Policy: Culture & Organisation

In this article, we look into what we do, as an organisation, to ensure that we have the processes that support our brand promise to our staff - that of being a family wherein their voices are heard, respected and acted upon equitably

Objective: to ensure that the culture of the nursery is one of positivity, performance, professionalism and accountability for the individual and the team. We want to instil a culture and attitude in our team that hard, diligent work is rewarded and that we are all held to account to the standards set out in our Code of Conduct, the individual job descriptions we all sign and how those functions are to support those more senior than us, and what is required of us in the Policies and Procedures. In order to achieve this we will undertake the following activities:

Personality / Attitude and Approach

Respect & Courtesy - for the Company, for your colleagues and yourself in how you communicate / behave

Compassion & Understanding - of your needs and those of others in how you communicate / behave

Team Work, Support & Collaboration - helping others do what needs to get done

Proactive Positivity - being solutions oriented, not problems focussed 

Praise & Encouragement - congratulating peers on work and providing positive constructive feedback on where they can improve

Pragmatic Professionalism - Maintaining confidentiality, ensuring policy and applying restraint in how your communicate

Hierarchy of decision making / delegation

The nursery has an established hierarchy of roles / functions that should allow and empower staff to delegate and direct subordinate staff to deliver on specific tasks. It is critical that all staff appreciate their place within the organisation and who can / cannot direct them to do tasks as per this flow chart:

Nursery Manager>Deputy Manager>Third in Charge>Room Leader>Deputy Room Leader>Qualified Practitioner>Part Qualified Practitioner>Nursery Assistant. 

Please see BambooHR Organisation chart for more information

Tasks assigned directly by a Room Leader or manager, cannot be further delegated down to subordinate staff without permission of the room leader. Tasks assigned by the manager must be executed by the person being directed to deliver.

Staff Feedback Surveys: 

Ensuring that the staff team have a (anonymous) voice to provide constructive feedback on the management team and their peers so that the central team can act to improve things further - BambooHR offers ENPS (Employee Satisfaction) and Staff Wellbeing surveys (see here) as part of its suite of services and Hatching Dragons has these issued to staff every 2-3 months as a rolling track to monitor staff sentiment (fully anonymously) of what issues are materialising that we need to address as an organisation.

Feedback Assessments

Manager and direct reports are also issued with feedback opportunities automatically every 3 months, and managers can also invite colleagues / co-workers to provide feedback on each member of staff via the Feedback function on BambooHR. Managers are required to ensure that at least two peers provide feedback on each of their co-workers, outside of the mandatory supervision / feedback between manager and employee. 

It is critical that we get the right mix of people with the right skills and expertise to deliver the quality we need but it all hinges on the team, culture and attitude we take to work and to each other to make it happen. As such, every staff member is invited to evaluate their Manager, Management Team, Themselves and at least two of their peers against the personality attributes we believe reflect the values of the company - values that we are trying to teach our children so should be able to demonstrate ourselves

Individual Staff Supervisions

Staff will have formal minuted supervisions every term with the manager to review:

  • Job Description & KPIs (see here for all)
  • Staff Feedback survey results regarding attitude and competency
  • Room Evaluation feedback on their performance (manager)
  • Peer on Peer observations from team
  • Attendance / Sickness
  • Progress on actions from previous
  • Grievance & Disciplinary
  • Training needs arising

Supervisions will provide staff with SMART Objectives as the outcome - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. See Supervision & CPD Policy for further information. These are inputted into the staffer's BambooHR profile, under Performance>Goals as a measurable track of the employees. ability to work towards and achieve these agreed SMART objectives, and employees can, via their phone app for BambooHR, contribute commentary within the goals

Team (Room) Evaluations

Room Evaluation: to ensure that all staff in each room are performance managed as a team as well as as individuals based on the organisational requirements of the room and, in doing so, encourage greater pride in the team and in the delivery of their room’s Key Performance Indicators.

Approach: Managers will be tasked with undertaking daily / weekly assessments of the nursery’s rooms to evaluate their performance in the below areas and on a simple scoring system of 0-10. Managers will maintain a Room Evaluation Form throughout the week and month and each month to evidence performance in the following areas. 

Who’s Responsible: Room Leaders will be held primarily responsible for the rooms and so are tasked with directed staff in their rooms to ensure it is clean, tidy, effective and operating according to policy at all times (in line with the below areas of responsibility).

Recognition & Reporting: All room performance results will be communicated to the whole staff team at the end of each week or month (manager’s discretion), along with manager commentary as to why the results are as they are. The intention is to be as transparent and fair as possible. Rooms that perform the best in the below areas will be recognised in a staff newsletter that will be sent out by the management each week / month depending on the frequency of reporting required on staff meetings and minutes. The staff member of the month should also be circulated in the same newsletter. Those that perform poorly will be subject to the usual disciplinary procedures.

