SSA 360 Pilot Program
Apr 29, 2021


360-Feedback Pilot Side Letter Agreement

The County of Santa Clara (“County), the Social Services Agency (“SSA”), and CEMA(“Union”), collectively
referred to as the (“Parties”) have reached an Agreement over certain pending matters.
The following Agreement memorializes discussions related to Article 18- Performance Appraisal and
Development Process, and implementation of a 360-Feedack pilot program. This program is not a
modification of the Performance Appraisal, or a replacement for the current Performance Appraisal
Program, and will not be used for disciplinary purposes. The 360-Feedback is to be utilized as a tool for
career development for CEMA members who voluntarily choose to participate in the Pilot program.
The Pilot program shall be in effect from May 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021. This side-letter shall expire
on December 31, 2021 unless extended by mutual agreement of the parties or terminated at an earlier
date by mutual agreement of the parties, or lack of funding.
______________________ _________________________
Zeb Feldman Sandhya Hermon
Business Representative CEMA Deputy Director Program Support & Research
__________________________
Jeff Gaskill
Principal Labor Relations Representative

Implementing a 360-Feedback Pilot at SSA

Value of 360-feedback:

The 360-feedback process is a multi-rater feedback forum in which a person (ratee) receives
feedback on specific domains from those (raters) who work with the ratee. Raters typically
include one’s supervisor, direct reports, peers, and/or internal and external clients. The premise
underlying the 360 process is that the kind of feedback typically given to staff (i.e., from
supervisor down to staff) is not a comprehensive view of the staff person’s interactions and
performance. From a survey perspective, having multiple views on the same subject
strengthens the value and the validity of said feedback. While 360-feedback systems are widely
used in private industry for performance evaluation reasons, at the Social Services Agency
(SSA), the intention is to align the 360-feedback surveys with the larger framework of work
around improving the culture and climate at the agency.
Starting in 2017, SSA began the work to define its values and mission statement. This work was
done collaboratively with SSA’s extended management team. Through that process, SSA
defined three pillars (service; transformation; empowerment) and values (compassion;
responsiveness; innovation) to undergird its services to the public. Once identified, these pillars
and values were communicated to the agency in a variety of ways, and expectations that staff
behave in ways consistent with these values were also shared with management and staff.
While the work around establishing values that frame SSA work is vital, it is equally important
to develop a mechanism to measure whether these values have taken root at the agency, and
whether staff are behaving in ways consistent with these values. To tackle the issue of
measurement, SSA’s Program Support, Research & Evaluation team implemented the SSA
Employee Engagement and Well-being (EEWB) survey for two consecutive years. This agencywide
survey captures employee perceptions in a wide variety of areas including satisfaction
with one’s supervisor, effectiveness of communication at the agency, leadership effectiveness,
and one’s intention to stay. However, the EEWB is a global measure of overall morale and does
not speak specifically to SSA’s values and three pillars at an individual level. The proposed 360-
feedback mechanism will help SSA dive deeper, down to an individual level, and help us better
understand if and how deeply these values have taken root.

Engagement and Well-being efforts at SSA:

In 2019, the first EEWB survey was administered and provided agency baseline data of
perceptions of culture and climate. Results from the survey showed that the agency-wide
engagement score was 57%. The main drivers of engagement in 2019 were communication and
career growth.

Using the data from the 2019 survey, a number of strategies focused on communication and
helping staff with their career growth were developed and implemented to improve
engagement across the agency. These strategies include:

 Mentoring Program
 Skills training (e.g., survey design, Qualtrics)
 Roadshows
 SSA Voice
 Weekly Flash Updates
 Newsletters

Results from the 2020 EEWB survey indicate that overall engagement increased across the
agency and on all measures of the engagement index. The overall engagement score increased
by 17% in 2020 to 74%. When asked about perceptions of feeling valued (the lowest scoring
item in 2019), 56% of respondents reported favorable scores, an increase of 20 percentage
points from 2019. In addition, 58% percent of respondents perceived improved
communications from Executives. Career growth continues to be a driver of engagement for
2020, with data suggesting that respondents are still seeking opportunities to strengthen their
skills. In terms of focus, understanding the engagement challenges and facilitators of clientfacing,
clerical, Black/African-Ancestry, and those who have 11-15 years of service would
improve engagement across the agency.

