November 2022 Newsletter – Measuring and Boosting Satisfaction: Director’s Corner – Measuring Teacher Satisfaction

Director’s Corner – Measuring Teacher Satisfaction

In other sections of the newsletter, we have focused mainly on customer satisfaction. Let’s shift our attention to a different area of satisfaction that impacts program quality and supportive environments for children: teacher satisfaction.

Staff turnover can have a huge impact on family satisfaction, the program’s bottom line, and the ever-important consistency that children thrive on. Members of leadership should spend time gathering and analyzing employee feedback just as they focus on family satisfaction.

The tips for designing surveys shared in this newsletter apply to creating surveys for teachers.  Areas that you may want to measure include satisfaction with:

  • Orientation and onboarding
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Resources and materials
  • Curriculum tools
  • Policies and procedures
  • Program culture and support
  • Relationships with peers and members of leadership

Again, anonymity may be necessary to garner the most honest results.

Here is the Early Childhood Job Satisfaction Survey from the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership that you can use.

Mock exit interviews.

One tool you could use to gather feedback is your program’s exit interview questionnaire. If your program does not currently have an exit interview procedure, click here.

Conducting mock exit interviews allows members of leadership to uncover and address areas of dissatisfaction before employees decide to move on.  To conduct mock exit interviews, create an anonymous document and ask employees to imagine that tomorrow is their last day on the job.  Ask them to share their feedback as if they were no longer going to be a part of the team.

Use a mix of ratings, yes/no questions, and open-ended questions to encourage teachers to fully express their feedback. Assure employees that all information will remain confidential and anonymous.

The results of this activity may be eye-opening for members of leadership, but they are valuable nonetheless. Teachers may appreciate the fact that you are attempting to be proactive to address the areas of their job that they are not happy with.

Once results are compiled, summarize the findings at a team meeting. Work with the team to prioritize the needs expressed in the results and to address areas of improvement.

Here is a link to an informative article about conducting teacher satisfaction surveys.

 

For the main article Measuring and Boosting Satisfaction, CLICK HERE

For the article Gathering Feedback, CLICK HERE

For the article Questions to Ask, CLICK HERE

For the article Responding to Feedback, CLICK HERE

November 2022 Newsletter – Measuring and Boosting Satisfaction: Responding to Feedback

Responding to Feedback

Whether a family brings an issue to your attention verbally or through a survey, it is vital that the issue be addressed quickly, fairly, and thoroughly.  This might be difficult if the issue was raised through an anonymous survey, but it should be taken just as seriously as an issue brought up in person.  The person who provided the feedback will be watching to see if action is taken.

Once a survey closes, review the results to determine which areas are generating positive feelings from your customers and whether there are areas where there is room for improvement.  Be sure to take time to recognize and celebrate the positive feedback – you and your team deserve it!

After recognizing positive feedback, look for areas where scores are lower.  Take time to reflect on the feedback that was shared to see if there are patterns of a larger problem present or if it is an isolated situation.  Gather the individuals who are most closely involved with the situation and discuss current practices or policies. It’s important to confer with your team before promising to fix an issue.  Wait until you have more information before creating a plan to address the issue.

Walk through the customer experience from start to finish to attempt to identify and reduce unsatisfying elements of the situation. Gather the perspective of others who may be able to uncover solutions that are not obvious to you.

Sometimes a family will be unhappy with something that is mandated by licensing regulations or a program policy.  It is important to follow up with these families to explain the reason behind the policy or practice.  Unfortunately, you may not be able to fix these types of concerns other than to help the families understand why the situation exists.

Revisit what is working. Some elements of what makes customers happy could be generalized to different areas of the program.  For example, if families have shared that they are very happy with the level of communication about curriculum decisions, but unhappy with the way that policy changes are communicated, there may be a way to modify how you communicate about curriculum to keep families updated on policy changes.

Some cases may require a deeper dive into the issue with the respondent of the survey. Again, show appreciation for the feedback and ask the person if they would like to set up a time to talk about the issue. If they take you up on your offer, set up a meeting.  If they decline, thank them for bringing the issue to your attention and let them know that you are working on a plan to address the situation.

Share plans with families, when appropriate. You could use part of your newsletter to summarize the survey results and share general plans for addressing the findings. As families see that you are reading and responding to their feedback, they may be more likely to complete surveys in the future.  Be sure to thank everyone who responded to your survey. Share your appreciation for their feedback as you seek continuous quality improvement.

You may want to deploy another survey a few weeks after a new solution has been put in place.  This will allow you to gather feedback on the new approach.

