If your approach is not giving what you want, here are 6 top tips on how to improve 360 Degree Feedback and get better results for your organisation.
You may have been using 360 Degree Feedback in your organisation for some time, or you may have just used it for the first time. But it hasn’t been as valuable or successful as you would have liked. So what can you do about it?
We’ve worked with 360 Degree Feedback with many organisations and we’ve found some common issues that can hinder its success. So we’ve put together the top 6 things that can go wrong with 360, together with tips for avoiding them in the future.
Poor take-up of the 360 by the target group
You may have found that many of the learners (ratees) you invited to participate in receiving feedback did not engage. Or ratees did did participate but were slow in doing so.
Tip 1: Communication
The reasons for poor take up are usually around poor or unclear communication. We can often assume that people understand why they are being given 360 feedback. But often they do not, and their previous experiences and assumptions may affect their attitude.
That’s why we recommend clear communications to ratees, before, during and after the 360.
Before the 360 starts, take the time to explain the reason behind the 360. What is it for, how will it be used, and what will the feedback look like (show them a sample report). It’s also key that they know what the implications of the feedback will be. This includes if it is related to performance appraisal, reward, development or selection for other roles. Doing this will give you more opportunity in how to improve 360 degree feedback.
Tip 2: Transparency
People need to trust the process, so you must be up front with ratees. Tell them who will see their final 360 feedback report (is it just them, or their line manager, or HR). Also, if there is a follow up activity to the 360 feedback, be clear who this will be with. Also ensure they know what the purpose of the meeting or activity will be.
Tip 3: Briefings
I always recommend a briefing meeting with the ratees as a group. They can really get to grips with the benefits of the 360. It also gives them a chance to ask questions, and to discuss with other ratees.
Tip 4: Champions
Have you brought in some champions to talk about 360 degree feedback and its benefits for the wider organisation? Visible sponsorship and support from senior leaders and influencers can add to the credibility of the 360. It’s even better if the leaders can be the first to go through the 360 themselves. They will then be able to talk about what it was like, how it felt for them, and what they got out of it.
If you take these steps you will find a much better take up and engagement in the 360 by the target group of ratees.
A poor level of response from raters
The same issues can cause a poor level of response from raters in giving feedback. A lack of understanding of the 360, what it’s for and how it will be used, can make raters reluctant to give feedback. Therefore clear communication to raters is just as important as it is for ratees.
Tip 5: Anonymity
Trust and a guarantee of anonymity is even more critical. A rater may be concerned about how her feedback will be shown in the report, and who will see it. This may make her reluctant to provide feedback at all, or to give generic and not very honest feedback.
Again, provide information and sample reports in advance to raters so they can see how their individual feedback will be shown. It may be grouped with feedback from other raters. Written feedback and examples should not be attributed to individual raters in the report. We always include a note to say this, and also that specific examples, or writing style, may however, identify your comments.
Tip 6: Give them time
Some raters will be busy and may need to give feedback for more than one ratee. It’s therefore a good idea to give them enough time to complete, e.g. a two-week period at least. The rater should be able to see a list of the feedback he needs to give in one place. He can then schedule in time to complete them. This is better than to trying to complete all the feedback for all ratees in one session.
One of the best ways to ensure good take up and engagement with your 360 degree feedback is to provide regular and transparent information.
If you have any questions on design or implementation, drop us a note on the Contact Us page.