Feedback is vital, be it positive or negative, but in this blog – the first of 2 on the subject, I’d like to consider some of the judgements organisations need to make before embarking on a 360° feedback journey. Getting this right can make the difference between a very positive or potentially very negative process for managers and their team members.
There is no doubt that, in today’s challenging times, many organisations are examining ways to improve performance, and 360°feedback is becoming an increasingly popular mechanism to establish information about performance and development needs.
When done well, 360° feedback can be very constructive in developing people’s awareness of themselves. It can increase understanding of the behaviours required to improve both individual and organisational performance. What is really important is to ensure that the required ‘understanding’ is definitely in place and professional debriefing and coaching provides that measurement.
But there is a risk – outcomes can be conflict, demotivation, suspicion, grievance or even disciplinary discussions.
Based on our experience of helping clients create and conduct a successful 360° feedback processes, here are 10 questions organisations should ask before getting close to starting the process.
- Does the organisational culture really support the introduction of 360° feedback?
- Would we describe our culture (not just in HR) as being open, trusting, and honest?
- Is there a genuine interest in and desire for feedback within the management hierarchy?
- Will our senior managers show real commitment to the process?
- Will those taking part be prepared to get involved at the planning stage?
- Will managers only identify raters that will offer positive commentary?
- Will we be able to ensure anonymity for the raters?
- Will we be able to ensure that the questionnaire relates to job performance?
- Will we be able to ensure that the questionnaire accurately describes relevant behaviours?
- Will we be able to present and debrief the feedback in a useful and sensitive way?
If you have answered ‘no’ to any of these, you undoubtedly have some preparation work to do.
As any decorator will tell you, it’s all in the preparation – get the surface smooth, clean and dry - and the paint goes on and stays on!
The questions above are all about ‘preparation’ - get senior managers on board, think through the process, link everything together and debrief professionally. The result is that the feedback goes in, and stays in!
If you can't get all of this preparation done, my advice would be to wait! Wait until you can resolve these issues and then proceed.
But the thinking and attention to detail is not done yet…
In my next blog on this subject, I will examine some of the more detailed aspects that need to be sorted to make a 360° mechanism a success.
Contact us now to discuss 360 feedback in more detail and see how we can help you create a process to embed into your organisation.
Nigel Walpole, MD, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs I’ll talk through my thoughts on some of the key issues facing managers in the workplace - lessons learnt, tips for success and general musings.
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