Possip Spotlight: Using Staff Pulse Checks to Inform Decision Making

Partner Spotlights / /
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This week’s Possip partner spotlight features a conversation with Teach for America Indianapolis Managing Director of Leadership Development, Brea Porter. Brea shares how TFA Indy has used Staff Pulse Checks to inform decision making. One of the primary ways they’ve encouraged participation in Pulse Checks is by letting their team know why they’re using Pulse Checks, and how they plan on leveraging their feedback and praise to drive decision making.

Read our Q&A with Brea to learn some strategies you can use to keep the feedback loop between your team and leadership transparent and open!

Possip: You mentioned you had a staff meeting to talk through how and why you are sending Pulse Checks to them. How did sharing your learning goals with your team increase their participation?

Historically, our organization has relied on lengthy quarterly surveys and frequent Google Survey forms to capture data about our member experience. Especially during the COVID-era, it seems like we started to push out more surveys than ever before just to get a read on how our people were doing. From the user perspective, it was perceived that we were constantly collecting input, but there was no through line that connected that input to the changes we were making for our organization. By sharing our POSSIP learnings with our network, they were able to see much more clearly how big of a role their input plays in both the day to day and long-term decisions our team makes. I believe this conversation allowed folks to truly feel heard, and demonstrated that their voices are valued by the decision-makers of our organization.

Possip: Has sharing findings and impressions from Pulse Checks with your staff been impactful?

Not only did sharing our findings from Pulse Checks increase the level of participation in general, but it allowed for our members to be a part of our decision making and planning processes. The accessibility and optional anonymity of Pulse Checks has allowed our folks to be vulnerable and engage in perhaps deeper, more thorough conversations than before. We’re able to gather insight from all perspectives, not just those who are willing and able to attend monthly focus-group meetings.

Possip: How did you go about doing this?

First, our leadership team had to get really clear on why we were collecting this data in the first place – what was our objective in having our members complete these Pulse Checks? Next, we wanted to make that reasoning available to our broader community, including offering a space for questions and comments to be shared. Then, we were finally able to share some of the insight we collected alongside how it has impacted our current planning, and what it could mean for us as an organization long term. Our members were appreciative of our level of transparency, and this conversation truly created a positive shift in our community culture.

Possip: What best practices or other takeaways would you share with other partners about staff Pulse Checks?

I think the advice we would offer is to be as intentional as possible about the Bonus Questions that you design for your Pulse Checks – they should feel timely and relevant to current context. Also, push yourself and others to be as transparent as possible about how the data you’ve been collecting has and will impact future planning and initiatives. From our experience, increasing that level of transparency with our members has increased member participation and strengthened our community.

Special thanks to Brea for the Q&A!