It’s a fact that high quality 360 feedback is essential to the ongoing health of any business. Without the drive for individual development, it is unlikely an organisation will grow and thrive. While 360 feedback has a long history in the workplace, employers still face challenges when running their review processes.
By Vincent van de Belt, Cubiks Partner and Head of Third Party Channels
Organisations all over the world use 360 feedback to build self-awareness in their people and assist them in developing their skills. Despite the consensus that 360s deliver essential, constructive feedback, there remain challenges associated with using 360 questionnaires and the subsequent feedback process.
360 Feedback: 3 key issues and how to resolve them
Here are the three 360 issues we hear most frequently, and some suggestions around how you can help your employees manage the process more effectively.
1: Rater fatigue
Have you heard people complaining about completing - in a very short time span - the same 360 questionnaire again and again? Do you ever get the impression that people were more concerned with crossing the finish line than providing valuable feedback? These are clear symptoms of what we call ‘rater fatigue’.
We can point to the obvious measures to help ease this problem; like ensuring the admin is user friendly, keeping the questionnaire as short as possible, and reminding subjects to consider quality over quantity when inviting their reviewers.
In addition to this, you can ease the burden by choosing a 360 that allows reviewers to simultaneously rate multiple individuals within the same 360 process. By rating reviewees in batches, completion time will be dramatically reduced, and the task becomes much less repetitive. This, of course is good news for the quality of the results!
2: Discomfort at giving or receiving feedback
360 results are like a mirror, there’s no escaping from the fact that they might not always show you what you want to see. It’s not uncommon to fear discovering that your peers’ perception is different to how you see yourself, and this can pose a major problem in the 360 feedback process.
Organisational culture has a big part to play in enabling people to comfortably take feedback on board, as well as ensuring they are confident filling in a questionnaire that might be critical toward others. HR can implement processes and provide training, but ultimately the best results come when these initiatives are embedded within the culture. To achieve this, they need to be ingrained at the roots of the organisation. A prescriptive approach won’t work; the value of 360 feedback needs to be demonstrated from the top down, with senior management being the first to participate.
3: Information overload
It is the feedback facilitator’s task to channel the information that results from a 360 process and help reviewees identify the key messages to take from it. If this isn’t done effectively, reviewees can experience information overload; preventing them from gaining the awareness of their strengths and development areas that is required for them to start taking action.
So the question for the feedback facilitator is ‘how can I manage the output?’. If we want to prevent participants from drowning in 360 data, training feedback facilitators in delivering and communicating results is vital.
Obviously reports play an important role too. Presenting a high level overview at the start can help identify areas in which it might be valuable to focus on in more detail. Straightforward language, and easy to read graphics are a must. Managing the data can be made even easier with the use of specialist reports, for instance reports that enable you to track progress by comparing an individual’s results through time or reports that provide aggregated results to highlight the trends at a group level.
Even though you can overcome all these hurdles, you might still say that 360 processes cost too much. Of course a good, comprehensive solution (including the tool, process, implementation etc.) won’t come for free. But this investment is one that will pay dividends in time.
Implementing a high quality 360 solution will enable your people to undertake targeted development interventions to address areas in which they can improve. This doesn’t mean your entire workforce needs to register for a training course, there are a huge range of other options available to aid individual development. By confirming and highlighting the strengths of participants as well as their areas for growth, the process will help your people feel more confident and engaged and this can only boost performance.
Looking for a better way to develop your people?
Cubiks 360s deliver so much more than a simple report. Talk to us today to discover the value of deploying a flexible feedback ecosystem in your organisation. Get in touch with your local Cubiks team, or email email@example.com and we’ll get back to you.
Vincent has extensive experience delivering 360 feedback throughout multinational organisations. He’s worked with some of the world’s biggest brands to roll out development processes at all levels, building growth and strengthening business performance.
Connect with Vincent on Linkedin.