How HR functions within schools play an integral role in fostering community and wellness during COVID-19

human resources professionals sharing notes and resources at a table

Since the start of the global pandemic, the world has had to transform overnight.

This has been especially true for the education sector. 

Some teachers had an advantage due to online teaching experience, but most faced several challenges. 

Teachers had to adapt to major obstacles such as student equity, access to technology, technical support, and learning support services. The pivot happened quickly. 

Many schools built a community among its teachers out of necessity to share insights and resources.

The groups were bonded by the common issues teachers were facing within the industry. 

But there was one role that stood out as the glue to helping everything come together. 

HR functions made all the difference! 

HR functions were integral to the practical aspects of organizing and coordinating the sharing of resources, as well as supporting teachers’ mental health and wellness. 

Support and valuable information were now easily circulating.  

A new organization, International School Human Resources Association (ISCHR), aims to highlight how pivotal the HR function is, especially in times of crisis. 

“Many schools see their HR function as mostly administrative,” says ISCHR co-founder Chris Marshall. Not only do schools require HR to prepare contracts, create documents for new employees, and arrange visas, but “HR is a strategic partner, bringing innovative approaches to attracting and developing talent.” 

Founded by Rowan Bell and Chris Marshall, the pair have more than 40 years of combined experience in international school human resources.

Teach Away has supported Rowan and Chris over the years in their HR roles with recruitment at many top international schools worldwide, including GEMS Education, Taaleem and Wellington College. 

With the launch of ISCHR, Rowan and Chris fill a gap in the industry. 

By uniting HR professionals and school leaders, they maximize their efforts while creating a strong support network within schools.

“We’ve stayed true to our mission to attract and develop talented professionals who want to make a difference in the future of education,” says Teach Away CEO Dave Frey. “By uniting a community of teachers with HR professionals and school leaders, we become part of a reliable network that can share insights and resources.”

Having seen many international school practices in human resources, in most areas of the world, they’ve learned from experience the importance of community and the power of a great teacher. 

ISCHR brings school HR professionals support in all aspects of their roles, allowing them to provide exceptional support to the teaching body.

If you’re a school leader or in an HR role at an international school, here’s why an ISCHR membership would benefit you now and in the years to come.

1. Creating global community forums for school HR professionals and leaders

When countries like New Zealand immediately put an emergency plan into place, schools were shut down not long after it confirmed its first COVID case. 

Following suit, countries looked to this as a good example and quickly announced stay-at-home orders.

By doing so, they prevented many COVID-19 cases and decreased vulnerability.

With access to a community forum, you’ll be able to ask questions and connect with others facing the same challenges. This is especially valuable during challenging times.

ISCHR’s membership program includes access to global community forums where you can connect with other HR school professionals in the same geographical area as you. 

You can sign up for the membership to receive the full benefits.

2. Access to training webinars for school HR professionals and leaders

When faced with uncertainty, one of the first questions leaders ask themselves is: what can we do? 

Solid strategies and clearly defined roles allow you to bypass last-minute planning.

The reality is that HR professionals and school leaders are responsible for setting up their teachers for success. 

You can learn about performance management in an international school and a range of related topics in a series of training webinars created by long-standing experts in the field. 

The goal of ISCHR’s training webinars, included with the membership, are to help you build an understanding of the role you play in managing your employees while supporting you to be an effective leader. 

3. Access to robust systems that support teachers enduring challenges and crisis

How valuable would it be to have an expert, just a click of a button away, ready to answer questions and provide support? 

This is another service offered to ISCHR members, as well as a bank of ready-made HR resources (policies, contracts, performance management documents) to save you time and allow you to focus on the really important aspects of HR like staff engagement and wellbeing. 

While teachers focus on their students, school HR professionals can focus on the well-being of their teachers. 

With a strong employee engagement program in place, school HR professionals can provide a wealth of applicable advice to seamlessly support teachers with robust teacher retention systems.

Soon ISCHR will be running HR surgeries for members, allowing you to drop in and discuss questions and problems. Members will receive professional development and discounted HR qualifications.

HR functions are integral to the education sector

With the right kind of focus and support, the role of human resources in schools can make an enormous and positive difference to the success of teachers and students. 

As vaccines continue to roll out and we collectively move toward the “end” of this global health crisis, there is much to be learned and applied that can make our schools even greater places to learn and thrive. 

ISCHR will be there to support schools all the way. 

To find out more about ISCHR and to register for membership visit www.ischr.com or contact Rowan and Chris at ISCHR directly on [email protected]