Sunflowers Day Nursery
idg

East Yorkshire childcare provider strikes gold

An East Yorkshire-based children’s day nursery business is celebrating after becoming the first organisation of its kind in the whole of Yorkshire to achieve the coveted Investors In People (IIP) Gold standard.

Sunflowers Day Nursery, which is owned and managed by Karen Cardwell and operates nurseries in Cottingham and Hessle, had to meet at least 163 of 196 different requirements to achieve the Gold level of recognition – that’s 126 more than is required to meet the standard IIP level! Karen and her team of 40 staff actually met an impressive 187 of the requirements, easily achieving the Gold standard.

In her feedback report, IIP Specialist Janice Chattaway commented that, when she interviewed staff, ‘everyone lived and breathed the organisation’s promise and values’. She added: “They are not just words on the walls, but are how people go about their work every day.”

Ms Chattaway continued: “There is no doubt that the inspirational leadership from the owner has a big part to play in the way people feel motivated to achieve success for the organisation and themselves.”

Her report concluded that Sunflowers Nursery engages and develops its people through:

• Involving staff in all aspects of the organisation - they have a real sense of ownership.
• Gaining high levels of commitment by always recognising and rewarding people’s contributions, treating everyone fairly and taking individuals’ circumstances into consideration.
• Listening and acting on people’s suggestions and ideas for improvement, which makes them feel valued and appreciated.
• Effective communication flow throughout the organisation by appealing to everyone’s preferred styles and using many different forms of communication.
• A culture that has encouraged and practices openness and trust at all levels.
• Developing people to achieve their full potential, which is an everyday activity in Sunflowers.
• A culture that encourages everyone to challenge the way things work and to find better ways of working.
• Using coaching and mentoring to support and develop people throughout the organisation, and encouraging everyone to develop leadership skills within their roles.

The report identified a number of strengths and areas of good practice within the organisation, including the opportunity for management development, which, combined with ongoing informal coaching and mentoring, has been ‘very effective in developing individuals to progress into a management and leadership role’; the high level of commitment and motivation within the organisation; and a desire for continuous improvement that is driving things forward. The report also noted the engagement of staff in developing both the culture and processes that support the nursery; the commitment and ongoing investment in the training and development of all people; the many approaches the organisation takes to its duty as an employer and member of the community in relation to social responsibility; and the approach to equality and diversity within the organisation.

Karen Cardwell, managing director, said: “I’ve always believed that Investors In People is a great framework for us to work to in order to have a happy and motivated workforce. This, in turn, has enabled us to successfully grow and develop the business over the last few years. When we set ourselves the target of achieving the Gold standard, we knew that there was a huge amount of work involved but that it would bring great benefits for the entire team and the business as a whole by encouraging us to acknowledge what we do well and identify areas for improvement.

“I’m really proud of, and delighted for, the whole team. To be the first day nursery in Yorkshire to achieve IIP Gold is a real achievement and gives us really solid foundations to build on in the future.”

Sunflowers Day Nursery was launched in 1995, when its nursery on Golf Links Road in Cottingham opened for business, and first achieved IIP status in 2000. In January 2008, the business expanded with the opening of a second day nursery on Station Road, Hessle and, the following year, the company achieved IIP status for both nurseries.

To find out more about Investors in People and how it can mean business for your organisation, visit the idg website at www.i-dg.co.uk - official partner for Investors in People in the North of England.

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