Early warning signs to look out for in 360 degree feedback

Worried something isn’t quite right? There are many early warning signs that could indicate your 360 degree feedback plan isn’t running smoothly. It is your role, as an agent of change in the 360 degree process, to protect your outcomes and tackle these challenges head on.

Here are some simple signs to look out for; from the moment you suggest implementing a 360 approach to the second you step into a feedback discovery session.

In the Initial Stages
Implementing a 360 degree process takes commitment and it can’t be championed by you and you alone. If there’s no one else in your corner who’s willing to support the project this is a clear sign to retreat and consider other feedback processes that may better suit your company’s needs.

Similarly, if there is an inherent climate of distrust and a number of dysfunctional relationships hampering progress you may not benefit from 360 – a process that requires collaboration and participation. The same can be said for a culture of cynicism or fear, which can make staff feel under pressure not to give feedback, or only give positive feedback to particular individuals, this skewing the results.

If your company is in a time of rapid change or under the scrutiny of regulators this could also be a sign that the stability required for a 360 degree process is not in place.

When Designing Your Feedback Survey
Is your survey boring, repetitive, difficult to complete, slow to load or irritating? If you found yourself saying ‘yes’ to any of these it may be an early warning sign that your feedback survey is not ready to be presented to staff.

A good 360 feedback survey should be quick, efficient, and easy to understand. Typically, a feedback giver should be able to rate on a chosen scale in five seconds, meaning a 100 question survey should take around 10 minutes.

Try to avoid:
• Repetition
• Long complicated phrases or words
• Questions longer than eight words

Try to ensure:
• A single concept per question
• A common sense structure
• Questions are relevant and likely to result in interesting results

When Interpreting and Presenting Data
With so much data to work through, it’s important to look for relevant insights that directly relates to the individual’s place in your organisation or business. Some data may be interesting, but that isn’t always what’s needed.

Remember:
• One person’s ‘good’ may be another person’s ‘satisfactory’ so don’t take ratings at face value
• Don’t assume lowest rated areas and highest rated areas are always the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, a ‘can-do positive attitude’ can be great for some and distracting for others.

If your feedback is especially long, complex or text-heavy it could be a sign that you’ve failed to distil data in a meaningful way for the recipient. Aim for clear sections, easy-to-read fonts, graphics and charts to keep the recipient engaged, while ensuring they can see how conclusions have been drawn.

In Feedback Sessions
If you’re using the 360 degree Discovery Method there could be some clear warning signs that a recipient is either emotionally upset by their feedback or resistant to feedback entirely. They may be displaying closed, protective body language or unwilling to answer questions with more than a ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘okay’. They may also be unwilling to attend feedback sessions entirely, or quashing the importance or accuracy of the 360 feedback process around their colleagues. In all of these cases manage the situation by noticing the upset, acknowledging the upset and encouraging discussion – only then can you move towards the stage of long-term growth and transformation.

For more on this and other incredibly powerful insights and advice, get your copy of 360 Feedback : A Transformational Approach today.


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