PPTA communications - walking the talk
Information in your inbox, face to face conversations and stories about real teachers are some of the most important things about PPTA communications according to our latest survey.
In August a short online communications survey was sent to 1100 randomly selected PPTA members. The results showed the majority of respondents (80.98%) were happy with the amount of information they received from PPTA. Most got it from the PPTA News, followed by branch chairs, field officers, network emails and the PPTA website, with social media bringing up the rear.
There were a number of themes running through the responses that gave us good insight into what was working and where we could make improvements.
Branch chairs are really important
A number of comments centred on the importance of branch chairs as the face of the union in schools and central point for information. Respondents who did not have an active branch chair felt somewhat out of the loop.
“We have a good PPTA representative at the school who is available to talk to each day informally,” one said.
“The info may be coming to the school but not being passed on. I am not sure,” said another.
An action point to come out of this was to investigate how PPTA can best support branch chairs in carrying out their work.
How would you like your PPTA News?
While the majority of members were positive about the content of the PPTA News, there were two camps when it came to the format they would like to receive it in – those who would like it solely as a digital publication and those who preferred print.
“Could the PPTA magazine be online, with updates through emails?” one respondent asked.
“Keep producing the analog (paper) newsletters. Not everyone likes digital,” another said.
An online and email version of the PPTA News actually already exists. A digital version of the magazine, as well as individual articles, is available under the News and Media section of ppta.org.nz and members can sign up to have the magazine emailed directly to them through the PPTA Newsletters tab at the top of the homepage. You can also request your branch be sent fewer paper copies by emailing email@example.com
A number of respondents stressed the importance of having timely information during contract negotiations.
The Negotiator email newsletter and the STCA Negotiation Updates section of the members’ only side of ppta.org.nz are the best places for members to check on the latest information in this area. There is a sign up form for the Negotiator on the members’ only side of the website. We are also running regular video updates on the PPTA members only Facebook group. If you are a member just search ‘PPTA members - bringing out the best’ and ask to join.
Our less traditional members, such as semi-retired, relieving and itinerant music teachers have voiced concern about the consistency of the communications they receive.
“Itinerant teachers like myself are left out of the loop. We don’t have or use our school email,” one said.
PPTA is certainly able to send email to personal addresses, our membership team just needs to be aware of them. We encourage branch chairs to check these members have updated PPTA with their personal addresses. They can do this by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also welcome to sign up directly to the PPTA newsletters and Negotiator via the PPTA website.
Those respondents who accessed PPTA’s social media channels were happy with what they were seeing.
“The socials are good – FB and Twitter content is uniformly excellent. The fact that PPTA senior/regular contributors are so active on both is very good for newer members. I find the magazines a bit slow since you’re on my feeds daily anyway. Thanks,” one said.
Unfortunately we are not yet getting the cut through we would like and many respondents never use these channels. The appointment of our third communications advisor, Matt Maguire, who will have a direct focus on social media, should have an impact on this. The results also show that, while sharing material via social media is a good way of reaching a certain audience, it is most definitely not time to switch focus and resources from our traditional forms of communicating just yet.
A number of commenters would like an easy way to see what their membership dues are being spent on.
“You need to update us on what is happening with money given and how it is used every year,” said one.
In response to this we have made our annual report with financial details clearly accessible through the front page of the PPTA website.
What we are doing right
We asked respondents what they thought was good about PPTA’s communications with members. These responses also fell into a number of categories.
That they are clear and concise, teacher-centric and supportive and that there are a number of different forums.
“Good effort made to convey sometimes technical information in easy to grasp language. Useful real world field officer case studies.”
“Actual people’s experiences recorded and reported on.”
“There are a variety of ways we can keep in touch with PPTA and vice versa. This reaches more people and suits different lifestyles,” members said.
PPTA News, face to face communications and email newsletters were the top ranked forms of communications.
“Keeping us informed and reminding us of stuff to be thinking about, especially when we are knee-deep in the work of teaching. Thank you – that’s why we need you,” one said.
What members would like to see change
More email communications and emails sent directly to members were high on the list of things members would like to see change about our communications. This is already possible through the newsletter sign up on the front page of ppta.org.nz. Important and urgent issues around negotiations are also currently being emailed directly to all members.
More email communications and newsletters were also requested. PPTA has a number of member group newsletters available including Te Huarahi Panui, NETs Bulletin, Senior Positions Advisory Group Update, Professional Issues Update, PPTA Women’s Network, Pasifika, NZSPC and Rainbow Network newsletters and the regular Collective News. These can all be signed up for under the PPTA Newsletters tab on the homepage of the PPTA website.
Tell us what you think
To keep an eye on how we are doing with our communications PPTA’s executive has agreed to run a communications survey on a yearly basis. If you didn’t get the latest survey however and would like to share your thoughts with us now, feel free to email email@example.com.