On balancing authenticity, strategy and trust
Anna Jackson: One of the things that we’ve wrestled with is just making sure that people had trust enough to be able to give us quality feedback… They worry, “Oh is this going to come back on me if I make a negative comment? Is that somehow a negative reflection on me?” And so initially we really had to work hard to earn their trust in order to get sufficient responses, and be very clear that the data that we’re collecting was anonymous data. We had to make a decision: is it more important to us to have very little data and know exactly who it is? (And it’s probably going to be the people who are really happy and really mad.) Or is it more important to us to have better overall data with a little less ability to filter, but be able to be more strategic in our planning and in our followup?
Dr. Glenda Horner: We updated one of our surveys because we thought we were asking too many questions that would allow us to pinpoint the person on that campus… We want our folks to trust us. We want them to be able to give us honest answers and not think “Ooh, if I answered that demographic question, they may be able to pinpoint me and know that I’m the one who had something less than positive to say,” or whatever. So it’s really important in that trust cycle.
Carlye Norton, KickUp: To compromise and to find that middle ground can be as simple as putting very clear language on your surveys that explains what those questions are being used for. There are ways on the back end to ask for their email address, but only for the purposes of tying them to those demographic attributes — like what grade level are they in, what building, what content subjects, so that you can see those high-level trends, but you’re not connecting it with names. And it does mean that you may not be able to follow up with individual people for support, but it gives you that higher level context. It does require building trust — but even just talking about it openly and including that kind of messaging on the survey can go a long way in moving towards that trust level.