How to best implement a 360 degree feedback programme
360 degree feedback programmes are all about development. Done well, they can help your team members to improve in key areas which might be limiting their upward career path. Done poorly however and 360° programmes create low self-esteem, mistrust and conflict. So how do you do it right? Here’s our key principles to consider before you start with your 360° feedback programme.
1. Lead from the top
Everyone should be involved in the 360 degree feedback programme, no matter what position they have in your organisation. In fact, senior employees should be the “first at the gate” and be vocal about how beneficial it can be, as this will help define the culture going forwards. If employees feel that everyone is taking part, they will be much more receptive to it. They are also likely to listen to someone of influence. So if you really want this programme to get attention, make sure you have buy-in and active involvement from the top down.
2. Communicate with employees
Instead of simply communicating to your employees that you’re setting up this programme, make sure you explain the reasons behind it. What is the purpose of it? What are the benefits? How will it help your employees? If you don’t offer clarity on this, your employees will push back. Negative sentiment and misunderstood intentions will not only lead to failure of the programme, but can also have lasting damage on your organisation’s culture.
3. Keep it constructive
A 360 degree feedback programme is not an excuse for employees to start bad mouthing their colleagues or to point out everyone’s weaknesses. It’s a tool for developing and improving the performance of your employees. As such, the system should be developed by experts, who understand the best way to communicate questions for those providing feedback. It’s also worth considering how the feedback will be received. If you’re dealing with an anxious employee for example, any negative feedback will probably not be received too well. Consider if your managers need training to ensure they handle the discussion sensitively. If employees are able to take feedback on board, whether good or bad, they will get more out of the programme and will be able to make positive changes.
It’s important to remember too, that 360 degree feedback should not be used as a performance management tool to determine salary increases or bonuses. It’s a tool for improving individual development and engagement. Focus on the strengths of your employees and put actions in place to help them improve further. Stick to the goal of positive change and don’t fall into the trap of using the programme to just highlight failures and shortcomings.
4. Be consistent
It’s surprising how often development programmes are set up with intentions of them becoming part of the fabric of the organisation, only for them to fall by the wayside as other demands get in the way. If you want your employees to take it seriously, and you want both your organisation and your employees to truly benefit from the programme, you need commit to making it a core component of your long term people development strategy. That means building a formal schedule, not just to collect and share feedback, but also to follow up on it and ensure agreed actions are taken and objectives met. 360 degree feedback programmes have the power to fundamentally transform the performance of your organisation, but they can’t do that if your programme runs sporadically or is done as a one off. To make sure your 360 degree feedback programme becomes part of the DNA of your organisation, you may want to incorporate it in related management / leadership development programmes.
5. Keep it simple
Last but not least, there’s no need to over complicate matters with the 360 degree programme. It should be simple, light and easy for those involved to understand. Reports from the programme need to be easy for managers to interpret, so they can feed the findings back to employees in a confident manner. To really aid the success of your 360 degree programme, have your supplier support with help desk (assistance for both raters and participants) and consider facilitators or trainers to show managers how give their people feedback in the most constructive way possible.
So there’s 5 pieces of handy advice to help get your 360 degree feedback programme off to the very best possible start. If you’re interested in learning more about People Insight’s fast and easy to use 360 programmes, contact a member of our team today on 0203 142 6511 or via our contact page and we’ll be in touch shortly.
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