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 have started using 360 degree feedback as the method of sharing feedback with their employees. 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. GE, IBM, Amazon, PepsiCo. and many other organizations have already made a shift in their process of sharing feedback.
Also Read: Employee Feedback Matters More Than You Think
We are in the era of the startup boom, where new startups are emerging daily. But is everyone able to make it through? No, many are closing down their operations within a few years of their start. Some others are still following the traditional employee feedback practices and have a closed culture. Implementing a 360 degree feedback will not only promote an open culture in the startup but will also keep the employees engaged, which will drive employee retention. If you have not implemented it in your startup then here are some tips.
Check The Readiness
As per a study by Smith and Walker(2001), positive 360-degree feedback ratings of bank managers were correlated with customer loyalty.
Is your organization ready for a 360 degree feedback process yet? Before implementing any new process, it is important to assess how ready the organization and its employees are, for it. It is crucial in determining the success of a 360 degree feedback 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. In the following point, we will highlight how you can get everyone on board with the idea of implementing 360 degree feedback.
Also Read: Why Should You Start Practising 360 Degree Feedback?
Communication Is Important
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 in your startup, it is important to communicate the: Why, How, and Whatof the process to all the stakeholders involved.
Communicate and conduct informative sessions on what is 360 degree feedback 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.
Select The Raters
As several stakeholders are involved, 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, it is also suggested that the raters should have at least six months of working relationship with the person being reviewed.
Also Read: Competencies For A 360 Degree Feedback Form
Onboard A Coach
Many startups and multinational 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 degree feedback 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 trained in the 360 degree methodology.
It is recommended to have a designated coach for a startup in the initial stages of the implementation of 360 degree feedback.
Also Read: Role Of A Coach In 360 Degree Feedback
Invest In A 360 Degree Feedback Tool
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.
Also Read: 7 Essential Features Of A 360 Degree Feedback Tool
A new process, when implemented, will reap little results until there is an action plan associated with it. Once the feedback has been shared and the reports have been generated, the action plan should be worked upon. It should focus on the blindspots and the skill gaps that have been identified in the report. Employees, HRs, and managers should collaborate and work together in designing the action plan for the employee. Follow up should be conducted from time to time to know the progress of the employee.
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