Achieving and maintaining community engagement is vital, and school community leaders are no stranger to endless setbacks when retrieving feedback from their community.
Surveys can often be ignored, discarded, or completed with inaccurate and dishonest answers. If issues are not solved in a timely manner, they can become worse over time or even no longer relevant. This is especially true for those districts that still distribute paper surveys amongst community stakeholders perhaps only once or twice a semester. Instead, the process of creating, distributing, and collecting crucial feedback must match the fast-paced environment of school districts.
With Your Voice, our intuitive feedback solution for district leaders, users have the ability to receive and respond to all school community concerns on one centralized platform. Your Voice is an easy-to-use open-channel that shows you real-time feedback data from your community. It’s key to a cohesive and honest school community where stakeholder value is created by showing community members that their voices matter. Instead of asking for feedback at set times in the year, leaders can make it easy for students, parents, and staff to give feedback at any point throughout the year. This stores questions, queries, and concerns all in one place, whilst sending them directly to the appropriate departments.
In this final part of our two-part series, we outline best practices to achieve district-wide engagement and how Your Voice can help you connect with school stakeholders.
Here are our top tips to engage your school community:
Be continuous with feedback
Engaging parents, students, and all stakeholders takes patience and understanding from district leaders. It is also essential that feedback is encouraged to be given on a regular basis - school leaders must understand that surveys are an ongoing process and should not be sent out just once or twice a semester. Regular feedback from community members ensures that leaders are up to date with comments and concerns and that they are not acting on feedback that is no longer relevant by the time it’s relayed back to them. You can read more about the benefits of ongoing school district feedback here.
School leaders must understand that surveys are an ongoing process and should not be sent out just once or twice a semester.
Creating and distributing surveys and then retrieving and analyzing the answers can take time and resources. With Your Voice, the intuitive interface makes it easy to create feedback forms and offers complete transparency with the answers and results. Your Voice feedback forms can also be easily integrated into school district sites via an embed code, meaning community members can take advantage of feedback opportunities at any time by simply navigating to their district’s site.
Be timely with responses
It’s crucial that questions, comments, and suggestions are fed back to the relevant team so that they reach the right people to rectify the situation. This is particularly important for time-sensitive queries, and can help stop minor problems from developing into more serious issues. Leaders should also monitor how quickly and efficiently teams are responding to feedback given. This ensures the processes are as smooth as possible and do not deter members from giving feedback again in the future.
Your Voice allows users to set feedback topics and assign them to the appropriate teams. This will automatically route feedback to the right people. The intuitive Your Voice interface makes it easy for responders to review issues when necessary. Users may also set response times for each team, letting community members know how long to expect to wait for a response. Want to check your teams are responding to queries in a timely manner? Your Voice allows for complete transparency of feedback data, meaning you can not only see the types of comments you’re receiving but also who is responding to them and how quickly.
The key to accurate feedback is honesty. Your Voice provides the choice of giving feedback anonymously, which will encourage students, parents, and staff to really speak their minds. But although honesty should be encouraged from all members, this doesn’t just apply to those giving the feedback. Response teams should be completely transparent with members offering suggestions and concerns. Don’t make wild promises to follow through on suggestions that you know are not within your budget this semester. The more honest response teams are, the more included and appreciated community members will feel.
Feedback needn’t be all doom and gloom. Encourage compliments and kudos from community members as much as you do queries and concerns. After all, it’s just as important to know where you’re going right as it is where you’re going wrong. As an additional benefit, recognizing members of staff for good work will increase staff morale and retention rates.
Your Voice helps district leaders encourage community members to leave comments, suggestions, questions, and compliments. And don’t forget that the more reluctant community members needn’t be worried, either, since all feedback can be given anonymously if desired! As an extra bonus, this feature could even be used for students to thank a member of staff whom they feel has really helped them in some way.
Don’t forget to share this with your community stakeholders so they can see the benefits of engagement, too!