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.

The Happy Employee: Transparency

When it comes to the workplace environment it can be difficult to ensure total transparency. The phrase ‘you are the face of the company’ is something that employees often hear, and whilst this is designed to encourage employees to represent the company as best as they can, it is also true.

As an employee, you are responsible for various company procedures, as well as client interactions – acting as a major part of the company. Which is why transparency in business is important; how can you represent your company without total understanding of how the business runs? By implementing transparency in the workplace, you can effectively increase overall employee productivity.

Information

Some companies limit the information that they provide to employees; both client related and internal. By including employees in communication about the company’s profits and achievements, a positive connection is forged – as employees can understand how their hard work contributes to the company’s success. The same can also be applied to losses and any setbacks, as employees will feel invested and increase their efforts to ensure the company gets back on track.

Authority

By providing authority to employees, you can motivate them to become empowered. Employees who are given authority become more inspired to be decisive and take responsibility for their actions, both of which are strong elements in great employee performance. This also reduces time wasted on waiting for approval from a higher authority, and allows employees to continue with the work that they are given at their own pace.

Communication

Giving your employees an opportunity to discuss ways for the company to move forward, improve operations or point out areas that require development, allows you to establish a connection with your team. Show them that management appreciates and values employee thoughts and suggestions. Consider implementing the changes and requests your employees offer, where applicable, as this further cements your relationship with your employees and demonstrates that they are an important part of the business.

Deliver on your promises

As management, it can be easy to offer incentives to your employees to encourage them to work harder and more productively. Whilst these incentives can be an effective tool, often we can forget what we have promised – or put it to the side so we can focus on more important things. However, by not delivering on your promises to your employees, they can become unhappy, resulting in a lower standard of employee performance. By ensuring incentives are given to employees, big or small, and providing everyone with the chance to receive these bonuses, you are ultimately encouraging employees to work harder to receive these benefits.

 

Ultimately, transparency provides your employees with a clear and happy path to success, allowing them to feel valued, supported and involved, whilst ensuring any grievances can be swiftly and effectively handled.

Why being consistent is so important when it comes to people management

You know the importance of having a leadership team that is able to encourage and engage employees. But with different leaders having different strengths, weaknesses, behaviours and personalities, how do you achieve consistency across your organisation and help maintain a positive perception of ‘The Management’ amongst staff?

From the employee surveys that we conduct for our clients, the text questions always make for an interesting read. So many comments are made about management, in terms of how some managers are either good or bad in different ways. For example, managers who allegedly don’t delegate properly; make seemingly harsh decisions as opposed to those in other teams; or who never give praise, when other people are being given recognition for their efforts on a regular basis.

Of course, not all comments stem from management problems – it can be that some individuals have a more negative perception than others. However, from our experience, having different management styles and inconsistency with how people are managed is often the cause of problems relating to people feeling that they’re being treated unfairly in some way.

Here are a few of our thoughts, based on our experience of working with many different organisations, on how you might go about creating consistency across teams in your workplace.

Communication is key

Honesty and openness from managers will help renew common purpose across your organisation. Managers should communicate with their teams regularly regarding plans and progress; operational activities and milestones. Staff should be invited to ask, comment and suggest on a regular basis. Make sure all managers are arranging regular, documented team meetings or one to ones to ensure that everyone is being given this opportunity.

Create opportunities for new and shared experiences

Giving employees the opportunity to shadow a colleague in a different department, or to participate in a cross-departmental team of some kind, can give them new perspectives whilst helping them to contribute more to the company. Managers can use the exercise to expand their own thinking as well as that of the individuals involved. All in all, it’s a simple cost effective way of sharing experience and creating cross-team understanding. It may also lead to new opportunities for employees, helping to spot and unlock potential.

Show your appreciation

Showing appreciation to your team by simply saying Thank You goes a long way. By saying those two small words, your managers are demonstrating that they understand what is happening in their teams. Thanking staff and giving honest recognition for their work achievements can help them to feel appreciated and enhance their job satisfaction. As Bart Cleveland wrote for Ad Age, “Sure, it is an employee’s job to do their best. But ask yourself, would you give even more if you knew you were appreciated?”

Establish Accountability

When accountability goes out the window, so does an effective workforce. General people management practices should be implemented company-wide, ensuring each employee will be held to the same standards of conduct. Inconsistency in how your managers deal with everyday situations sends mixed signals to employees. For example, if one employee constantly arrives late and their manager turns a blind eye, but another shows up late and is given a warning, your people will see the injustice and determine that there is no structure of accountability within your organisation. This is a sure-fire way of sparking resentment between teams and individuals and fuelling peoples’ perception of unfair treatment.

