Last week, a colleague and I attended a senior staff meeting at one of our Virginia school districts to discuss the results captured in a Teacher Engagement Report tied to a Teacher Engagement Survey. The study’s findings — that to improve teacher engagement in the district, efforts should be focused on recognition and appreciation for their hard work — surprised the superintendent, who told us that a number of teachers had told him directly that the district’s red carpet treatment was unrivaled anywhere else in Virginia or Maryland. Other senior staff members in the room, however, shook their heads. If those same teachers spoke to mid-level management, rather than the superintendent, they said, then the feedback would likely have been quite different.
People say what they think you want to hear.
When walking my eight-month old Labrador Retriever, Cooper, one Saturday, I met a woman who commented on how adorable and playful my puppy was, adding that I must be enjoying every day with him. I responded, yes, it was wonderful having a new puppy in the household now that two of my girls are in college.
What I didn’t tell her is that, while I was at work on Friday, Cooper chewed off a door panel to my washing machine which housed a long rubber tube, which he also ate. When moving my laundry from the washer to the dryer that Friday night, I nearly wiped out in the two inches of soapy water on the laundry room floor. Yes, Cooper is awesome, but he is also a menace. But I knew that the lady on the path just wanted me to agree with her statement. So that is what I did.
At K12 Insight, we provide district stakeholders with vehicles to comfortably provide their voice — through surveys and focus groups. When taking a survey, the participant is not influenced by someone directly asking questions and is therefore more inclined to say what’s on his or her mind. Focus groups are also well-suited to find out what kinds of issues are important on a specific topic.
Let us help you uncover what your employees really think — and not just what they think you want to hear.