last week the board was 'what do you want the children to tell their parents they have done today?' - I was thinking, do you want the children to say 'I did cutting' or do you want them to say 'I cut out lots of pictures of peoples faces and we looked at eyes'.

I've found it useful to guide thinking about priorities

This also means you can say "That's great ... that's exactly what i mean" when you see her, or other staff, doing the right thing so that everyone will be able to see what you consider to be good practice.

 

Hi purplewednesday1

I like your idea of a board in the staff room a bit cheeky I know, but would you be able to let me know more of the things "you are looking at this week" . Don't want to start it without having a few ideas in place. Thanks

Joanne

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I have a slightly different problem - my member of staff is very good and will do circle time, snack and singing etc with the children but to the detriment of the other staff having a chance to do it. This means that myself and other two members of staff have not done snack for months. It sounds really trivial writing it down but we could be doing something and think 'I will make snack in 5 minutes' and before you know it she has it all ready and is clearing the table. I think I might have to go back to a rota of who does what on what day but I know I will get moaned at if for some reason somebody can't do it on that day.

I just need to know what to say to her as I can't complain that she is not doing her job!!

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Put a 'it's not fair on you doing all the tasks' type spin on it, we still have a rota with who's responsible for what each morning, when we tried it without it did turn into the same staff doing the same things all the time, which doesn't make for good practice across all areas they don't get to observe their KC in other situations and other staff never get to observe their KC in the area one person is always covering, other than absence though I don't know why they wouldn't be able to do their rota duty, if it's planned absence and it was their snack rota they'd have to swap with another staff's day, so it can be flexible.

And I think ofsted like to see how staff are deployed.

Edited by Mouseketeer
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We used a rota system for "jobs" at my last setting and it was worked on what hours people were working. If someone couldn't do that job for whatever reason, the girls were really good at stepping in to do it for them.

 

But I agree with Mouseketeer, put the spin of it being unfair to them on it. While they're doing all these jobs, they're not spending time with their key children and not obtaining observations or interacting in activities. And it time, it means she'll end up behind on observations etc.

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We put rotas in place as we had one member of staff that would sit at the craft table all day if she could. It got to the point that all staff were allocated a table to sit at first thing so it was clear what was expected of them! Thankfully, staff move on and the rota has been relaxed but we still have a snack, craft table (if we have mother's day cards or christmas craft) and daily check list rota so everyone is accountable and things can be tracked back if there is an issue over something. However, everyone is happy to step in and help if there is supervisions going on or a tutor is visiting, for example.

 

But, to answer your original post, I'd look at reviewing your paperwork so it reflects job descriptions then at supervision you can find out if there are jobs she likes doing or doesn't enjoy (not that you can let her slack off, but everyone has a least favourite job!) and also find out if there is any training she would like to go on. It may be as simple as she hasn't actually been told the right way to do things in the first place and just inherited 'her way'. It's easy for others to say she's doing it wrong, but have they raised it with her? I know it's not easy, but there needs to be a way either in staff meetings, as mentioned above, or through more formal supervisions where niggles get sorted out before they snowball. Let us know how you get on!

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