Thursday, August 7, 2008

what if the clients did the performance evaluations part two!

Two nights ago I had a long talk with mr. nice guy about the clients doing performance evaluations. He was busy making a list of things he thinks need improving and trying to get some ideas on paper, and when he asked for my ideas I was totally ready to give him some!

He agrees with me, which was nice, because it means someone else in the organization is thinking the way I do and I'm not crazy. Unfortunately, he realizes the same struggles that I do with making it all work...I was hoping he'd have the answers! We talked about how empowering it is to say to the "your feedback matters", "we care about what you think". We talked about the fact that when we treat the clients as if they matter and have opinions then they are more likely to treat us as if we matter and have opinions (ie respect us). If treat the clients like animals, or consumers using up free services, then it only makes sense that they are going to "behave like animals".

We talked about the fact that realistically we don't get performance evaluations at all. He's been there five years and thinks he might have had 1. I'm not expecting any. That of course is the first challenge towards getting things in place. The second challenge though, which is a big one, is literacy and the fact that many of our clients don't read and write. That means to administer something like this it has to be verbal, so who does that... management? I mean, I guess, but are the clients really going to talk to them? Who would the clients talk to? It's hard to know. An anonymous suggestion box would work for those who are literate, I mean, we'd get spam as well, but who doesn't. It also isn't quite as targeted. Although, how do you get targeted feedback.

In any case, mr. nice guy wrote it on his list, and so now there are two of us thinking about it and possibly more. We'll see what happens. It something I'm not going to forget about, and will keep advocating for whenever I have the chance.


antiSWer said...

I think it's great that its on the table. And yes, people who can't read or write does provide a challenge. My only ideas are a computer administered feedback, or volunteers reading the questions. I'd be worried about management doing it.

Still Dreaming said...

I was thinking about the volunteer thing to. It seems like a really good idea. My only concern is trust, and the time it takes to develop it. I think it would have to be a really long term project... maybe some social work students... I would have been totally on board with helping an organization do something like that. In fact, i still would.