Top Ten Ways to Make 360's Work for You
360-degree programs can do more harm than good if not properly implemented and managed. St. Aubin, Haggerty & Associates has found successful 360 programs contain elements of the following top ten:
1. Communicate the purpose. All participants, raters and supervisors involved should be made aware of the purpose of the 360-degree assessment. Purposes may vary from performance to development. Make your purpose clear.
2. Prepare the actual participants. An orientation to the instrument being used along with rater orientation should be planned and executed far in advance of program implemention. Supervisors should also be made aware of the role that they are expected to play in the process.
3. Start at the top. It is most helpful to have senior managers pilot the program first before roll out to the organization. This sensitizes senior managers to the process early and increases acceptance at all levels.
4. Insure integrity in the process. It is critical that the process insures confidentiality and anonymity to all participants. Confidential handling of the data, reports and feedback will be crucial in establishing and maintaining credibility with the process in the eyes of all participants.
5. Make administration easy. One of the most disappointing aspects of the feedback process is not getting enough raters responding to the request for feedback. Make the process easy and user friendly. Give appropriate lead-time to raters and provide friendly reminders to help insure greater participation.
6. Provide a feedback coach. Feedback is not always easy to digest no matter how positive it may be. It is helpful to have a third party that can help the participant understand the feedback and begin to develop a strategy for using the feedback to create a personal development plan.
7. Integrate the feedback. Use the data as only one way of receiving feedback. Integrate the feedback with other forms of information about behaviors such as performance reviews, organizational studies or customer surveys.
8. Beware of survey fatigue. When a number of surveys are requested of the same person (the boss is doing all his reports) it can feel a little overwhelming to complete surveys on a number of participants at the same time. Spread the task over time and make it as simple and easy as possible.
9. Pick the right raters. Often people prefer to pick raters that they feel will provide the most positive feedback. At other times participants are encouraged to pick only those individuals with whom they may have some problems. A balanced approach of picking those individuals that can provide both positive and negative experiences will provide the greatest understanding of all perspectives.
10. Keep development in mind. Feedback works best when it is given with the opportunity to learn from it and develop because of it. It should not be given with the idea of just sending a message, but with the thought in mind that it is for the purpose of developing one's skills.
Companies are turning more and more to 360-degree feedback tools, which pool feedback from internal and external customers to receive a broader, more accurate perspective on employees. Organizations and employees can benefit greatly from these processes if they are implemented and managed effectively.
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© 2007 St. Aubin Haggerty & Associates, Inc.