Gathering staff feedback is the first step on your journey to school improvement and a positive school culture; the second step is acting on it. In order for staff to truly feel as though their opinions are valid and appreciated, leadership need to take action on the insight they are privy to as a result of feedback. Although, this being said, it is not always feasible or logical to act on every piece of feedback you receive from your teachers. This article explores how to prioritise feedback and tactics you can implement to ensure all your team are kept happy, even if their ideas aren’t being actioned.
1) Showing appreciation
It can be a hard battle actually getting your staff to speak up when it comes to asking their opinion on school initiatives despite the benefits it can have on them. That’s why, when you do receive feedback - regardless of whether it’s actionable, negative or out of budget, it’s paramount that you show your appreciation for receiving it, otherwise teachers can become reluctant to share their opinions.
2) Act on it
Parallel to showing your appreciation for teacher participation, is actually working their ideas into your wider school improvement plans. Simply providing feedback and showing your thanks is not enough, staff need to see that their ideas are considered. These can be strategic wins that will keep your team happy in the short term whilst you work in the background on longer term plans. If your team are requesting initiatives that can be actioned immediately such as investing in nicer coffee for the staff room or ensuring they can all leave on time on a Friday, implement these first . These quick wins show staff you’re listening to their suggestions and also buy you time whilst you work on more complex initiatives that will work toward wider whole-school improvement.
Of course, not every suggestion you receive from your team is going to be something you can or want to implement, but for the feedback that is relevant and actionable it’s important to prioritise it in a way that is logical but will also show you’re taking action and keep your team happy. Looking at the volume of requests for certain initiatives will give you a clear indication of what changes are most desired, then sorting them into short, middle and long term goals can help you create a timeline of when changes could be seen. However, with every suggestion and piece of feedback you receive from staff, it’s up to you to assess whether or not the it is valid and will help your school to achieve the success it’s searching for, even if this means dismissing a highly popular request.
4) Broaden horizons
Ultimately, by listening to staff feedback you’re able to work better as a team and implement actions that will work for the greater good of the school. The beauty of encouraging collaboration and involvement from staff is that you get a real and honest view of their thoughts and feelings on ways the school can improve and current processes - as well as new ideas that will benefit your whole-team that you previously may not have thought of. It’s also a prime opportunity for you to get insight into your team and identify who has leadership skills that can be fostered.
Your team are your greatest asset for school improvement, by listening to them you not only allow them an outlet for their views, you gain a new perspective on existing practices as well as implement changes that your staff want in turn improving their happiness, making for a more positive school culture.