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Funder Letter #1

ERS team support and words from district leaders

How has ERS supported our team during this challenging time?

ERS values its team members deeply.  While we are fortunate that our team is safe and healthy and has transitioned smoothly to remote work, the COVID-19 pandemic has required us to adopt some new practices to support the health and well-being of our team members. We are grateful to our funders who reached out early, helped us make this transition smoothly, and provided flexibility and empathy to enable us to focus on our team.  And we’ve observed this happening on a national scale - during this extraordinary time, the philanthropic community is taking care of its grantees.

We have taken a number of steps to help team members at this time including creating a task force focused on how we can best work together remotely, allowing employees to expense basic equipment and supplies to create a more effective workspace, continuing all our standard routines including our weekly organization-wide stand-up meeting (now on Zoom), supporting any team members who need to change their schedules or cut back hours to deal with COVID related responsibilities, and providing additional support in accessing mental health benefits through our health plan.  

While we are losing some capacity and productivity, largely due to loss of child-care for some team members, we are trying to minimize negative impact to compensation or benefits and have been able to support team members so far through a combination of paid time off and CARES act benefits.  We are doing our best to reorganize work to give everyone the flexibility they need without overwhelming staff.  As the situation continues, we know that stresses on our team members will continue to increase.  We want to avoid burnout and are trying to keep everyone motivated and engaged, while matching workload to what each individual is able to take on.

To date everyone has been so positive and supportive of each other – we sent out our annual engagement survey just a week before transitioning to fully remote work, and we are gratified that our results are up across all levels and functions over 2019, with the average team member rating ERS 88 out of 99 as a place to work, and a Net Promoter Score of 50.  We are working hard to balance the urgent need to support districts with the capacity constraints that are exacerbated by the current situation in order to ensure our team’s health, wellness and sustainability.  

Words from district partners

“[Your support] has been a massive help to schools and our team.” - Aleesia Johnson, Superintendent, Indianapolis Public Schools

“[Y]our comeback school models are the simplest and clearest documents that I have seen on [school scheduling during COVID-19].” - Joe Siedlecki, Associate Commissioner, Texas Education Agency

 

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