360 Degree Feedback is often seen as a process for giving feedback to individuals: we are often asked if 360 appraisal can also be useful in providing collective feedback, e.g. to a team as to how they are experienced by other stakeholders?
Aggregating individual feedback data
Many organisations are now using the anonymised collective feedback for different groups and teams so that they can understand how they are experienced as a team by other stakeholders, which is a more strategic way of using this type of feedback; it’s also useful for training needs analysis. A good example is the work we did to support a Management Development Programme in a local authority for 50 mid-level managers. The programme consisted of a number of training activities including coaching, workshops, action learning etc. But the 360 feedback system was more like a ‘720’, in that the feedback was run both in advance of the MDP , and also at the end. Feedback was provided by reports, peers and line manager for each MDP participant in the normal way, and based on the specific management competencies that were critical for the organisation.
However, not only was the feedback used as an individual development tool, but the non-attributable, anonymous data, was used to show group and team results. The Chief Executive loved these reports as they were able to demonstrate, at the end of the programme, that there had been behaviour change over the 18 months as a result of the programme, and thus provided a highly effective evaluation tool. In scientific terms, the 360 provided a pre and post- test for the development programme.
It was also easy to see exactly where the future training needs lay, across a department or even the whole organisation, and so future training and development investment could be targeted very specifically and cost-effectively where it was needed.
Another example is where a law firm used the aggregated 360 feedback for partners as a team discussion tool to help each group understand their impact. It then supported a joint development plan where partners took individual responsibility for an area of team development and performance improvement.
These are examples of how it is possible to use individual 360 data to build an understanding of the aggregate behaviours of the people in a team, showing where there are overall group strengths and also areas that need to be developed.
Team self-assessment: what it’s like working in this team
Another approach that can help the team to assess their own performance is to run a Self-assessment for the team, where each member of the team completes a set of questions that relate to the behaviours – not of individual team members – but rather of the team as an entity in itself. This can be very enlightening for the team members and the team leader, and can cover all sorts of areas, such as how it feels to work in the team, how supportive the team is, how the team communicates, deals with conflict, and is seen by other teams and stakeholders.
The output can show
- How team members have scored each statement (anonymously)
- The overall score for each statement, how this translates into overall skills and capabilities
- The team leader’s ratings so that it is easy to identify where the leader’s perceptions match with those of her/his team, or not!
Anonymous free text comments
This type of report can be a powerful tool for helping teams to bottom out issues that may be holding them back from performing better together. It’s a good tool to use on a team development day, for example, and with expert facilitation, can improve team performance by leaps and bounds.
One client used this tool as part of its management development programme: each manager going through the programme ran this team assessment for his/her team, and so as well as building an understanding of what was happening in their own team, it also gave them a tool for building their own team management and facilitation skills. So it was useful feedback both for team leaders, and for their teams.
360 Feedback for the team
The Team Self-assessment can be enhanced, perhaps on another occasion, by external feedback too, from other teams, stakeholders, and even clients. It’s important, as with all feedback, to be clear on the purpose of the feedback, to ensure the questions relate to the team and not to individuals, and that the output reports are clear, user-friendly and encourage debate and positive action.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]