360 degree feedback or multirater feedback, although termed as a modern method, has been a topic of research for over 45 years. One of its first research papers was published in 1974 and was titled; “Group feedback and group contingencies in modifying behavior of fifth graders”. Globally, organizations such as GE, IBM, Amazon, PepsiCo, etc., have already started using 360 degree feedback. It is more balanced, procured from multiple sources, and helps in identifying areas of improvement. Moreover, it increases self-awareness, improves working relationships, and enhances the performance of the employee.
While some have made the shift, but others are still following traditional employee feedback practices. Implementing a 360 degree feedback will not only promote an open culture in the organization but will also keep the employees engaged, which will drive employee retention. Here are 7 tips to help you get started with 360 degree feedback in your organization.
Know The Purpose
Many organizations implement 360 degree feedback without any clear goal or objective in mind. Before starting with the process, the organization and the leadership should identify what they want to achieve from the process. They should be able to answer some basic questions before starting the process.
- “What current problems do we need to solve?”
- “Will everyone be part of the process?”
- “How will we use the results?”
- “Will every employee be part of the process?”
Once organizations know why they are conducting the process, the probability of success increases.
Is Your Organization Ready For It?
As per a study by Smith and Walker(2001), positive 360-degree feedback ratings of bank managers were correlated with customer loyalty.
Before implementing any new process, it is important to check the readiness of the organization and its employees. It is crucial in determining the success of the process. Before starting with the process, it is important to know how open everyone is to receive feedback from others. Managers and senior leaders might be hesitant to be part of a process where they will be evaluated by their direct reports. When you implement it for the first time, senior leadership needs to be on board with the plan. Leaders should understand the process to make it easier to pilot it down throughout the organization.
Communicate The Process In Advance
Effective communication is the key to organizational success, as it helps businesses around the world to function smoothly. When you are implementing a 360 degree feedback process for the first time, it is important to communicate the: Why, How, and What of the process to all the stakeholders involved.
Communicate and conduct informative sessions on what is 360 performance review and why it should be implemented. Share the purpose, objective, and a timeline to implement the process in your organization. Inform everyone about the process of how the feedback will be collected and utilized. It will result in more transparency in the process, thus making it effective.
Disclose Anonymity Or Attribution
Inform your employees well in advance whether the feedback will be anonymous or attributed. When the process is anonymous, everyone can share genuine and unbiased feedback. They share their opinions and concerns freely without the fear of oppression.
While on the other hand, some companies prefer the process to be open and attributed. It opens up a room for discussion between the reviewers and reviewees on the feedback received.
Manage Rater Selection
Rater selection is one of the most important processes in 360 degree feedback. The list of raters involves a wide spectrum of people starting from managers, team leaders, peers, direct reports, customers, and vendors. It is recommended to select at least one superior, three-five peers, and six-eight direct reports; it will ensure that there is enough number of participants to receive relevant and comprehensive feedback data. In addition to this, raters should have at least six months of working relationship with the reviewee.
Identify A Coach
Many organizations launch the 360 degree feedback successfully, but they fail to follow the process through till the end. This makes it necessary to have a coach who will guide throughout the 360 performance review process. Their role will involve training the raters and employees, analyzing reports, and making developmental plans for the employees. A coach can be someone internal such as the HR, the manager, or the team leader; or someone external who is a practitioner of 360 degree methodology.
It is recommended to have a designated coach in the initial stages of the implementation of 360 performance review.
360 Degree Feedback Software
Having a 360 degree feedback tool makes it easy to implement the process. Currently, multiple tools in the market have 360 degree feedback as part of their performance management suite, but it is important to select one which is easy to use, and requires no prior training. Go for a demo version of the tool before zeroing down on the final one. The tool should support simple customizations and should be robust at the same time. Moreover, there should be a 24*7 customer support team to help with any issues.
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