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Employee Review

The way traditional performance reviews are conducted seems counter to Christian school culture.  In the corporate world transactional data is often the key performance indicator (number of widgets made, number of customers served, number of widget sold, etc.).  When a Christian school uses transactional data as a success indicator, it dehumanizes the people it serves.  The students’ test scores and number of students served become more important than the students’ life-long success.  The dollars in the donors’ wallets become more important than the desires of the donors’ hearts.

Corporations use bonuses in part to motivate workers to achieve more.  For a Christian school, it makes more sense to use the job as the motivation and reward rather than money diverted from student services (mission-centric activities).

If the job is going to be the motivation and the reward, the focus of the annual review must change.  Use transformational data and activities, rather than transactional data, as the measure of employee success.

Using transformational data makes sense.  Your mission statement promises to solve an important problem by transforming the lives of your students. Your donors support your school because they want and expect a transformation to take place.  Your students enroll because they want their lives transformed.  Your staff works for your school because they are passionate about helping students transform.  It makes sense to align your staff’s career success with the data that is important to the success of your mission, the success of your students, the desires of your community, the reason for donor support, and the passion of your staff.  Besides, you and your employees will find it more enjoyable to talk about the way lives were changed rather than the number of students who were served.

Someone will undoubtedly suggest that transforming a life is a team activity; therefore, it is unfair or impossible to hold one person responsible.  Of course, that is true but everything that goes on inside a Christian school is part of a team effort.  Everyone has an individual role and contribution to make.  It is the employee’s role in the transformation that is being assessed; each person should have a direct involvement in the transformation.

Most Christian schools are part of the human services sector of our economy. It makes sense for schools to humanize performance reviews (focus on the transformational measures).

Next Step:

Emphasize the transformational activities of your staff instead of the transactional activities

Use staff motivation and engagement as an indication that each staff member’s passion is aligned with their success criteria

Create a direct link between the transformation the staff member is responsible for and the transformation that donors, students, and the community want

It is easier to manage things that are measured.  In addition, staff members set their priorities based upon which of their actions and activities are being measured.  When the emphasis switches to transformational data, you will find it easier to manage the impact of your mission.  You will also find that your programming becomes more effective because your staff will be focused on what makes the programming effective.  The alignment of expectations with the mission will also add another layer of sincerity to your school’s commitment to your mission and students.  With that will come a more supportive response from your donors, community, and volunteers.  As always, with increased success comes increased sustainability.

You can make every job engaging, inspiring, and fulfilling (its own reward) by focusing the performance review on transformational data.

Take It Further:

What other changes can you make to help reinforce the ‘human’ services part of your school?

How can your board change the way it assesses the contribution of the board members to be transformational in focus?

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