Engaging employees in intentional conversations is always a good idea, and can be especially powerful in the first 90 days of employment. The Edgerton School District (ESD), located in southern Wisconsin, uses rounding and 30/90-day conversations with employees to systematically make all voices count.
ESD leaders engage with new employees in an intentional “interview” after 30 days and again after 90 days of employment. These conversations follow a protocol to open dialogue about the onboarding process that harvests successes and identifies any additional support the employee needs. Feedback from the conversations helps leaders identify key actions to retain the employee in the new role and recognize those who have supported the employee’s success. The district’s focused efforts are resulting in high levels of employee retention.
ESD leaders showcased their results at the Gallery Walk during our 2017 What’s Right in Education conference in Chicago. They elaborated on the results of their 30/90-day conversation process:
What are your results?
30/90-day conversations have been very positive. After each conversation, an expectation is for administration to share positive comments with other staff members. This practice is very rewarding for administration and staff.
Over time, themes have developed from staff feedback gathered during the conversations. These themes have been used to make improvements at all levels of the organization.
For example, we evolved safety practices at the district level. We have seen similar changes at the building level. Using the feedback to make improvements validates the 30/90-day conversation process and shows employees their voices are heard.
What have you learned?
We have learned there is a lot of positivity and appreciation for each other and the work we do as educators. The 30-day questions elicit clear input and feedback regarding challenges, but they also do a great job of eliciting positive information about the organization and our colleagues.
Through these conversations, we are able to positively impact our school climate, improve practices, and retain valuable new members of our team.
When you find the time to consistently converse with employees, you can uncover important information about what is working well and what needs improvement at your organization. Not only does the organization benefit, but so do the employees. New employees especially appreciate the opportunity to talk with leaders as they contribute to improvement in both the processes and the culture of your organization. Our advice? Calendar these important employee conversations now to ensure a positive impact for you and your team.
Dr. Melissa Matarazzo, Studer Education℠