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Tips for a Successful 360 Degree Feedback

The 360 degree feedback mechanism has become an important feedback tool in every organization. It is often partnered with a performance management system to get a holistic understanding of an employee’s performance. The 360 degree feedback is a process by which feedback is solicited from multiple audiences apart from just the manager. Feedback is gathered from the employee himself, his peers, and external stakeholders such as customers, vendors and mentors. 

360 degree reviews are important because it gives an overall unbiased perspective on an employee’s performance. In the earlier times, only the managers would give employees their feedback and feedback used to be confined only to how the employee has performed in the past. The 360 degree review has made the feedback process a lot easier and more productive because it gives us an accurate review of the employee’s performance free from subjective opinions. 

The 360 degree feedback has numerous benefits when implemented properly. It increases the productivity of an employee’s performance. It improves the managerial effectiveness of the organization. When it is accompanied by a performance management software then the process becomes faster and easier. The ratings given to an employee, help the employee to identify the perception gaps and take effective measures to resolve those gaps.  

Now let us look at some of the ways in which you could implement a successful 360 degree feedback in your organization: 

Elucidate the purpose of 360 degree feedback 

Before implementing a feedback mechanism, it is important that your employees understand the rationale behind the 360 degree feedback. Just imagine, your employees walk into the office and then you tell them, “from this month everyone must follow this 360 degree feedback mechanism”. You tell them out of the blue and then they freak out. Your employees need enough time to know each other completely.  

You ought to give them the time to prepare for this process. For that, it is important that employees are given knowledge training about the mechanism, its purpose and its benefits. You need to teach them how feedback must be given and received. Tell them what it is and what it is not clearly. It is one thing to dance with your feet and another thing to dance with your heart. Similarly, bringing in the system is fine but implementing the system is the tough part. 

Participation of leaders 

Leaders are important influencers in a team. Before taking the 360 degree feedback to the employees, you need to ensure that your leaders buy the system in their heads. They need to understand the system completely in order to disseminate it to the others. It is as simple as; you wear the oxygen mask first before helping the others. If your leaders are convinced it will be easier for them to communicate it with the others. Also, your employees would feel a lot more comfortable with their leaders other than someone else explaining it to them. 

Meaningful metrics 

At the end of the day, it all comes to what you are measuring as opposed to how you are measuring. The feedback that is given can be qualitative and quantitative but at the end of the day, your parameters matter the most. What yardsticks or metrics are you adopting to measure your employee’s performance? Try to focus on the core competencies that are helpful for the employees as well as the business to grow.  

Your metrics need to have functional competencies such as an employee’s technical skills and skills needed for his job, and then behavioral skills such as interpersonal skills, leadership skills and team collaboration. With these metrics you can create quantitative or qualitative surveys and distribute it to the employees. The employees rate themselves first and then you can get feedback from peers and you can send different set of surveys to the customers. 

This is just going to help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your employees and the areas that they need to work on. 

Create a culture of constructive feedback 

Feedback is integral to every communication platform. It is not what we give but the way you give it. When you are busy trying to implement the 360 degree review in the workplace, it is important that you tell your employees what is expected out of them. You need to make them understand that feedback needs to be objective and free from subjectivity. This will negate any form of biased reviews.  

Similarly, you need to train your employees on how to receive feedback. Why is it important to the system? This rule applies to you as well. You need to practice what you preach. With the 360 degree feedback, employees have the agency to give feedback to their superiors. You as a leader need to take it seriously as well. Anonymity is one way you could prevent any room for prejudices. Preserving the anonymity of the raters will help them give honest feedback without having to worry about your reaction or the others. 

Accompany it with developmental programs 

Giving feedback is one thing, but what next. The work doesn’t end there. We have discussed previously that the 360 degree review mechanism seeks to increase the performance and productivity of the employee. The employee contributes to the larger picture of the organization.  

When your employees are dedicated to the business productivity of your organization, it is only fair that they want to work for someone who is equally invested in their careers. Therefore, you need to identify their strengths and weaknesses and develop training programs for them to improve on their skillsets. Now that you have received your feedback reports, analyze them properly and do what you best can to develop your employees professionally. 

Closing thoughts… 

To conclude, the 360 degree feedback helps to improve your employee’s performance because you get multiple perspectives on your employee’s performance. Feedback must be a process that is future oriented and keep your employees informed on everything about the system. Communicate everything clearly and you will leave no room for any ambiguity.  

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