Here at Balance at Work, we recently managed a 360 degree feedback survey that saw 1360 feedback surveys completed for 157 managers. Along the way, we learnt a few lessons about what can go wrong with a 360 degree feedback project and ways to make the process much smoother in the future.
Here’s a short list of tips to help you get the most out of your next 360 degree feedback exercise.
Before doing anything, it is important that you tell everybody who is being assessed and everyone providing feedback the basics of what a 360 is and how it works. We had several people confused about why they were asked to provide feedback for their line managers – they are so used to it only going one way. By providing a clear outline of the project and the expected outcomes, it will be more likely that the feedback given will be constructive and useful.
By providing a clear outline of the project and the expected outcomes, the feedback given is more likely to be constructive and useful.
Regardless of what system you use to conduct your 360 (we use Spidergap), it will take a little time for users to understand how to use it. In order to make sure you get the highest quality feedback, it is vital that all involved know what to expect in the process as well as what is expected of them.
We found it is important to give instructions around the criteria for choosing feedback providers, relationship titles and hints for providing useful feedback. It is always better to give clear, comprehensive instructions than to leave it to chance.
One of the biggest obstacles to getting useful, meaningful feedback is the source of that feedback. Having a balance between all relationships to the person being assessed is vital to making it a real 360. It is also important that those providing feedback feel confident in their ability to assess the person in question.
We had comments that people didn’t know someone well enough to feel comfortable providing feedback, a situation that would be avoided with more care in feedback provider selection.
Make sure the questions are relevant to the people you’re asking to provide feedback.
For example, questions about internal management procedures will be confusing if you are including customers in the survey. Feedback providers can make or break a survey, so consider carefully who you want to involve and what you hope to gain from their perspective.
By following these 3 simple steps, you can ensure your 360 degree feedback survey process runs smoothly.