Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How to Create Effective 360 Degree Performance Appraisals


 In more than 35 years in the nonprofit sector, I have yet to meet a supervisor or manager who loves doing employee performance appraisals! One reason for this is that one person (the supervisor or manager) is required to “think-up” all the positive areas for feedback and recall any areas of concern that must be addressed for 10 or more employees year after year. Then there are the forms to be completed, meetings to be coordinated and documentation to be prepared. 360-degree performance appraisals are one way to reduce reliance on one or two peoples’ recall of a whole year of employee activities and performance. They are no less time consuming (in fact, a 360-degree appraisal may initially take a bit more time), but they are arguably the most effective way to provide well-rounded and complete feedback for employees in key roles in the organization.


Step #1 Create a task force or committee to plan the new appraisal process, draft necessary policies to guide its use and pilot the process with several employees before rolling it out to a larger group. Ensure the group develops written Terms of Reference to clarify its tasks and time-lines. Click here to download a free Terms of Reference Template. http://www.silvercreekpress.ca/resources/

Step #2 Identify key positions in your organization that warrant using the 360 degree process. This should include all supervisors and managers. It may also include people in key administrative and coordination roles. It should also include anyone in direct service roles who do not have frequent contact with their supervisor (e.g., employees who work nights, in outreach roles or show are geographically isolated).

Step #3 Develop a master list of questions. This list should include 25-50 questions that cover all the important areas for feedback for a broad range of positions. The list may be segmented into headings such as direct services, communication, supervision/leadership, community relations, teamwork, administrative etc.  During an appraisal, questions are selected from the list that are appropriate to be used with each group of stakeholders who are part of the employee’s 360 degree circle.

Step #4 Decide on the methods for gathering feedback for each group of stakeholders. This may include a brief (5 to 10 question) survey (paper or online to protect anonymity and confidentiality); individual interviews (confidential but not anonymous – most often used with people who have communication barriers, disabilities or limited literacy).

Step #5 Determine how employees will participate in self-evaluation. The simplest way is to use the master list of questions and   select up to 10 that seem relevant to both the employee and his/her supervisor or manager. It is a good idea for some/all of these questions to be the same as the questions asked of others who are invited to participate in the employee’s appraisal.

Step #6 Determine if the feedback will be anonymous or owned. Anonymous means that people giving feedback will not be required to identify themselves - increasing both the number of people willing to participate and the likelihood they will provide ‘honest’ comments. There is a downside, however, to anonymity. Serious concerns (e.g. an allegation of wrong- doing) cannot be investigated, confirmed and resolved unless the source of the feedback is known. Anonymity allows people to make unfair or untrue comments without any accountability for their actions.

Step #7 Determine who will receive and summarize the feedback. This may be the immediate supervisor of each employee. It could be a manager or someone in a human resource position who coordinates all appraisals. It should NEVER be the employees themselves. This violates the important rule of maintaining confidentiality during the appraisal process.

Step #8 Develop comprehensive guidelines for administering the new 360 degree process. These draft guidelines will be tested in your pilot phase with 3 to 5 employees who volunteer to help the committee refine the new system. Guidelines should include how many people will be selected to provide feedback (10 is sufficient, which may mean inviting 15 or more people to participate), what stakeholder groups will be invited to participate (see graphic below), how will the new system be communicated to all employees, how will surveys be distributed, who will do interviews if they are necessary, who will receive the raw feedback to be summarized, what are the time-lines for each step in the process, how and who will meet with the employee &  how the feedback about the process will be solicited and integrated to improve the system in the future.

Step #9 Pilot the new 360 degree process. The pilot should include at least 3 and as many as 10 people who are in various types of positions within the organization. Invite at least one manager, one supervisor, one administrative staff and one direct service staff. Participation in the pilot must be voluntary.

Step #10 Evaluate the Process. Create a short survey for everyone (employees and stakeholders) to provide their feedback and comments on the process, forms, time-lines etc. Make adjustments to the process before implementing it fully within your organization. 
  

Friday, August 8, 2014

10 Tips – The Social Media Buffet: Something For Everyone

This blog post is far (far!) outside my area of expertise, so I invited social media and communication expert, Starr Durrant to be our guest author.
In 2014, not using social media is like not having a telephone in the 1970’s or deciding not to sign-up for the Internet in the 1990’s. If you feel mystified about exactly how social media could benefit your organization and confused about where to start then join the club and read on to discover how to get started.

Social Media refers to forums through which we can share information, network and connect with others. Some of the most familiar types include, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin Blogs, and Pinterest.  For a quick and easy overview of the most popular social media sites and what they have to offer view What are the key differences between the big 6 social media platforms? by Success Matters.

