Thursday, August 27, 2015

Staff Evaluation Of Me

Last spring I read Work Rules by Laszlo Bock, who's the Senior VP of People Operations (Human Resources) at Google. It was an interesting read in many ways, but one particular take away for me was the need to ask more directly for feedback. Like everyone I, of course, get informal day-to-day feedback from the folks I work with, and more formal feedback from my supervising administrator. But that's not the same as specifically asking for feedback, so I decided to ask my colleagues to complete a google form at the beginning of this school year. (I've also posted a link to a Google Form for student feedback for me several places around the building but, so far, I only have one response. If I get some more I'll share that as well.)

When I sat down to create the form I quickly got into the weeds. I wanted specific feedback, yet when I tried writing specific questions I ran into two problems. I felt like the questions were both too "leading" and too "limiting", and to get at everything I wanted feedback on required so many questions that it made the survey way too long. So I eventually decided on a few open-ended questions that I hoped would get me some decent feedback but make the survey short enough that people would complete it.

Here's a screenshot of the survey.

Based on the suggestions in the book and some other things I've read, I decided to go with a simple ranking of 1 to 7, one question on what I do well, one on what I can improve on, and then the usual "anything else they want to add." I was hoping that this would give them enough to give me some valuable feedback without getting too specific or too long. The downside, of course, is that's it's not very specific. They could take it anonymously or give me their name if they wanted to.

Here are the results. This is an exact copy of the actual results, except for the optional name column. In that column I replaced anyone's name with an asterisk for their confidentiality. So, as you look at that column, a blank space indicates that it was an anonymous response and an asterisk that they gave their name. (I received 62 responses. We have about 115 certified staff and about 40 classified staff.)
I think there are a couple of caveats (at least) to keep in mind when looking at these results. First, I think they will tend to skew positive, both because people who were ready to say nice things were more likely to take the time to complete the survey, and just because educators are generally nice. Second, I think you can't read too much into the results (positive or negative) because the questions were so open-ended. I think that's a trade-off I had to make, but still something to keep in mind.

So, I have my own thoughts on what the results mean, but I think I'll keep them to myself for now, because I'd love to hear what other people see in the results without influencing your thinking. So please leave your thoughts in the comments - it would probably be most helpful if you would focus particularly on the "things I could do better column", but all of it is fair game.

10 comments:

  1. For more than a year, I've been meaning to put together a form like yours and link it in my email signature. Would you be willing to let me take your questions and modify it a little bit?

    Also - happy new year!

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    1. Absolutely. Share back modified questions when done?

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    2. Deal. But they won't change much I suspect. Thanks!

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  2. Hey Karl,
    I've done two of this type of "360 feedback" in five years as a central office guy and so in turn can appreciate how you've put yourself out there by doing it as well.

    I noted a few people that loved your humor/sarcasm while others felt it was over the top. Did you read a similar theme and if so, how do you reconcile it?

    Finally, it appears as though many of your colleagues appreciate your efficient and knowledgable support. Kudos to you!

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    1. @Matt - Yes, I definitely see a similar theme, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I think that's a pretty basic part of my personality and clearly some folks love that, but just as clearly it annoys some people. A lot. I think the difference may be between people who perceive it as humor (good), and those that perceive it as sarcasm (bad). Personally, I think it's humor most of the time, but I think I need to do a better job of making that clear.

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  3. Marley Smith8/28/15, 9:20 AM

    Karl,
    First off, I want to say that you are very brave! Your insights into the lack of specificity is right-on. When I ask my colleagues for feedback, I always give them a lens to view the work/behavior I'm inquiring about. May I suggest that you give a broad category for the respondents to leave a comment (e.g. timeliness, professionalism, communication, etc.). These categories should correspond to the things you value most about your role in the organization - your non-negotiables.

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    1. Thanks Marley. I really struggled with that when setting this up, both because I didn't want it to be too long and because I worry about "directing" their responses too much. I want them to be able to tell me what they think is important, not necessarily limit them to the categories I think are important.

      So, I think the feedback was helpful, but nowhere near perfect. Hopefully I'll find a good middle ground the next time.

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  4. Mr. Fisch,

    I am currently pursuing a masters of art in teaching and I found your Self Evaluation very insightful. I liked your opened ended questions and as I reviewed the results I found what appeared to be a common thread in a few comments. Many of your fellow instructors commented on the challenges of adopting or mastering technology. Although this particular blog deals with the creation of a self survey I was curious if you would be using the results of this survey in your actual work environment? Specifically I was wondering how technology training might be improved so that your teachers might feel more comfortable with it? Again I appreciated reading your blog and I would be very grateful for any thoughts you might have on this question.

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  5. Erin Gschwind9/28/15, 10:32 PM

    As a current high school teacher pursuing my masters degree, I was referred to your blog to gain insight regarding technology and education. I commend you for putting yourself out there with this survey (seeking feedback is not always easy). This survey is not only a valuable way to get honest feedback from coworkers but it is also a good way to build trust and instill collaboration amongst a team. While the responses may not be specific, leaving them open-ended allows for coworkers to generate their own topics to include which is also valuable. 62/155 response rate is impressive in my opinion- how did you get so many people to respond? Also, I'd love to know your next step with this data.

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  6. Brandi Firman10/11/15, 7:37 PM

    Karl,
    Kudos to you for issuing this survey! I don't know if I would be as brave as you to ask for explicit feedback. Based on the wonderful things your staff has written, my sense is that they consider you to be an intelligent, helpful, witty, driven technological guru. Something else I gathered, however, is that a handful of your peers think you are intimidating and thus….unapproachable? In my opinion, it’s better be seen as brilliant than nice. :) Not saying you aren't nice (because many people have indicated that you are!) but is there anything wrong with being well-respected?? It is obvious that you care a lot about what you do otherwise people wouldn't be singing your praises as they are. Maybe your wisdom makes them feel less capable though. I look forward to reading your blog some more and hearing how you use the results of this survey!

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