Team up with Inspiring

INSPIRING Business Performance provides practical advice, business information tools and training programmes for organisations who want to improve employee engagement, develop their leaders and managers or gain accreditation against standards such as BSI’s BS 76000 standard for Valuing People.

We are also a Chartered Management Institute approved training centre offering leadership and management development programmes with the option of CMI qualifications at various levels.

If you would like to speak to us about how to go about improving your organisation from a people aspect, call us on 0800 612 3098 or get in touch using the enquiry form on the left. We would be happy arrange for one of our consultants to meet up with you for an informal chat.

10 Alternatives to Training Courses for SMEs

With the business world being as competitive as it is, employers are discovering that the main thing that can help differentiate them is their people. Developing, or ‘up-skilling’, employees is now more important than ever. Gone are the days where training courses focused upon just the necessities and regulations of the job role; we are now seeing more forward-thinking employers who are looking to uncover talent within their people which, in time, will give them the advantage over their competitors.

We know that making sure your employees are up to speed with what is required of them is vital, so training in that respect will always be a necessity. However, with some training courses coming in at a high cost, SMEs could find it hard to find the budget for broader training and development, often having to weigh up the cost of training courses against other necessities in their annual budget.

With this in mind, we’ve put together some alternatives to training courses that SMEs could investigate that might help implement learning and development and nurture talent at a lower cost.

Coaching

This is effective if the employee has a specific objective or area of development that they need to target.

Mentoring

An effective technique when there is already an individual within the organisation with the expertise to develop potential. This enables transfer of knowledge and ways of working.

Shadowing

A great way of helping an employee explore different aspects of the business. It is beneficial to watch someone else demonstrating what is required of them, then reflecting on what they have learned. They can then discover the effectiveness of their ways of working and even make suggestions for improvements, which could be mutually beneficial. This could be a reciprocal arrangement whereby one colleague shadows another in turn, allowing for feedback on both.

Expanding Roles

By expanding an employee’s current role, they are likely to develop longer term aspirations and invest more into the organisation. Also, they will come to realise what areas they need to improve in and, given the opportunity and with support, can start to address these.

Project Roles

Putting an individual forward for different project roles helps to broaden their perspective, whilst encouraging interaction with new areas of the business can aid their development. It may even result in hidden skills being identified.

Practical Learning

If an individual has been given a new task or responsibility, they may be able to learn on the job providing they are properly supported. It is important however that they have the confidence to ask managers and colleagues for support and advice whilst they are learning.

Distance and E-Learning

There are specific college and online courses, some of which are free, where the individual learns in their own time and at their own pace. These can include accredited courses, which build towards a qualification.

Volunteering

Giving employees the opportunity and time off to volunteer may help to develop existing skills and learn new ones. Volunteering could help people build their confidence, as it is a less pressurised environment. It may also lead to networking opportunities.

Blended Learning

This is where the focus is not on one development area but a variety. By using Blended Learning, it gives the employee a mixture of different activities to develop many skills over a short space of time.

Media

There is a wealth of information available on platforms such as YouTube and watching specific programmes can help gain useful knowledge.

Books and publications

In the modern world there is a neglect of written texts. These books and other resources hold a valuable knowledge and theories that can help employees develop. However, for convenience and accessibility, there are often PDF copies of these resources available.

Other Notables

Membership of professional bodies, work placements, sabbaticals, sideways moves and job swaps.

 

People development will always be needed if SMEs are to stay ahead of their competition. But we also know that funding for all these development activities is often limited, therefore thinking outside the box and using alternative methods of learning and development are definitely worth looking into.

5 New Years Resolutions that will have a positive impact on your business

Most of us will have been thinking about personal new year resolutions in the last week or two, but now we’re all back at work and making plans for 2016, we’ve suggested five new years resolutions for employers that if kept, will have a positive impact on your business this year.

Limit out of hours communications

Just about everyone is contactable all of the time these days. Often it’s hard to ignore those emails and messages when they come in, even if it can wait until Monday morning. As an employer or manager, think about how sending emails out of hours might affect the recipient. If you don’t require an immediate response but just want to tick it off your ‘things to do’ list, consider setting up a time delay or create a draft to send early the next working day instead. Employers who make a point of limiting intrusions into employees’ personal time will have a greater chance of attracting and retaining good employees who want to be able to leave their jobs at the office.