(Image Via LinkedIn.com)


Tip #1 Find The Right Fit. Social media does not have to be all or nothing – knowing what the benefits and time commitments are for each type of social media will help you to determine which if any options are the right fit for you. Visit Is Social Media for Everyone?

Tip #2 Do Your Homework. Don’t be afraid to ask other agencies what the costs, benefits and drawbacks have been for them. There are also many wonderful resources and training options. A few hours of reading could save you a lot of time and money. Check out: Social Media Toolkit by idealware.

Tip #3 Set Goals. Why are you pursuing social media? Is to attract new potential employees or volunteers, to increase donations, or to broaden public awareness of your organization and its services? Being clear on what you want to achieve is key to choosing the right social media options. Goals, Objectives, and Setting Your Social Media Radar on Success by Social Media Today How to Set Sensible Social Media Goals and Objectives by ExactTarget

Tip #4 Integrate Communication Strategies. Traditional communication strategies like email newsletters are still important ways to share information with your target audience. Email newsletters, your agency website, and social media efforts should be integrated. For example, share your newsletter on social media and add links to your social media in your newsletter.  View 9 Ways to Integrate Email and Social Media Marketing.

Tip #5 Don’t Let Your Posts Go Unseen. One of the challenges organizations have to contend with on social media site like is how fast posts get buried by incoming new posts. It makes a big difference if you know when your followers are online. On Twitter, consider trying Tweriod – a tool that analyzes your tweets and your followers’ tweets so you know the best time and day of the week to tweet to obtain the highest visibility for your content.  On your Facebook page you can go to the Insights dashboard, click on the Posts tab, and select “When Your Fans Are Online.”

Tip #6 Visually Inspire Your Audience. Video`s shared on social media sites are an excellent way to stand out and educate viewers about your organization. A video allows viewers insight into to your initiatives and the people you serve. One road block for many organizations is the cost or expertise required to make a video but don`t let that stop you. Website tools like “Animoto for a Cause” gives non-profit organizations full use of their services absolutely free and allows you to create amazing, professional-quality videos using your own photos and music. Distribute videos widely posting and sharing on websites, YouTube and social networks, or downloading them to DVD for distribution at events.

Tip #7 Have a Policy for Employees and Social Media Use. You may have concerns about a number of issues related to social media including employees airing their grievances and using work time for their own social media endeavours. Having policy in place and ensuring options for unhappy staff resolved issues can help avoid some of these issues. Here are four great links to help you sort out the policy challenges.

Should Employees Be Allowed To Vent About Work Over Social Media? By Work.com

Should You Allow Your Staff to Use Social Media at Work? Benefits to the Psyche of EmployeesYahoo Voices

How To Set A Social Media Policy That Won’t Get Your Employees Fired by Work.com

Social media and discipline and grievances by ACAS

Tip #8 Measure Your Success. Social media offers great ways to share your initiatives, seek donations, recruit new employees or volunteers and connect with clients, families and supporters. Measuring the return on your investment of time and money with social media should be part of your social media program. Visit Tools for Measuring Your Social Media Efforts to learn more about the tools that can assist you measure your success.

Tip #9 Recruiting Future Employees or Volunteers Means Reaching Local Audiences.
It’s great if you have 1000 people linked to your social media network but if 900 of them aren’t local then it might not be worth the time and effort you’ve expended. One way to attract local audiences is by “liking” or “connecting” with local groups or individuals. Consider requesting your staff to share recruitment opportunities on their own social media sites. Using Social Media as an Effective Recruitment Tool for Nonprofits by nonprofit HR
Volunteer Recruitment and Social Media by Innovation For People Blog

Tip #10 Plan Your Social Media Budget. Many Social Media sites are free. However staff time to administer a social media initiative is a real cost. Set an annual budget for start-up and ongoing management of your social media activities. Here are three articles with more information on budgeting.

3 Best Practises For Creating a Social Media Budget by Media Orchard

How Much Should You Spend On Your Social Media Budget by viralheat

10 Variables For Social Media Marketing by Social Media Fuze

Starr Durrant is the Website Manager at the AASCF and spends much of her time searching for and distributing resources to support individuals in the nonprofit human service sector.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tips for Surveying Staff Satisfaction – Part 3

October 7th marked the release of my sixth book entitled “Following the Leader – Executive Succession for Your Nonprofit” Please visit our website for to check out the Table of Contents and Sample Chapter.



Tips for Surveying Staff Satisfaction – Part 3


This is the third of three blog posts covering a total of ten powerful tips for surveying employee engagement or satisfaction. The term “employee engagement” appears to be replacing “staff satisfaction” in much of the human resource literature. However, a leopard doesn’t change its spots! Staff satisfaction surveys and employee engagement surveys usually cover the same turf. Employee satisfaction is the single most important factor that determines future employee retention. Satisfaction (or morale or engagement) is a measurable outcome of your management, administrative and supervisory practices and policies.

