Why Your Performance Management Program Needs 360 Feedback
26 Aug, 2019
Organizations that continually reach new levels of success are those that consistently encourage employees toward growth and improvement. Not only do employees want to do their job effectively when they receive healthy, constructive feedback, but they also want to feel they are able to learn and grow professionally.
Performance reviews are an important component of employee evaluation and success, and more companies are implementing something called 360-degree feedback as the core part of their employee review process. In fact, this type of performance appraisal method is now used by over 85% of all Fortune 500 companies, which says something about its effectiveness.
Read on to learn more about 360-degree feedback, how to introduce it into your organization, and how building a safe feedback culture is important so your employees are more engaged and your business is primed for optimal growth.
What is 360-degree feedback?
The definition of 360-degree feedback is “a feedback process where not just your superior but your peers and direct reports and sometimes even customers evaluate you. You receive an analysis of how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you” according to The Economic Times. So, 360-degree feedback is quite literal in that it means that feedback is coming from all sides of the organization rather than only the traditional manager-employee (top-down) dynamic.
Having 360-degree feedback gives each person in the organization an opportunity to understand how effective they are as not only an employee but also as a coworker, a manager, and even as a salesperson or account manager (if customers are included as part of 360-degree feedback). Here are some of the benefits organizations see from implementing this system:
- Employees get feedback from a wider variety of sources instead of just one
- It shines more light on areas within the company that stunt employee growth and progress
- It can reveal new career pathways and areas for crucial development
- Has the potential to cut down on discrimination
- Gives insight on areas where more training is needed
- Frees up managers’ time as they have more support in providing feedback and evaluating employees
- Helps team members learn how they can work better together
- Improves overall openness and communication within the organization
The main purpose of this specific type of feedback is to be able to assist every individual within the company so they may get a more wholesome view on their strengths and weaknesses. The 360-degree feedback model helps individuals within the company get valuable insights that they can then apply to their own professional development.
How does it work?
While 360-degree feedback may sound great, how do you know what to do when the time comes to implement it into your own organization?
With 360-degree feedback, people are chosen ahead of time as feedback providers by the employee which is then approved by a manager or another higher-up in the organization. The primary qualification for people included as raters in the 360 evaluation is that they must routinely interact with the person being rated. Here are some steps that must be taken to establish 360-degree feedback within your organization:
- Choose a reliable tool for 360-degree feedback as part of the process
- Integrating the process into the current performance management system
- Choosing the raters—around 8 to 12 people is most optimal and should be an even mixture of peers, managers, and direct reports
- Approving the raters
- The chosen and approved rater must fill out an anonymous online form answering a broad range of questions about the individual.
- Reading the feedback
- Reviewing the feedback with a manager
To truly understand whether 360-degree feedback has been beneficial to your business, you should take time after using this system for a while to weigh the pros and cons of this method. This gives you an opportunity to see what the differences have been in the organization and whether there are any drawbacks you’ve experienced that could be tackled more efficiently.
How to build a safe feedback culture
Like any type of feedback system, it’s important for your organization to be building a safe feedback culture. Here are some effective ways to ensure 360-degree feedback remains beneficial and not toxic to your organization and its employees:
- Provide training and resources on how to give and receive feedback to employees, including in-person advice and how-tos
- Use both good and bad examples to show employees how to properly communicate feedback and understand what constitutes unhelpful reactions to feedback
- Set times specifically for managers on how to help their employees set development goals based on the 360-degree feedback model.
- Show employees by example (from leadership) that they will not face negative repercussions when they give honest feedback; this helps them feel safe and facilitates better trust within the organization.
One of the biggest factors in building a safe feedback culture is setting clear parameters and rules around feedback so individuals in the organization don’t have to guess what’s expected of them. There should be clear-cut answers to the following questions:
- Who gives feedback?
- Who receives feedback?
- How many times a year does 360-degree feedback need to happen?
- What are the goals of using this method of feedback?
The importance of follow up
Follow-up is important because it will tell you whether the 360-degree feedback is having a positive impact on your organization and employees. You can schedule specific follow-up meetings after giving the individual time to make the changes agreed upon after they received feedback. Follow-up also doesn’t always have to be formal, and can easily be added into an employee’s weekly one-on-one meetings. Make sure that in these meetings, you are able to shift the focus from past performance to future performance to analyze both old and new goals.
How results should be analyzed
When individuals are asked to fill out anonymous feedback forms, the form should include questions where they are asked to provide a rating that can be measured on a scale (in addition to questions asking for written comments). Individuals should also fill out a survey where they rate themselves so, during the review process, this can be compared against the feedback from the raters.
Final areas for improvement
The whole purpose of 360-degree feedback is so individuals in the company can get a more in-depth understanding of their strengths and weaknesses within the organization not only as an employee, but as a coworker, manager, and customer manager (if needed).
Heartpace’s Performance Management Tool
You can make the implementation of 360-degree feedback much easier with a system that compiles results and will cohesively present them in an organized way that allows the individual and their manager come up with a development plan. We even have templates for 360-degree feedback that you can take advantage of for free.
Read more and inquire about Heartpace’s 360 Feedback tool here.
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