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Culinary arts is just one of UTEC’s social enterprises that will benefit from the Listen for Good initiative. Photo by Teri Bonatti.

UTEC is part of an initiative called “Listen for Good,” a project sponsored by the Fund for Shared Insight. This initiative focuses on helping nonprofits get “constituent feedback,” to improve the services we provide. At UTEC, we were excited to be invited to be part of this initiative, since it taps into two of our core values: using data to inform continuous improvement, and giving the youth we serve a voice to help shape their own growth and development.

Listen for Good uses the Net Promoter System (NPS), a feedback assessment used in the business sector to assess customer loyalty. NPS involves asking key beneficiaries to rate how likely they are to recommend the organization to a friend or colleague on a scale of 1-10.

This question is then followed up with an additional open-ended question to get more information about why the individual gave the rating they did. These explanations can help the organization to understand what works well and what could be done better.

We have done one round of the NPS survey so far with youth in our workforce programming. We are finding a range of net promoter scores, which is a good thing: it means that our young people feel comfortable giving both positive and critical feedback, and give us a range of perspectives from which we can learn. We were not surprised to see this range, as we have found our youth are not afraid to tell us what they think!

One interesting trend we are seeing is that younger participants tend to provide more critical reviews than their older peers. The program and evaluation teams have our own theories on this, which we look forward to digging into further.

The primary goal, though, is not just to get the feedback, but to then learn from it. And perhaps most importantly, the goal is to close the feedback loop with youth who have given the feedback, to show them that their input has been heard and is being used to improve their experiences with us.

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UTEC’s woodworking social enterprise program. Photo by Teri Bonatti.

We plan to share the results with our Youth Advisory Council to help inform changes to our workforce programming. We make significant changes to the program each year, informed in large part by our young people’s feedback. These have included: more youth choice in the work uniform; faster turnaround on paychecks (i.e., less time between the days worked and when youth are paid); and opportunities for those who have progressed to higher workforce levels to mentor their newly-enrolled peers.

Here at UTEC we firmly believe that regular feedback and continuous improvement is not an occasional event but rather a serious and ongoing process, which we embrace.

 

 

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Source: Lowell Sun