A key component to a healthy school climate and culture is making sure the adults on campus feel seen and heard on a regular basis. One of the best ways to do this is by gathering formal and informal feedback from your staff.
Soliciting feedback from your staff helps to create a culture of open and honest communication, and shows your willingness to listen to them and to apologize and take corrective measures when necessary.
By fostering a culture of communication, it makes it more likely that your staff will tell you when there are issues or when they need support, instead of staying quiet and resenting your perceived lack of support for them. It allows you the space to try to fix what needs fixing, but also to recognize what is working or going well and to build on that.
Gathering feedback also shows your staff that you are genuinely interested in what they are doing and how they are feeling. When done well, it can foster a deeper sense of community and belong among your staff.
Where do I start?
When looking for feedback on your performance as an administrator or any potential issues dealing with the school as a whole, we recommend offering an anonymous survey.
Studies have found that anonymous surveys are more likely to result in honest feedback. When presenting the survey, reassure your staff that there will be no repercussions for sharing their honest thoughts and feelings.
Not sure what to ask?
Here are some great resources you can use to find questions to ask:
- 10 Questions Principals Should Ask Their Staff
- Principals: Are you brave enough to ask for staff feedback?
- Gallup 12 Survey in Google Forms
- Gallup Recognition Survey
I got feedback, now what?
Compile the data and spot trends. Spend some time identifying areas for growth and areas where you shine. Identify areas that are quick fixes that you can take care of right away and others that are longer-term projects you are able to work on. Sit with the data and try to process them as neutrally as possible.It is important that you avoid defensiveness in your response, and if necessary, own your mistakes.
Share the results. Let your staff know you have received their feedback and identify what and how you plan to deal with the issues raised by the surveys. If there are issues you need assistance in implementing changes for, ask your staff if they would like to participate in the process. It is also important to acknowledge that some issues you are unable to work on, whether that be something larger that isn’t in your purview or that you don’t have the resources to tackle at this moment, but make it clear that you have heard them and that their concerns are valid.
Give regular updates and collect more feedback. People stop giving feedback when they feel like their feedback isn’t being listened to. Don’t just say you’re doing things, but show that you are working on them and communicate the changes you are making. Share what is in the works and regularly ask for additional feedback.
We also encourage you to go beyond formal opportunities for feedback and work to establish a greater sense of belonging for your staff via informal feedback opportunities. This can be as simple as using one of our staff check-ins at the start of your regular staff meetings or modifying 2×10 as a way to get to know your staff a little better. This article from Edutopia. 3 Questions Principals Should Be Asking, provides some additional ideas for informal ways to connect with your staff while soliciting feedback.
Just like students, the more the adults on campus feel seen and heard, the greater job satisfaction they will feel when they come to campus every day.