Conducting regular (annual is recommended) surveys of employee satisfaction is a recommended “best practice” in nonprofit organizations. When did your agency conduct its last survey? Is it time for another one?

Tip # 8 Use electronic survey response systems. I’m a fan of SurveyMonkey which is easy to use, cost effective and helps reassure people that their responses are confidential and anonymous. Remember that not everyone has access to a computer nor is everyone comfortable using one. This means that you will need to make paper surveys available in addition to electronic surveys.

Tip # 9 A response rate of at least 50% of all employees is necessary for you to have confidence that the results are representative of all employees in the organization. Offer incentives (a $5.00 gift card) for employees who complete  and return their surveys.

Tip # 10 Quality data analysis and summary of the results makes or breaks all surveys. If you don’t have a math whiz on staff, consider contracting with an external consultant or project staff to ensure that all our hard work designing your survey is rewarded to a top notch summary of the results.

Contact Paula at [email protected] for more information on how we can help you with your next Employee Satisfaction Survey! 



Monday, November 11, 2013

Tips for Surveying Staff Satisfaction – Part 2

October 7th marked the release of my sixth book entitled “Following the Leader – Executive Succession for Your Nonprofit” Please visit our website for to check out the Table of Contents and Sample Chapter.

Tips for Surveying Staff Satisfaction – Part 2 


This is the second of three blog posts covering a total of ten powerful tips for surveying employee engagement or satisfaction. The term “employee engagement” appears to be replacing “staff satisfaction” in much of the human resource literature. However, a leopard doesn’t change its spots! Staff satisfaction surveys and employee engagement surveys usually cover the same turf. Employee satisfaction is the single most important factor that determines future employee retention. Satisfaction (or morale or engagement) is a measurable outcome of your management, administrative and supervisory practices and policies.

Conducting regular (annual is recommended) surveys of employee satisfaction is a recommended “best practice” in nonprofit organizations. When did your agency conduct its last survey? Is it time for another one?


Tip # 4 Your survey should include 50 to 75 questions. This creates sufficient detail to make your data meaningful and useful. A 50 item survey will take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

Tip # 5 Use words that personalize your questions. For example, “When a problem arises in my team it is usually resolved successfully.” Or, “I have access to my supervisor when I need her/him.” Or, “The constructive feedback I receive helps me do my job better.”

Tip # 6 Use a consistent response scale. Four or five point scales are most popular. A four point scale (1 = strongly disagree to 4 = strongly agree) has no neutral response. A five point scale (3= Neutral) allows people who are not sure some middle ground.

Tip # 7 When sorting through the hundreds of possible questions to include in your survey, ask yourselves one simple question: “If we have the answer to this question, how will we use the information (data) to help us improve?” Curiosity kills the cat … and surveys that are cluttered with questions that are meaningless are a waste of time. Remember the old phrase, “Garbage in = garbage out!”

Contact Paula at [email protected] for more information on how we can help you with your next Employee Satisfaction Survey! 



Monday, November 4, 2013

Tips for Surveying Staff Satisfaction - Part 1

October 7th marked the release of my sixth book entitled “Following the Leader – Executive Succession for Your Nonprofit” Please visit our website for to check out the Table of Contents and Sample Chapter.


Tips for Surveying Staff Satisfaction - Part 1  

This is the first of three blog posts covering a total of ten powerful tips for surveying employee engagement or satisfaction. The term “employee engagement” appears to be replacing “staff satisfaction” in much of the human resource literature. However, a leopard doesn't change its spots! Staff satisfaction surveys and employee engagement surveys usually cover the same turf. Employee satisfaction is the single most important factor that determines future employee retention. Satisfaction (or morale or engagement) is a measurable outcome of your management, administrative and supervisory practices and policies.
Conducting regular (annual is recommended) surveys of employee satisfaction is a recommended “best practice” in nonprofit organizations. When did your agency conduct its last survey? Is it time for another one?

Tip # 1 Ensure your survey reassures people of the anonymity and confidentiality of their responses. Supervisors and managers should not have access to and should never see individual’s survey responses. Hiring an external consultant or project staff will ensure confidentiality. Managers should see only the summarized responses for their department and the summary for the entire organization.

Tip # 2 Ask demographic questions first. These describe where the employee works, how long they have been employed, hours of work etc. It is essential that your survey ask respondents to identify the department, unit or division where work. This question should be mandatory. It is the only way for managers/supervisors to receive feedback for their specific workgroups.

Tip # 3 Group your survey questions around themes such as: compensation (wages, benefits, overtime worked etc.), professional development or training, communication, respect, teamwork, problem solving, performance management, working conditions and tools to do the job, supervisory/management support etc.

Contact Paula at [email protected] for more information on how we can help you with your next Employee Satisfaction Survey!