Equality and Equity
How Listening to Feedback Can Improve Your Organization
Every organization should strive to treat its clients fairly. This statement is such common sense that it almost seems redundant to put into words. However, it’s important to unpack, because the way you interpret it plays a huge role in how effectively your organization serves people.
Many organizations strive to treat the people they serve equally. The thinking goes that if everyone receives the same treatment, then everyone has been treated fairly. This is problematic, however, because people have different needs. In order for people to be treated fairly, organizations have to establish equity.
To illustrate the difference between equality and equity, imagine that you’re in charge of ordering pizza for an event. You decide to order a ton of pepperoni pizzas. All guests have access to the same food and there is more than enough to go around. Your guests have been treated equally.
Problems arise, however, if pepperoni pizza is not suitable food for every guest. Some people might not like eating it. Some guests may be vegan or vegetarian. Some may have medical conditions preventing them from eating pepperoni pizza, like Celiac disease, lactose intolerance, or allergies. To feed all of your guests, you have to be aware of these issues, and you have to find acceptable alternatives for them to eat. By doing so, you ensure your guests are treated equitably.
You will miss out on crucial details if you do not listen to the voices of the people your organization serves
Equity is more difficult to establish than equality. While you may be able to come up with some of these differences through your own expertise, you will miss out on crucial details if you do not listen to the voices of the people your organization serves. In the example above, if you never ask your guests whether they have a problem with pepperoni pizza, you would never know. And moreover, when you do ask, it allows you to also ask for solutions. (Perhaps, for example, there’s a suitable gluten-free vegan pizza that many people can eat.) Listening, then, becomes the first step in establishing equity.
So how can organizations listen to their clients? Gathering consistent and reliable feedback, let alone implementing it, can be difficult. Surveys are the traditional method of gathering feedback. One-time surveys can be excellent for establishing a baseline of differing needs, but for equity to be maintained, the surveys have to be continuous. Additionally, gathering groups of people for surveys can introduce bias (skewed towards those who are willing and able to gather). After the survey is conducted, sorting through the responses is time-consuming, and transforming individual responses into effective policy for different client groups can be even more difficult.
With Pulse for Good, your organization can listen more effectively. Pulse ensures that data gathering is continuous, removing the need for scheduled surveys. The anonymity offered by the kiosks allows those who may otherwise feel vulnerable to add their voices to the group your organization listens to (reducing the aforementioned bias). This allows you to get a feel for how your organization is treating different client groups it serves in real-time. With Pulse for Good, listening to feedback is easier than ever, making your services more equitable and fair.