5 reasons 360 degree feedback is more relevant than ever in today’s workplace
360 degree feedback has been around since the 1950’s and many of us have given or received it. Today it’s become even more relevant to the way we work as a society than ever. Millennials, who represent an ever increasing proportion of the working population, have grown up in a digital world of feedback and ratings, as has generation Z, currently at the start of their career journeys. To develop a positive working culture that empowers individuals, builds relationships and fosters an environment of free thinking and open communication – implementing a 360 degree feedback programme is a great solution. We’ve listed five benefits below for your perusal.
1. Feedback is in Millennial’s DNA
Go online today and there’s barely a company that isn’t asking you for feedback or reviews. Think Trustpilot, TripAdvisor, Amazon and eBay to name just a few. It’s not just the commercial platforms that rely on feedback either. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are based around pushing out posts and receiving feedback. For millennials who have grown up with this kind of interactive technology, completing online 360 reviews will be as familiar as sharing a restaurant review. It’s a marked step away from the mindset of older generations who are more inclined to keep their feelings to themselves. If done well 360 degree feedback can provide a useful psychological bridge between work and non-work life.
2. Millennials & gen Z want development NOW
It’s no secret that millennials are career hungry yet from People Insight’s employee survey benchmarks, only 43% of respondents feel their career aspirations are being met. Unfulfilled employees lead to increased attrition. Implementing a 360 degree feedback model provides millennials with an opportunity to take their career prospects into their own hands and make immediate changes to how they work and interact with those around them. By looking at the bigger picture, at how they impact on the team, department or even the organisation as a whole – major positive change can take place in a very short space of time. That sits well with millennials who are used to finding the answers to many of their problems through a quick Google search.
3. 360 degree feedback helps millennials & gen Z develop emotional intelligence
As technology advances and the world of artificial intelligence grows, the competition for jobs won’t just be coming from fellow co-workers, but from automated, semi-intelligent software and bots. The jobs that people will do going forward will require sophisticated and subtle judgement, influence and negotiation. It’s these emotional intelligence skills that people must develop. 360 degree feedback, incorporating behavioural observations and suggestions from co-workers, suppliers and even customers can help individuals with exactly that.
“Human skills like persuasion, social understanding, and empathy are going to become differentiators as artificial intelligence and machine learning take over our other tasks.”
4. 360 degree feedback encourages healthy two-way dialogue
One of the most common complaints in employee engagement surveys is ‘my line manager doesn’t give me feedback (or coach me or thank me)’. In People Insight’s employee survey benchmarks, just 50% of respondents say their line manager takes time out to coach them and develop their skills. For millennials, for whom development is essential – this is really demotivating. 360 degree feedback programmes give managers and their people a reason to talk, agenda items to discuss and can kick off positive, two way dialogue.
5. 360 feedback tools are simple to set up and quick to deliver value
The good news is 360 feedback systems are simple to set up and deliver (especially with provider support). For our own part, we’ve created 360° system that is fast and easily deployable via desktop or mobile, with helpdesk manned by experienced managers. This gives all employees, potentially across five generations – an intuitive user experience, with output which really helps managers and their people have meaningful development conversations.
As we’ve said, 360 degree feedback is natural and relevant in today’s workplace. By using 360-degree feedback to improve dialogue and individual development, you’ll be helping your employees work on their career development, and feel more listened to and engaged in your organisation. Of course – how you do it is as critical as what you do – so for advice on how best to implement a 360 feedback programme – see our next post here.
 Megan Beck and Barry Libert for Harvard Business Review 15/2/17
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