We just recently received our Summer Day Camp surveys from Seer Analytics. If you have never used them, I highly recommend! Our scores were very good, and it is something that we have worked hard on as we trained for camp. Parent feedback is very important, and we try to make sure that we look at both the positive and negative. It is also important to not brush aside feedback that you receive, even though you may not agree with what you see. I have always heard, if one person takes the time to put the feedback down, there are usually 4-5 parents right behind them that agree, but didn’t take the time to fill the survey out. If you honestly live into this strategy, I believe you can make great strides in program quality. Receiving tough feedback is hard, but we all should understand that our work will never be perfect. This post is not about gloating about good scores, it’s about what you do with the feedback you receive.
One way that we started to look at feedback from surveys, was to not just look at the scores, but lay out some themes from the verbatim comments. As we talked about out these themes, we would try to train our staff around the gaps. In the areas we scored high in, we tried to get 1 percent better, and made sure we kept the momentum going. It is very important to make sure the front line staff know what happened on those surveys, and praise them if scores were awesome. I have made the mistake in the past of not sharing whats on the surveys with front line staff, and just moving on to the next thing. If staff know why there are goals and why we have high expectations, it gives them even more motivation to work hard, and show up to work. Staff recruitment and staff training are so important. Definitely focus on your staff, because they will be implementing the goals you set.
We are also trying to ask our participants and staff what they want from the programs we provide. There is real value from asking simple questions and acting on trends that you may hear from them. Each year kids attention spans change, and you have to stay relevant. By giving the power to the participants sometimes, it can also give them the motivation to behave, and want to come back year after year. I will keep you posted if we see success from this! I have always talked about it, but never gone through on the idea.
Some people may not care about surveys or feedback, but if you want to grow as a leader and have strong programs, I would pay attention. Parents and participants are important!