Feeling like professionals, with strong working practice, continuous training and recognition is key to staff motivation, said plenary speaker and motivation specialist Stef McLoughlin at the English UK management conference in Edinburgh this month.
And, when the going gets tough, don't forget them, George Pickering urged. Your staff are the internal customer, he explained, have a purpose that enthuses (and includes!) staff, help them exemplify their values work, give praise publicly and set a positive example as a manager.
Alongside practical tips, from dislodging sticky emails to making good practice stick, and expert insight into accreditation, delivering junior programmes and managing student expectations in an increasingly commoditised industry, lifting morale and improving team performance were core themes across the two-day event.
Dawn Harry untangled the differences between coaching, mentoring and counselling and Sarah Shinnick, director of studies at Kaplan International Manchester, introduced a busy breakout session to using critical reflection to improve team performance. "Asking 'how do I feel, what am I learning, how will I apply it?' will help you see things differently. And the more you learn from what you have done, the more you will be able to adapt and change," she said.
English UK Chief Executive Sarah Cooper likewise recognised the importance of adaptation in a new opening session examining the UK ELT sector and the challenges it faces. "Demand for English may be cooling but it is not disappearing... and there is growth and innovation in our industry," such as family programmes, local partnerships, authentic interaction courses and flexible pricing structures. "We have not forgotten the importance of quality and a rich customer experience," she applauded.
We were delighted to hold the conference in Edinburgh this year and have increased regional delivery of our CPD offer in response to member requests and feedback. We have introduced webinars, held training in Chester, Manchester, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool and Cambridge over the past months, and look forward to seeing many of you at the annual conference in Bristol this May.
Thank you to all our speakers; to the academic managers and directors of studies who joined us from Glasgow to Dublin to Bath; to our exhibitors and evening reception sponsors onestopenglish; and conference sponsors Trinity College London.
English UK's CPD offer is a key way in which we support our members, not only providing individual members of staff with the skills they need but further professionalising our valuable industry.
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