See our leadership and management policies for more information

Working Together  

Hatching Dragons believes in the power of bridging cultural divides through language and cultural understanding. The very purpose of our school is to prove to children that there is more that brings us together than divides us and to achieve that lofty ambition, the staff team needs to work together in a way that demonstrates those values of unity, common understanding, compassion, courtesy and respect to children. 

That means we have to work together as a united, coherent and single team , irrespective of colour, class or creed / religion. We need to ensure that our friendships are similarly cross-culture and that we really try to avoid hiving off into smaller groups within the staff team of Chinese / non-Chinese / Muslim to non-Muslim / British to Continental….we all have to work as one.

What we Believe: 

The values we try to teach our children throughout our curriculum are as true for adults as they are for children as they are the truths that we, in Hatching Dragons, hold to be self-evident, that we need:

January

February

March

April

May

June

礼 / lǐ 

Courtesy

孝 xiào

Respect

德 dé

Virtue

信 xìn 

Honesty

和平 héping 

Harmony / Peace

爱 ài

Love

to be courteous, consideratie and civil to each other and to ourselves. That means taking the time to be patient, to listen and to really understand our colleagues 

For our superiors, for our colleagues and for those who work underneath us - to listen to what they have to say and respect their opinions, even if we disagree with them

To be Humble: To know that no one knows everything and to learn to listen to everyone before making your own mind up. Even if you end up disagreeing with your colleagues

To be honest and sincere at all times to ensure our children are safeguarded and we can trust each other

to be Compassionate: To empathise with your colleague and always imagine how you would feel in their shoes. Be patient: understand that there are language barriers and cultural barriers that we need to overcome, which are always best overcome by imagining their situation with you!

July

August

September

October

November

December

义 yì

Justice

廉 Lián

Integrity

智 zhì  

Wisdom

仁 rén

To do good

耻 Chǐ

Honour

忠 zhōng

Loyalty

to do what is right and fair at all times. That means helping our colleagues and friends be the best they can be and only doing unto others as we would have done unto ourselves.

To understand the rules - our policies and procedures - and to use them as a guide for your own practice and for what your colleagues should also do.

to show tact / skill: to understand the situation you are working in and to always adapt your behaviour to get the best out of people and avoid unnecessary confrontation and conflict

To strive to do good - help and support one another and apply your best endeavours to all of the work we apply in care and education in our jobs: To have a positive/ lasting impact on our children and our colleagues 

to show Leadership where necessary - to lead your team compassionately, consistently and clearly, demonstrating very clear knowledge of our policies 

To be loyal and committed to each other, to the team, to the organisation as a whole and to your line manager. Take their direction on good faith and be a proactive member of the community

How We Make These Values Real:

These values need to be underpinned by a series of behaviours / policies and procedures that should, intuitively make sense if the above values are upheld by us all. See above for links to related procedures:

Team Work

Reward

Grievance (see policy)

  • Talk to each other - regular advice / guidance and support on the floor and in private always helps
  • Regular Team Meetings - for either the whole staff team 
  • Weekly Non-Contact Time with Manager and / or Deputy Manager for all Room Leaders to table concerns or issues arising
  • Regular Supervisions with the Manager for all staff and an open door policy for the staff to speak to the manager privately on any matter that arises that they feel needs to be addressed
  • To use walkie talkies where necessary / required to speak to each other between rooms and floors.
  • Staffer of the month to recognise those who have excelled
  • To be clear about the parameters for success and to be consistent in applying them to all of the team
  • To take the team out once a month for us all to relax and enjoy one another’s company in a work-free environment - organised by talent@hatching-dragons.com 
  • To recognise team / room performance also
  • To be confident enough to talk to your colleagues directly (but privately) if there is an issue between you
  • To be professional and try and work things out so we can be friendly with one another
  • To seek out your immediate superior’s guidance on issues that can be resolved in the team and to do so privately
  • Should you not secure resolution, to seek out the manager’s advice and support on the matter
  • To document your grievance by emailing the manager so that he / she has a record of the issue to act upon within 14 days
  • To copy in talent@hatching-dragon.com should the manager not act on your grievance

We would like to encourage  staff to solve disputes between themselves  through the correct channels in order to build relationships with one another. We would like staff to empower one another, build confident teams and mentor and train subordinates. Room leaders and the deputy managers should raise any issues on the floor with the manager during fortnightly meetings.

What do I do if someone is not following policy/issue with a staff member?

Step 1: Speak directly

to your subordinate / colleague directly, privately and courteously in a tone of voice that is conducive to building relationships, not destroying them.