Culture and climate assessments are valuable and provide a much needed pulse on the agency,
and can also provide actionable insights on a unit- or bureau-level. Through SSA’s assessments
of culture and climate, one finding was that units with strong supervisors have greater
engagement. However, there is no SSA-wide standard when it comes to management or
supervision. To develop a standard, SSA is taking a two-pronged approach. One of those prongs
is to standardize supervision and management by developing core training for all new
supervisors and managers and setting behavioral expectations for supervisors and managers.
The other is to develop a robust feedback process for supervisors, managers and directors to
help them better understand how they are perceived and experienced by the staff they manage
– this is where the proposed 360-feedback comes into play.

Coaching to 360s:

Unlike other 360s, the proposed SSA 360 tool is not a performance evaluation. It is linked with
the pillars and values that guide SSA’s work, and feedback will be given only in those areas, and
not in the areas typically covered in SSA’s performance evaluations. To ensure that there is no
adverse impact to the ratee from participating in this 360-feedback process, while encouraged
to do so, the ratee will not be required to share the 360 report with his/her/their superior.
Furthermore, as this feedback process is meant to be an activity that allows ratees to reflect
and grow, for 12 randomly selected participants, the 360-feedback process will be paired with
one-on-one coaching with an outside coach who is trained on the 360-feedback process.
Coaching is a process by which the coach creates a structured, focused interaction with the
learner to promote desirable and sustainable change for the benefit of the learner, making a
positive impact on the organization (Cox, Bachkirova, & Clutterbuck, 2010) The addition of
coaching to the 360 evaluations provides a supportive interaction and environment for the staff
member to not only process the feedback they received but also a context where which the
staff person through self-reflection can also identify and create action plans to promote
behavioral change or modification based that is in response to the feedback they received.
Currently SSA has a coaching contract with UC Davis Northern Training Academy, which will be
used to support the 360-feedback pilot. The contract expires in June 2021 and includes a value
of $25,000. Based on the amount, UC Davis estimates that this equates to roughly 5.0 training
units which translates to approximately 48 hours of training or coaching.
Due to the numbers of hours and the short time frame, the coaching element in the proposed
pilot would extend to only 12 SSA Staff members who manage small, medium-sized or large
teams. Each of the 12 participants would receive a total of 4 individualized coaching sessions
that would take place once a month. The pilot project may also consider adding some group
coaching sessions in combination with the individual coaching sessions.

Proposed pilot:

A pilot design implementation team will work on developing the parameters for identifying the
thirty volunteer participants from each of the departments. Ideally, there will be 10 from DFCS,
10 from DEBS, 6 from DAAS, 2 from VSO and 2 from AO. Participants will be randomly assigned
to the “360+coaching” condition, which would include receiving the 360-feedback assessment
and participating in 4 coaching sessions, or the “360 only” condition, which would include
receiving just the 360 feedback. All participants will be given access to resources on SSC Learn
and other useful material on how to interpret and use 360s. All participants will also have
access to the 360 Design Team who will make themselves available to provide support to all
managers receiving 360-feedback.
The implementation team will be tasked with creating a communication plan that would share
program design, value of the 360, the role of coaching and all concerns around data privacy.
Raters and ratees, and agency directors will have to go through an orientation training, which
will cover these topics.

How will success be defined?
To determine success of the pilot, we will examine the following sources of data:

 Self-report evaluations on the impact and usefulness of the assessment,
materials and the coaching session. Differences will be examined by both 360+
coaching and 360 only groups.
 Culture and Climate ratings: For all participants in the 360 pilot (raters and
ratees), Culture and Climate survey ratings from 2020 and 2021 will be
compared. Changes in morale, communication and other dimensions of the
survey will provide a measure of the impact of the 360-feedback process.
 Interviews: Where possible, confidential interviews will be conducted with raters
and ratees to assess any behavior change that might be attributable to the 360-
feedback process.

Confidentiality of data and data integrity:

Data collected from the 360 surveys will remain completely confidential. All survey responses
will be reported at the aggregate level; no responses will be linked to any one individual. If
there are fewer than three responses in any given category, data will not be reported to protect
individuals’ responses to further ensure confidentiality.
Results of the survey will be presented in a report that includes average rating scores on the
domains of self-awareness, leadership, teamwork, drive for results, and communications.
Rating scores can be presented by self (i.e., the person being rated), all but self (i.e., aggregate
scores from the raters), or broken down by rater categories such as direct reports or peers.
Ratees will be given the option to share scores with their managers if they choose to do so.
Data will be collected through, and stored, in Qualtrics, a cloud-based application currently
being used by the County to collect similar survey data. Access to the data will only be granted
to authorized team members who have completed the necessary privacy and confidentiality
trainings.