Encourage your people to take time off

Many employees don’t use up all their annual leave entitlement. This may be because a heavy workload makes it difficult for them to take time off, or because their manager or workplace culture implies that taking leave is a problem. Having a positive culture of work-life balance together with happy, refreshed employees is more productive and will prevent stress, so you’ll be more likely to have a stronger, motivated staff in the long run.

Increase your training and development budget

When budgets are cut, it’s often training and development that takes a hit. If this applies to your organisation, it will inevitably impact on the ability of your employees to produce results and stay up to date with industry and business progress if they’re not getting the training and professional development they need. Make 2016 a year in which you invest in your employees and you will receive return on that investment in the long-term.

Look at your reward and recognition policies

If your reward and recognition policy is not perceived to be transparent and/or fair, it won’t attract, retain and engage employees. In particular, research shows that bonus and salary rewards are strongly related to employee attitudes including job satisfaction and intention to move jobs as well as impacting on behaviour such as absenteeism and individual performance. Make a point of examining how perks and benefits are distributed and consider separating pay and performance rewards in peoples’ minds by communicating to your team throughout the year for their good performance and recognising and rewarding them appropriately in the moment.

Tackle performance issues effectively

Leaders and Managers are often tempted to take credit for what their top performers achieve, but the real measure is how they handle people who aren’t performing so well. As a manager, you should measure your own performance by the lowest performer on your team. Many managers are scared of having tough conversations with their team, often through lack of proper management training. Developing people through coaching and creating accountability within your team is crucial to managing a high-performing team.

TEAM UP WITH INSPIRING…

INSPIRING Business Performance provides practical advice, business information tools and training programmes for organisations who want to improve employee engagement, develop their leaders and managers or look at organisational development. For more information or to arrange a free consultation, call us on 0800 612 3098 or get in touch using the enquiry form on the left.

 

Why people are leaving your organisation (and what you can do about it)

Understanding why people leave your business and having the strategies in place to deal with issues effectively is crucial if you want to retain your best employees.

If people are leaving your business, it will usually be for one or more of the following reasons:

Lack of manager support…

Unsupportive managers are a key reason for people leaving. It’s a common saying that people leave their manager, not their job.
The skills and behaviours required for leaders and managers are different. An Inspiring Leader has a clear and compelling vision for the organisation. They can engage their team and encourage increased productivity. An Inspiring Manager will be able to set objectives and communicate effectively to their team, helping your employees to pull together and achieve your business goals.
INSPIRING can help you diagnose problem areas and provide tailored development through our Inspiring Leadership programmes.

Not such a great place to work…

Culture, physical working environment and operating policies all factor highly in ensuring a healthy, engaged and productive workforce.
The culture within your organisation impacts the happiness and satisfaction of your employees. It also strengthens, or weakens, employee retention and affects how your business attracts new talent. Conducting a culture survey will pinpoint what’s needed to create and maintain a positive culture: i.e. valuing, recognising and supporting individuals contribution to the company, both from the perspective of the employer and employee.
You could also look into having a wellbeing survey , which measures the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of your employees, as well as identifying areas where you can improve wellbeing within the workplace.

Career progression…

You will have a better chance of holding on to your employees if you have plans in place for talent management, succession planning and learning and development.
Spotting employees with leadership potential and helping them to develop their skills and behaviours will reap big rewards for both the individual and your organisation. Have a look at our recent article ‘How to identify future leaders in your organisation’ for more about this.
As well as offering learning and development solutions, INSPIRING can help with design and implementation of a tailored performance management system to ensure that your team is set relevant KPIs / objectives that not only reflect your business needs, but also correlate to their personal development.

Not feeling valued…

Employees will leave if they are disengaged and don’t feel appreciated. Reward and recognition isn’t always about money. Everyone would like to get paid more for what they do, but other important factors for job satisfaction include opportunities to:
• grow and learn new skills;
• to progress their career;
• to work on challenging and stimulating projects;
• to be acknowledged and praised for their efforts; and
• to feel that they are an important a part of the overall business.

Working with BSI’s new people management Standard (BS 76000) will ensure your people practices are clearly defined and consistent. As a result, your employees will be more engaged, paving the way for improvement in both individual and business performance.
INSPIRING can support you throughout every stage, from your first look at the Standard through to initial audit and beyond. Achieving certification against BS 76000 will help your staff to understand their impact on the overall business and demonstrate that you truly value your people.

The best way to find out why your people are leaving is to ask them!

Conducting Exit Surveys will help you understand why employees leave, enabling you to identify any problem areas. INSPIRING’s bespoke exit surveys, with reports tailored to your business, will help you to understand and reduce staff turnover.