Exploring the benefits of 360 feedback.
There are many reasons for people to do a 360 feedback exercise. We work with a wide variety of organisations who use 360 feedback for diverse reasons, ranging from:
Whatever the purpose or subject of your 360 feedback, all 360 feedback have the following benefits:
360 feedback questionnaires contain a number of statements or questions, against which the rater must score the participant. High scores clearly indicate the participant’s strengths. Text feedback can further highlight their good points.
Low feedback scores in certain areas can indicate a weakness to be addressed. We prefer to call them development opportunities! These can reveal training or development needs or show which areas of the training the participant should focus on. Training can be tailored to an individual’s unique requirements. Companies can create bespoke 360 feedback aligned to their values to spot where additional training is required.
Everyone thinks they know their own strengths and weaknesses, however sometimes there is a disconnect between our own views and those of our colleagues. It’s important to identify these blind spots, although they can be difficult to hear and face up to, however approaching them with an open mind and a desire to improve will help, benefitting everyone in the long run.
Completing regular 360 feedback shows where improvements have been made, either as a result of training or personal efforts. Our training customers often ask participants to complete a pre-training 360 to identify training needs, then another 360 around nine months after the training to demonstrate the benefits of that training. Regular 360 feedback within companies can be part of a process of continuous improvement.
By its very nature, 360 feedback collects the views of a diverse group of people, from all levels of the organisation, including people you work with outside your department, or those people you don’t often see face to face. It can also include feedback from outside an organisation e.g. customers for a sales or customer service 360 or family and friends for resilience or Emotional Intelligence 360. This wide range of viewpoints gives more useful information, highlights things that might not be immediately obvious within a team or department and removes any bias created by personal friendships or animosities.
Those reviewing the 360 feedback may spot themes across the feedback of several employees. These may suggest that changes are required at a team, department or organisational level. Examples include low moral or lack of motivation in a particular department, several employees reporting that systems or tools are not fit for purpose, or perceived unfair division of work. On a more positive note, free text feedback can also contain suggestions for improvements in systems, processes or procedures.
Online 360 feedback is usually anonymous, so people may feel more able to give difficult feedback and reveal their genuine views. One of our customers believes that feedback should be named, which would be great in a perfect world, but can be problematic in the reality. Named vs anonymous feedback will be the subject of a future article.
A bespoke 360 feedback can be created to assess participants’ skills against their organisation’s values or their job’s key skills or competencies. This can form part of an appraisal or a programme of organisational or personal development.
Overall, 360 feedback aims to help you to be the best that you can be, by showing what you do well, where you could improve and where to focus your development efforts.