To summarize, below are the main points of the proposed 360-feedback pilot:
 Restricted to no more than 30 volunteer managers and supervisors who manage small, mid
& large teams across SSA;
 Once the 30 have been identified, 12 randomly selected managers will be assigned to the
“360+ coaching” condition, while the remaining 18 will be in “360 only” condition.
 360 questions are targeted to SSA values and guiding principles and NOT performance
 The implementation team will be tasked with creating a communication plan that would
share program design, value of the 360, the role of coaching and all concerns around data
privacy.
o Raters and ratees, and agency directors will have to go through an orientation
training, which will cover these topics.
 360 feedback is provided in aggregate only to the participant;
 360 data is only reviewed by the participant ONLY and not shared with their supervisor or
anyone else in management;
 Post 360 participation, all participants will be given access to relevant training and literature
on how to interpret feedback from 360s. All participants will also have access to the 360
implementation team who will make themselves available to provide support to all
managers receiving 360-feedback;
 Participants in the 360 + coaching condition will be required to participate in 4 1-hour (1
session, once a month) confidential coaching sessions with an external coach from UC
Davis;
 Projected completion date of Pilot will be complete by December 31, 2021.
 Effectiveness data will be analyzed to determine future scaling of the 360 process;

Appendix 1: 360-survey questions

SSA 360 Survey Draft
Survey Scale:
5 = Is a Role Model for Others: Exemplifies excellent performance
4 = Very Well: Very strong performance; better than most
3 = Satisfactory: Performance meets the needs of the role
2 = Needs Some Improvement: There are some areas in which performance could be improved
1 = Significant Opportunity for Improvement: Performance is below expectations
Unable to Answer: Does not apply or have not had the opportunity to observe

Categories
1. How many years of service do you have with SSA?
2. Which of the following job categories best describes your current
position with the agency?
3. How many years have you worked in your current role?
4. How many years have you worked with <piped text name of person
being rated>?
5. What is your work relationship to <piped text name of person being
rated>?
6. On a weekly basis, how frequently do you have work-related
interactions (formal and informal) with <piped text name of person
being rated>?

For the following questions, please rate ${sbj://SecondPersonReflexive}
relative to others.
1. Demonstrates an awareness of how his/her actions, decisions, and
emotions affect others
2. Treats mistakes and setbacks in self and others as learning
opportunities
3. Actively seeks feedback from others on his/her performance
1. Translates department strategy into concrete actions/plans
2. Is results or outcomes driven in their approach to projects and work
3. Proposes strategies that encourage the effective and efficient use of
resources
4. Identifies and/or implements "out of the box" ideas
5. Sets, shares, and works towards goals that are aligned with the agency
for him/herself
6. Sets, shares, and works towards goals that are aligned with the
department for him/herself
7. Sets, shares, and works towards goals that are aligned with the team
for him/herself

Categories
1. Takes team members’ ideas and opinions into account when making
decisions
2. Shows concern for staff, team, and/or clients
3. Helps team members resolve work-related problems
4. Demonstrates cultural awareness while working with staff and/or
clients
5. Demonstrates ethical behaviors and attitudes
6. “Walks the talk”

1. Actively listens to others
2. Tailors his/her communication to the needs of the audience
3. Gives constructive and helpful feedback
4. Is responsive to my questions, concerns, and/or needs
5. Conveys credibility and expertise when he/she communicates with
others

1. Attempts to resolve differences and conflicts in a mutually acceptable,
fair and constructive manner
2. Give constructive and helpful feedback
3. Values and respects differences (e.g. cultural, generational, gender) in
others
Include in instructions: Please note that your comments will be reported
verbatim.

1. What is ${e://Field/SubjectFirstName}’s greatest strength?
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2. What can ${e://Field/SubjectFirstName} do to continue to grow?
3. What is/are ${e://Field/SubjectFirstName}’s greatest area(s) of
improvement?
4. What can ${e://Field/SubjectFirstName} do to improve in that/those
area(s)?
5. Please use this field to provide any additional feedback on not only
(piped text) but also the agency, department, etc.
Overall 1. Is a person I trust.
Overall 2. Overall is an effective manger / leader.
 


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