Conducting successful 360-Degree Feedback

When used correctly multi source assessment, or 360-degree feedback, is a most useful personal development tool that can be used not just for personal development but also for talent and performance management in a positive sense.  If it is not undertaken independently and confidentially, the process can result in a destructive situation from which it can take some time to recover.

Multi source assessments, 360 degree feedback as the process is more often called, are where feedback is sought by an individual from themselves, his/her peers, customers, stakeholders, superiors and subordinates or any combination. The assessee must always be one of the respondents because their opinion of themselves is at the very heart of the assessment.

Multi-source assessment is a very sensitive activity that touches people to the very core of their personality. As such, it should be completed sensitively and empathically.

In our experience  of conducting multi source assessment for our clients, these are some of the factors that have resulted in a successful outcome.

CULTURE

Organisations that have used multi source assessment successfully have a positive culture, where openness and trust is a given and honest feedback is part of a constructive continuous improvement strategy, in terms of both the organisation and the individual.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Multi Source assessment is best undertaken in a situation where confidentiality can be guaranteed and maintained. The main reason that organisations have come to us to conduct their 360 feedback is that we can provide an external, impartial and anonymous service. This encourages candid responses from all participants.

QUESTIONNAIRE

The questionnaire itself is a major factor in the success of the multi source assessment process. It’s vital that the questions are written in a clear manor, with no element of ambiguity at all. It’s always helpful to include open ended comments, as these often provide excellent insight into the reason for the answers given as well as giving the participant a chance to add their own views. We would recommend that these are optional though, as having to make personal comments can make some people feel uncomfortable.

COMMUNICATION

Organisations should have a clear communication strategy for disseminating the purpose aims and intentions of the multi source assessment project. Crucially, when considering the process, organisations should make sure they have buy-in from all the participants involved before the process is started. We often conduct assessments from the top down, with the senior leadership team undergoing 360 reviews first then rolling out the process to middle managers. This shows everyone in the organisation that the leadership team are leading by example.

SUPPORT

Be supportive of individuals post assessment. Give the assesse time to digest and accept the feedback and ensure they have the opportunity to discuss it in confidence at a time and place to suit them. There may some difficult aspects, but focus on opportunities for the assessee to develop and improve their skills, behaviours and working relationships. Assessees should be able to agree a personal, needs led development plan as a result of the process.

Finally, here are a few ‘Don’ts’ which should go without saying every time…

  • Don’t conduct a 360 for anyone who isn’t fully on-board
  • Don’t link the outcome of the process to merit, pay or reward
  • Don’t use any negative feedback punitively towards the assesse
  • Don’t use the 360 process in isolation, without follow up actions or post-assessment support
  • Don’t compromise confidentiality
  • Don’t produce excessively long, wordy outcome reports that lack clarity

Find out more…

INSPIRING offers a huge range of options when it comes to feedback, from a full 360-degree assessment to a more focused approach. This enables you to choose the option that is best for your business needs, helping you to get the feedback you require. Call us on 0800 612 3098 or email info@inspiring.uk.com for more information.

Could 360 degree feedback help rejuvenate your workforce?

If you’re thinking about running a 360 degree feedback exercise, you may find our objective look at the pitfalls and advantages of 360 degree feedback useful in deciding if it could help rejuvenate your workforce.

Three Common Pitfalls of 360 Degree Feedback

1. 360 degree feedback is a very sensitive activity that touches people to the very core of their personality and it should be completed sensitively and empathically. If the purpose, methodology or understanding of multi-source assessment is misunderstood, it can result in a destructive situation from which it can take years to recover.

2. 360 degree feedback should never be linked to merit, pay or reward. Under ideal circumstances multi-source feedback is used as an assessment for personal development rather than evaluation. Certainly, the results should never be used as a way to punish the individual in any way.

3. Some would agree that 360 degree feedback can take people outside of their comfort zones and result in some difficult conversations. People may be afraid to give honest answers, perhaps in fear of lack of anonymity or they’ve been encouraged to collude with others respondents to give false opinions.

 

Three Advantages of 360 Degree Feedback 

1. In some cases, 360 degree feedback can be used to reduce tension, for example, if an employee is having difficulties with their manager or there is a perceived ‘personality clash’, the end results averaged and weighted by feedback from others could offset or diminish potential personal misjudgements.

2. The 360 degree feedback process is a good way of improving communication within your organisation and can be a useful tool in the run up to a company restructure and to help implement change. The process can help break down barriers between areas in the company and create a culture of openness and trust.

3. Different people often have vastly different views of who we are. To know what we look like in another’s eyes provides a strong enabler for personal development and growth. Being able to gather and analyse the perceptions of colleagues, not just those we report to, can be extremely powerful in helping us understand how our actions play out from many points of view, other than our own.

 

Tips for success

  • Have a clear communication strategy for disseminating the purpose aims and intentions of the assessment
  • Develop an unambiguous questionnaire which includes open ended comments
  • Have a properly constructed competency framework and link this to your organisational goals and values
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • View criticism positively and as an opportunity of personal development
  • Have a plan of support and development in place for candidates following the assessment.
  • Provide clear, consistent and easily understood results reports.

 

If you would like to speak to one of the team at Inspiring about 360 degree feedback, call us on 0800 612 3098 or email info@inspiring.uk.com or get in touch using the form. You can also visit our 360 Degree page for more information.