Here is an article discussing ways to respond to customer feedback.

 

For the main article Measuring and Boosting Satisfaction, CLICK HERE

For the article Gathering Feedback, CLICK HERE

For the article Questions to Ask, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Measuring Teacher Satisfaction, CLICK HERE

November 2022 Newsletter – Measuring and Boosting Satisfaction: Questions to Ask

Questions to Ask

Designing surveys and analyzing the results can get complicated. That doesn’t mean that the survey questions you ask should also be complicated – think simple. People may be more likely to complete surveys if they are brief and easy to read and complete.

It is a good idea to include the length of the survey in your invitation to complete the survey.  For example, in your email to families, you could ask them to complete a quick, six-question survey about the field trip options for summer programming.

One way to determine what questions to ask is to evaluate surveys that have been deployed in the past. Review the results and identify the solid information the survey produced. At the same time, look for areas where the questions asked didn’t produce helpful information and make revisions to those questions.  For example, a question about menu satisfaction that resulted in a low score but no opportunity for families to give specific feedback should be revised.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Be specific.

If you want specific information, you will need to ask specific questions.  It may be helpful to gather general feedback about overall satisfaction from time to time, but targeted questions are also useful. If you want to know how families are using the new electronic daily reports, ask them for specifics about the product and how they are using it.  If you only want to know if families are happy with the electronic daily reports, ask that.

Types of questions. 

There are many different ways to word survey questions that should be based on the underlying information you are trying to gather. Below are a few generally-worded questions you could use in a survey. Remember, you would want to modify these to incorporate the specific scenario in question.

  • Are you satisfied? Are you pleased with the current situation?
  • Did we meet your expectations? How well did your experience match your expectations in this situation?
  • Is ‘the product’ a good value? Do you feel ‘the product’ is worth what you are paying for it?
  • What impact have you seen as a result of this new initiative? How do you feel about the impact of this change?
  • Are we meeting your needs? How can we better meet your needs?
  • What was this experience like for you? How does this compare to past experiences you have had?
  • Would you refer us to a friend or family member?
  • Was the product easy to access? Are there any barriers preventing you from participating?
  • Do you find the product useful? What do you like/dislike about the product?

You could also ask for feedback about different features of the program, such as the playground, cleanliness of the facility, the curriculum, the hours of operation, etc.

Rating scales.

Many surveys ask respondents to express their opinions using a rating scale. Experts recommend using a 1-3 or a 1-5 scale. There are also 1-7 and 1-10 scales. The more numbers used, the more chance for inconsistency in how respondents define a score of 7 versus what a score of 8 means (in a 1-10 scale).

Rating scale questions can ask about the level of satisfaction (1= Not very satisfied to 5= Very satisfied).

You could also ask respondents to agree or disagree with the survey statements. For example, XYZ Early Learning Centers explained the enrollment paperwork requirements to me in a way that was easy to understand.

It may also be beneficial to gather feedback using a list of adjectives that respondents click on if they feel the adjective represents their feelings about your services.

Here is a link to an article that explores types of rating scales in detail.

Open-ended questions.

It is a good idea to include a few open-ended questions that invite respondents to share more details about their experience with your program. These can be optional questions.  Again, consider the goals of the survey to determine the best open-ended question(s) to include.  Here are a few questions that can be modified:

  • How are we doing?
  • What could we do better?
  • Is there anything else that you want to tell us?
  • If you could change one thing about your experience, what would it be?
  • Please share any barriers that prevent you from participating/taking full advantage of our services.
  • What could we have done differently that would have changed your mind about disenrolling?

 

For the main article Measuring and Boosting Satisfaction, CLICK HERE

For the article Gathering Feedback, CLICK HERE

For the article Responding to Feedback, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Measuring Teacher Satisfaction, CLICK HERE

November 2022 Newsletter – Measuring and Boosting Satisfaction: Gathering Feedback

Gathering Feedback

It is common for child care programs to have family satisfaction surveys that are sent out periodically.  Some programs have a comment box or an open-door policy that families can use to share their concerns and feedback with program staff.  Unfortunately, not everyone is comfortable sharing their concerns through these methods. This might be due to past experiences when nothing was done in response to a shared concern. Other people avoid confrontation and simply disenroll, perhaps citing financial or logistical reasons for the departure.

For these reasons, and more, it is important to establish several different avenues of communication for folks who have different preferences and experiences.  There is no shortage of tools that providers can use to create and deploy surveys, including Google Forms or products like SurveyMonkey.

