By Dr. Steven G. Rogelberg, Jack Flinchum, and Claire Mansfield, Shelter Employee Engagement and Development Survey (SeeDS), UNC Charlotte, and Jim Tedford, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement
The way we work in the animal welfare industry has changed significantly since the pandemic began in March. Whether it’s instituting new protocols and processes, navigating how to safely have the public and volunteers involved in shelters, or adjusting to new local or state mandates, these times are challenging. Many animal welfare organizations have been working hard to steer themselves in the right direction. However, there may be a critical source of information shelters are overlooking—their people.
As shelters navigate the new working world, animal welfare employees need an outlet to have their voices heard now more than ever. One proven way to do so is with the Shelter Employee Engagement and Development Survey, or SeeDS. Based on over a decade’s worth of data, SeeDS is an assessment tool designed specifically for animal shelters with a mission to leverage employee data to help shelters run more effectively. With potential concerns about running a survey during the pandemic, here are three reasons why running SeeDS now is more important than ever, guided by insight from an interview with The Association’s CEO, Jim Tedford.
Listen to The Association’s CEO, Jim Tedford, share his perspective on SeeDS with Jack Flinchum and Claire Mansfield
3 Reasons to Try The Shelter Employee Engagement & Development Survey
Employees need a voice, especially in hard times.
The pandemic has changed several work-related factors that directly impact how animal welfare employees do their jobs. While many shelters are doing their best to implement these changes, employees need a way to have their voices heard and their concerns addressed to make these changes work. As Jim put it, “Finding out how folks are feeling, how they’re doing, what’s making the world go around for your organization internally is critically important, and making changes as those changes are warranted is a sign of true leadership.”Hearing employee voices allows leaders to better understand where everyone is coming from and lets employees know their leaders are always considering their perspectives. In doing so, working through change becomes easier as everyone gets on the same page. SeeDS ensures these employee voices are heard.
It’s important to know where you’re at now more than ever.
Many shelters have struggled to find a clear path forward since the pandemic began. There is no playbook for how to handle the current situation. Though times may be hard, it’s important to know how the pandemic is affecting your organization, whether positively and/or negatively. From Jim’s perspective, “By asking the right questions and giving people a safe environment to answer them, you’re going to learn things that are really important to the functioning of the organization to make sure that your organization is in the best position to achieve its lifesaving mission. Without that, if you don’t ask, you’re never going to know.” The first step in fixing a problem is to realize that one exists—especially when some problems may not be readily apparent. SeeDS allows leaders to better understand the various facets of their organizations, tapping into areas such as communication, teamwork, stress and burnout, engagement, and perceptions of leadership. These insights can help leaders understand where they are at and how to move forward more effectively.
There never will be a “right” time.
A common question we get at SeeDS is, “When is the right time to conduct SeeDS at our organization?” The simple answer is there is no “right” time. As Jim mentioned, “It’s a very frenetic pace that we work at most of the time. So, if you wait for a perfect time to do it, you’re never going to do it.” The best way to understand where your organization stands is by taking the step to assess your employees. SeeDS captures a snapshot in time that can be used to gain insights about how your organization can effectively move forward. Whether these insights lead you to continue certain activities and practices or to alter others, the best way to know how to move forward is to see where you stand. SeeDS allows leaders to have more control over what future snapshots of their organization will look like by better understanding their current snapshot.
The Shelter Employee Engagement and Development Survey is an assessment tool designed to help private and public animal shelters run more effectively by surveying employees and making specific recommendations based on results related to engagement & development. We believe in the mantra,“The people make the place.” Dr. Rogelberg created SeeDS over 10 years ago, and then we have served hundreds of shelters and thousands of employees. Based on this history and compiled data, we have created extensive data-driven guidelines to help animal shelters run more effectively. This is the only survey of its kind specific to animal. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website to learn more.