Sustainability: Recycling and refreshing your 360 programme
Research suggests that the benefits of 360 Degree Feedback did not result in significant changes in managerial effectiveness until participants had been through the 360 process at least twice. And, for those managers who went through the process four times, three times, twice or just once, their superiors' evaluations improved 21%, 16%, 10% and 7% respectively; clearly meaningful improvements.
- Build sustainability into the design of the 360 by aligning it your key corporate skillsets, competencies and values
- Keep it simple and easy to understand
- Create a framework that is common across the whole organisation, with the ability to add in additional pieces for specific roles, functions or development
- Create a clear and consistent process for discussing 360 Degree Feedback, and for creating follow-up actions that come out of the messages in the 360 report
- Integrate the 360 framework into all people processes. For example, the same competencies that are measured should be those used for recruitment interviewing, training, development, talent management, performance and succession. The 360 then gradually becomes accepted in the organisation and becomes part of the culture of feedback.
And the final point is that once identified, the company gives the manager the support and resources to be able to make the changes he or she needs to make. John Herlihey of Google has described how his company uses 360; again as part of how they do what they do, not just an occasional activity:
"We measure people every 90 days. We get 360 Degree Feedback on people every 180 days and that feedback is published to the whole company. People want reality."
- Create valuable data and metrics from the 360 Degree Feedback on an ongoing basis, so that senior management can obtain critical data on skills, talent management activities, training and leadership development and other trends
- You can also create excitement and re-engage staff about 360 Degree Feedback by adding elements or different approaches to the process, while still maintaining the consistency of content and value. These are some real life examples from organisations I work with:
- Add photos to the profiles of people in your online 360 system. This has been proven to help colleagues give better feedback as it appears to have a positive effect on their memory
- Provide an 'instant feedback' tool that incorporates social media design like the Facebook 'wall', where colleagues can write a quick piece of feedback based on something they have just observed. This is particularly useful where they have already been asked to give 360 and are able to give an update on their colleague's changed behaviours
- Involve more people in the 360 process – even staff not normally included should be included in the process. Shop or factory-floor staff can engage with the 360 through providing them with private areas and PCs which they can use to give feedback in the normal way
- Help managers to get easy access to the 360 data and help them to debrief and coach with 360 – it will help them to have the right conversations with their teams
- Team 360 – aggregating individual feedback or asking colleagues to feed back on a team, not individuals – can be a powerful tool to take 360 to the next level and empower teams to work on improving their performance together
If you're going to make an investment of time, money and energy into a 360 Degree Feedback, it's worth making it sustainable from the start.
Jo Ayoubi is managing director of Track Surveys Ltd