Fariha Raisa, Feedback Labs | April 14, 2023
A federally designated pass-through entity for refugee resettlement funding, Kentucky Office for Refugees – Catholic Charities of Louisville, recently started the Kentucky Refugee Voice Project. The project is a statewide survey of refugees, orchestrated to understand their level of satisfaction across various domains. The Catholic Charities of Louisville (CCOL) recruits bilingual enumerators to assist in building the survey tool, administering it, and providing feedback. Enumerators also work to design and facilitate focus groups in their first language. The CCOL then uses the results of the surveys and the focus groups to guide their funding decisions and program priorities in the future.
The Kentucky Refugee Voice Project was initially supposed to last a few months, but it is now in its second year. Due to the unexpected longevity of the Refugee Voice Project, it has been difficult to recruit and retain enumerators for different language groups and make meaningful data out of the representative sample size. This has caused a halt in future actions and a delay in closing the feedback loop. The LabStorm, consequently, focused on best practices for feedback success with special emphasis on retainment of enumerators through successful relationship building.
- Closing the feedback loop. Attendees turned their focus on communication design and suggested communicating upfront as much as possible for setting expectations. They recommended setting a timeline for when the information will be shared and to follow through even if the update is just sharing that plans have changed. Communicating back to people would demonstrate that their feedback is relevant and prioritized. If any action steps were taken based on the feedback received, those changes would help signify that voices are heard and valued. It reflects the commitment of The Kentucky Refugee Voice Project and helps build credibility by being transparent. Being communicative and transparent with all the project stakeholders about the state of the project would be a major step towards a closed feedback loop.
- Mechanisms for feedback success. Setting boundaries was deemed imperative for ensuring a sustainable feedback practice. Being clear about what areas can and cannot be influenced by the feedback helps give a transparent perspective. The framework could include who is involved, what could be controlled, the partners engaged in the work and the sphere of specialty. An important distinction was made between Individual feedback and institutional feedback where The Kentucky Refugee Voice Project could address the interviewer impact as individual feedback even if the institutional feedback requires time to implement changes.
- Building meaningful relationships. To encourage retention of enumerators, they could be given the option to take a break or a pause instead of leaving. Another option could be offering a rotation for several months instead of leaving the project altogether. Moreover, their knowledge could be leveraged to train and integrate the new staff. Exit interviews were suggested to be used as a space for learning and collecting feedback from the enumerators.
The discussion ended with the advice of learning from resettlement projects in other states. There was emphasis to take the step is to get more meaningful feedback on the project and the opportunity to build on it. Ensuring that people feel a part of the community and reminding the interviewers who have left that the space still remains safe for feedback can help sustain the project.
Learn More About LabStorms
LabStorms are collaborative problem-solving sessions designed to help organizations tackle feedback-related challenges or share what’s working well in their practice.
Presenters leave the experience with honest, actionable feedback and suggestions to improve their feedback processes and tools.
To learn more about participating in a virtual LabStorm, please visit feedbacklabs.org/labstorms.