The use of these products is recommended, but to ensure that families respond, it is important to establish a culture of collaboration where, from the first day of enrollment, feedback is elicited and encouraged.

Here are some practices to consider:

The timing of requests for feedback/survey deployment.

In some cases, you will want to gather feedback immediately after an event or touchpoint with a family.  Directly after enrollment may be a good time to ask families for feedback about the enrollment process, including how well-prepared they felt for their child’s first day.  You may also ask for feedback directly after an open house or other event hosted by the program.

In other cases, timing might not play a crucial role in when you ask for feedback. For example, asking for feedback on the outdoor play experiences that the program offers could be gathered at any time of year.

Who is invited to provide feedback?

When considering whom to ask for feedback, it is just as important to elicit information from people who were unable to attend an event as it is to ask for feedback from participants. This should be done in a second survey, with a different set of questions. Doing so may help you identify barriers to participation that you had not thought about when scheduling the event.

Likewise, asking for feedback from families who are no longer enrolled in the program might provide important information about concerns that were not raised when the family was enrolled. If you are not in the practice of surveying disenrolled families, consider developing a survey specific to this population.

Survey frequency and style.

It is recommended that programs use a variety of surveys to engage families. Avoid sending the exact same survey every time you ask for feedback unless your sole objective is to compare satisfaction levels month over month.

Use a combination of online and paper surveys.  Text families a survey one month, send home a paper survey the next month and include a survey in the program’s newsletter the following month.

Get creative with surveys – Delighted.com offers simple smiley face and thumbs up or down surveys that can provide a quick and simple temperature check that you may find appropriate for some of your events. In other cases, you may decide that more information is needed.

Keep in mind, using simple surveys can help you establish that culture of collaboration, so be sure to use them as part of your overall satisfaction-measuring strategy.

Create a schedule for deploying surveys based on upcoming events and other program features that you want to highlight. The schedule should be organized so that there is a consistent pattern of asking for feedback.

Reflect on the type of feedback you want in order to determine the best method of getting that feedback.  Part of that reflection should also focus on the types of questions you want to ask, which we will explore in another section of the newsletter.

Topics to cover.

The topics covered in your satisfaction measurements should vary as much as the type of surveys you deploy. Ask fun survey questions regularly, such as How excited are you for the weekend?, which can be collected on a dry-erase board near the front door.  Remember, you are trying to open lines of communication.  Families may be more willing to come to you with big concerns if you have shown interest in the little things.

Boosting participation.

Be sure to send out a reminder for folks to complete the survey. You can also mention it to families as they pick up or drop off their children.  Find that balance between reminding and pestering.  Show genuine appreciation when surveys are completed.

You may decide to boost engagement with a prize of some sort that is given at random to someone who has completed the survey.  With permission, announce these prize winners on social media, on lobby signage, or in an upcoming program communication or newsletter.

Ensuring anonymity can also boost returns, so consider the benefits of gathering feedback without names attached.

 

For the main article Measuring and Boosting Satisfaction, CLICK HERE

For the article Questions to Ask, CLICK HERE

For the article Responding to Feedback, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Measuring Teacher Satisfaction, CLICK HERE

November 2022 Newsletter – Measuring and Boosting Satisfaction

Measuring and Boosting Satisfaction

In business, it is quite common for companies to measure customer satisfaction as one way to evaluate the health of the organization.  Evaluating customer satisfaction is a way to determine whether the product or service you provide meets the needs and expectations of your customers.  Dissatisfied customers will take their business elsewhere. This is certainly bad for business but in the child care industry, the impact is much greater.

Yes, customer satisfaction increases family engagement and retention, which impacts a program’s bottom line.  However, the number one reason child care professionals (at every level) should be concerned with customer satisfaction relates to what research tells us about the importance of consistency for young children.

Children build strong bonds with their caregivers in early learning programs. These attachments support the development of strong social and emotional milestones. When these bonds are broken due to changes in a child’s enrollment status, that development can be impacted.

By gathering and analyzing satisfaction data, programs can determine whether issues that arise are due to one-off incidents or part of a larger, underlying problem that requires attention. In this month’s newsletter, we will explore ways that both educators and program administrators can assess satisfaction in an effort to create stable, consistent learning environments for young children and their families.

Don’t wait for a bad review to start measuring satisfaction.  Get started today with some of the ideas we explore in this edition of the CCEI newsletter.

 

For the article Gathering Feedback, CLICK HERE

For the article Questions to Ask, CLICK HERE

For the article Responding to Feedback, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Measuring Teacher Satisfaction, CLICK HERE