One of the steps in the Evidence-Based Leadership process includes Studer Education assisting school and district leaders to analyze their school district with other school districts on common measures for workforce engagement, parent satisfaction, and service excellence. Earlier this week in our “How to Lead” post in What’s Right in Education we highlighted significant findings (p < .01) from one of our partner’s Employee Engagement survey.

The evidence-based continuous improvement flywheel serves as the centerpiece of our work with leaders and school districts and shows the need to drive performance to reach excellence. After each survey administration we offer “areas with most opportunity for improvement” based on the survey results and then follow-up in the following administration report. This is an example of what a school district receives as a follow-up:

The October 2011 Employee Engagement Survey Results Report documented that [the District] had the most opportunity to improve the following major areas based on responses from the October 2011 survey administration:

  1. All leaders must be more transparent in communicating why particularly difficult decisions (financial) are being made
  2. Leaders must focus on two way communication with employees to provide opportunity for employee input
  3. Employees want more specific feedback concerning their performance

In the May 2012 administration, there were increases in the overall mean for both financial-related items (item 1 above):

My principal/supervisor makes the best use of available funds (Mean increase from 4.00 to 4.12)

The superintendent manages district finances effectively. (Mean increase from 3.19 to 3.49)

Although all survey items relate in some way to communication (items 2 and 3 above) and each item mean increased between the October 2011 and May 2012 administrations, increases in the following communication-related items are highlighted below:

My principal/supervisor provides feedback on my strengths as an employee. (Mean increase from 4.00 to 4.03)

My principal/supervisor recognizes good performance. (Mean increase from 4.06 to 4.10)

My principal/supervisor provides feedback concerning areas for improving my performance. (Mean increase from 3.91 to 4.02)

The superintendent uses a variety of methods to promote effective communication throughout the district. (Mean increase from 3.66 to 3.88)

The hub of the performance-driven flywheel centers on “principles, pillar results, and passion. When leaders and organizations help employees reconnect to their passion to do worthwhile work, employees are inspired to put in place the principles that turn the flywheel faster and faster until it gains momentum that is unstoppable in achieving organizational goals.

In order to produce these evidence-based results, that is, the significant differences among the items above for a school district, we use the Evidence-Based Leadership Framework and the Continuous Improvement Flywheel Process to work with school leaders to build an evaluation process this is transparent to all stakeholder groups. This is the importance of including surveys, including the Employee Engagement survey; the ultimate goal is to produce better places for teachers to teach and employees to work, and improve student learning and parent satisfaction.



Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. To do this we teach teachers and leaders how to get the best student learning results and create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at to learn more about Studer Education’s parent satisfaction, employee engagement, and service excellence surveys. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.