Story House leverages two new innovative solutions to bring wellbeing and safety benefits to staff
The Sector > Jobs News > Story House leverages two new innovative solutions to bring wellbeing and safety benefits to staff

Story House leverages two new innovative solutions to bring wellbeing and safety benefits to staff

by Freya Lucas

November 16, 2023

Educators and other professionals from Story House Early Learning (SHEL) are benefiting from two new wellbeing and safety benefits, one of which is a first for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector. 


The first, Sonder, is a ‘24/7’ mental and physical health, safety and wellbeing app. More than just being an employee assistance program (EAP), Sonder is a means through which SHEL staff and their families are able to access mental and physical health support from a team of nurses, well-being experts and in-person responders at the touch of a button. 


“Sonder recognises and supports what we had known for quite some time, which is that people are whole people and the old adage “leave your personal life at the door” just isn’t reasonable or feasible,” explained SHEL Head of People and Culture Kate Ludwig. 


“How well someone slept, their current mental load, their emotional state all impacts how they come to work and ultimately how they interact and engage with the children in their care, so continuing to only offer a traditional EAP when so many other factors impact our Story House-ers and their direct family members wasn’t sufficient in our minds.”


The second, Humanforce Thrive, is an app which allows SHEL staff members to access their pay early, build savings, and track their income. 


“We had this in mind particularly for those who may be going through a family violence situation and need to have access to money quickly,” Ms Ludwig explained. 


“We also understand that cost of living is a struggle for many at the moment and having access to this can help. Innovation is one of our values, so when we hear about a solution that we believe will genuinely support our Story House-ers, we act fast!”


Ms Murphy hopes that HumanForce Thrive will give SHEL staff more control over their own finances by allowing them to access up to 50 per cent of their earned pay immediately after they’ve earned it and prior to the fortnightly payroll process. 


“While we can’t offer a formal financial service, we can make a small impact on our mostly female workforce by giving them more control over the money they earned and empowering them with resources and information to support their financial literacy,” she added.


Having access to a suite of quality financial services, researchers from Brookings have noted, enables women to invest in themselves, in their families, and in their communities by saving for the future, paying for educational and health expenses, putting money toward small businesses, and engaging in other productive financial activities. 


The addition of any benefit to the SHEL staff team is something which is carefully considered by the leadership team, Ms Ludwig explained. 


“When we consider a benefit, we first consider the alignment of that benefit to our values, and whether we believe that the benefit will genuinely make a positive impact on our Story House-ers or their family members as human beings,” she said. 


“Ultimately, if we treat our people as people, and recognise they are a whole person, the outcomes of satisfaction and retention will occur. Both have only been live for approximately a week, and we’ve had fantastic feedback so far.”


Learn more about Story House Early Learning here. 

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