woman at work desk stressed; burnout
As a business owner, you know that looking after the mental health and wellbeing of staff is important. Leadership guru’s, health & safety experts and psychologists have written extensively informing us that the best way to have a thriving business is to have happy, healthy staff.  
But many business owners are doing nothing and hoping everything will work out fine. Some don’t know where to start. Trapped in indecision is potentially exacerbating thoughts, feelings and behaviours within the company that are gradually lowering morale, reducing productivity and increasing sickness or turnover. 
 
Are senior leaders in your company spending an increased amount of time supporting upset employees, or are Mental Health First Aiders feeling overwhelmed? The important questions are; are you doing something to support your staff and are your efforts working? Are your staff happy and is your company thriving? 
Strive is a unique and ground-breaking online platform and community, launched in September 2021. Our offering measures improvement and provides in the moment support to manage stress or distress at the same time building long term resilience.  
 
Mrs Toombs told us, she has 41 staff looking after 125 children on a daily basis, ranging from babies to eleven years. Each day is different the children have ever changing needs. The staff have to be able to respond and react to those needs as well as keep parents informed and provide a high-quality developmental service. This requires staff to be flexible, resilient, and confident.  
 
“If the staff are not on top of their game the risk to the nursery are plentiful” 
Shardlow Nursery - Strive Corporate Solution Client
Shardlow Nursery - Strive Corporate Solution Client
Mrs Toombs explained how things were before she signed up to Strive. She talked about the operational challenges she was facing on a day-to-day basis. She described dealing with absences/sickness and the cost implications when staff must be replaced. Using Agency staff comes with challenges other than the additional cost. The disruption to the continuity of care as the Agency staff are not familiar with the specific likes and needs of the children and the additional burden to remaining staff to lead and supervise them. 
 
There are also ratios in childcare which need to be met i.e., a certain number of staff must be supervising the children. Having to find quick replacements and dealing with highly expressed emotion, drama and staff conflict took away time and resources from crucial managerial jobs. The cost of poor staff wellbeing to the nursery was huge, not just monetarily but in the currencies of time, effort and resources. The leadership team would be drawn into resolving conflict, managing rooms and picking up day to day tasks which distracted them from running the business. 
Several staff were struggling with various emotional issues which fell to Mrs Toombs to manage.  
 
Mrs Toombs didn’t only feel drained and stressed, but felt helpless in more serious mental health situations, including crises that she was not qualified to deal with.  
 
The pressure led to adverse effects on her own mental health and this was when she sought help, leading to meeting Linda Neville, Owner of SanaMente Services and being introduced to the Strive Corporate Solution. 
Mrs Toombs told us she has seen a return on her investment. When we asked her how Strive had made a difference to her business, one of the first things mentioned was a significant reduction in sickness absences. She highlighted one member of staff who had not completed a full month without sickness in her years of working at the nursery. Since being signed up to Strive, this employee has been present every day. 
 
Noticeable improvements have been made in terms of staff’s confidence, happiness, and enthusiasm. Mrs Toombs has also noticed the general improvement of mood in the children and believes that this is due to the increase in positivity in their environment. Workplace conflicts and tensions have also been eliminated between the staff that are on board. There is a clear difference between staff who have been enrolled and those who haven’t yet. 
Real improvements have been seen at the nursery: 
 
Reduced costs in time, money and resources 
Better working environment 
Increased levels of productivity - when people are happy they can do their job better 
Prevented staff turnover, directed the staff with performance issues to the programme  
Mrs Toombs also feels reassured that she will avoid any risk of employment tribunals or discrimination accusations. Strive provides evidence that you’ve offered the employee a supportive programme and she feels protected and confident that she has done her best for her employees. Shardlow Hall Day Nursery is regulated by OFSTED and Mrs Toombs is clear that Strive meets the Outstanding criteria for OFSTED for staff wellbeing. 
“Strive is not an impulse buy - many may be sceptical at the start 
like I was but I have seen a number of genuine improvements in my staff whichhas had a knock on effect on the managers, the rest of the staffand 
the children, I am delighted”. 
She added that staff are now productive, on the ball and enthusiastic about work. Stress levels have been minimised, not only for the staff, Mrs Toombs has felt a massive weight lift of her shoulders as a business owner. There was a time recently when she dreaded coming into the nursery, working a 50-60 hour week - it was completely draining and affected her own mental health, personal relationships as well as the business. 
 
Staff have grown in confidence, and some have even begun to take on extra leadership duties. She knows she is doing everything to support her staff and business. She is reassured that her staff are being supported, their progress is being monitored and she is excited that her company is part of this exciting programme and will benefit from the next step research to create and interactive quality dashboard to demonstrate further improvements. 
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