Employees should be able to speak to their subordinates to one side and have a polite, courteous and positive word to remind them of what the policy is /how they feel  without humiliating one another. If the person you see breaking policy/unhappy with is your senior, ask their superior, privately, politely and courteously, whether that behaviour is in line with policy/behaviour is permitted  and for them (not you) to have a polite and courteous words. They may or may not agree with you. 

Should you have a grievance with any colleague, we should all have the confidence in our relationships to be professional and adult and take that colleague to one side to explain why you feel hurt by their actions / what they said. 

What if it is my manager?

The management team are an integral part of the company, we therefore want the staff to learn from the leadership of the management team but understands at times conflict may arise with an employee and manager. Again, if an employee feels the manager is not listening to them regarding policy or in general is unhappy with a managers action they should speak with the manager and explain how they feel. It is important that employees form relationships with their managers and feel they can speak to them regarding any issues they may have. 

What happens if my subordinate does not listen to me?

If your subordinate does not act on your advice, you may remind them 3 times . If the conflict is with a member of the management team please speak to the HR who will raise your concern with central office team on talent@hatching-dragons.com

Staff feedback Forms - Service Ticket Pipeline

In any and all such instances, staff are invited to submit their concerns in a feedback form that will come to central management. This form will automatically create a ticket for the Operations and HR team to process through to resolution. Please do not just think that oral / verbal interaction with your manager is sufficient - get your thoughts down on paper so that we can process manage it and ensure that your management teams are delivering on the issue for you.

Step 2: Inform chat with your manager

If an employee  continues to disregard your advice you must go to the manager or deputy manager to state, politely and courteously that your understanding of policy /employees action is not being delivered by your colleagues and could the manager clarify the position. The manager has the discretion to act and do so within 14 days. Submit a support request via the above feedback form to inform HR that the issue remains unresolved. HR will call a meeting to talk through as an independent between yourself and the management team 

Step 3- Register a Grievance- please see grievance policy

If the behaviour continues, register your grievance with the manager and always ensure that you follow up anything you register with the manager in written form by email. Cc Amira in Hr on talent@hatching-dragons.com.If you do not feel that the manager is acting on something that you perceive to be fundamental eg breach of policy or child protection, you must email Amira directly, who will then flag it with the central team for review

Working Language

As a bilingual and bicultural nursery, there is a natural tendency for the native speakers of each of the primary languages in the nursery - English and Chinese - to become identify with one another on linguistic and cultural grounds. 

That MUST be avoided wherever possible as it is the very division that we hope to overcome through our nursery. 

Remember we are teaching children the power of unity, that people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds can work and forge friendships together, and that means we need to do what we must to ensure that the team remains as united as possible.

Language is a critical part of building bridges between communities: it is the very reason we try to educate children in both Chinese and English - so that they can apply both languages to bridge divides between the two, using a common language to unite us.

And for our staff, that means we must ensure that there is a common tongue used between the staff at all times - a language or lingua franca we all understand. Doing so means that all staff can be involved in discussion, which is more inclusive for a better and stronger team, and, critically, to ensure that we comply with safeguarding requirements so that the manager understands what the staff team is saying at all times.

That means the operating language of the nursery for all staff will be the mother tongue of whatever country the nursery is situated in:

China

UK

Language of Staff team will be Mandarin Chinese

Language of Staff Team will be English

This also is to ensure that our staff are acclimatising to that host country. We believe in the importance of cultural homogeneity but also believe that it can be maintained, celebrated and supported through better integration and inclusion in the host society. That is why we encourage all staff to focus on using the language of the country in which they reside: it makes for a better, more integrated society for us all.

Employee of the Month  /Recognition

Employee recognition awards  are designed to recognise  and value the commitment and dedication of our staff who go beyond what is expected to make a difference to the children and our settings. We want employees to love working at Hatching Dragons so we are committed to working practices to reward loyalty through a small token of appreciation.

Employee Weekly Recognition Shout Outs 

On a weekly basis employees can submit specific shout outs to the management team by nominating a team member they would like to thank for their work .The aim of the shoutouts is to provide an opportunity for peer to peer recognition for extraordinary contributions to the nursery or individual rooms. The shout outs will be included in the weekly newsletter and the operations coordinator will also provide staff with a thank you card as a token of appreciation.

Employee of the month Award from Management Tea

Employee of the month awards will be awarded by the management team  in the following circumstances:

  • Employees may excel in areas such as exceptional feedback from parents/staff/management team
  • Employees who show  excellent teamwork or individual work skills, 
  • Employees going above and beyond their job roles

Reward 

A £50 voucher will be purchased for the employee once the nominated individual has been appointed on the 1st of each month, the employee of the month will receive a thank you card alongside the voucher and a certificate will be placed within the nursery setting.