Do you want to make people anxious at work and create chaos in your organisation? How about making your employees feel plain old uneasy and create an atmosphere of dread and despair?
You might be thinking that we’re talking about laying half of them off, right?
Nope. We’re talking about shabbily managed feedback system in your company. Though traditional feedback system is being used widely, it has quite distinct disadvantages. For instance, traditional feedback is mostly given by the employee’s reporting manager who might give biased feedback based on his/ her personal rapport with the employee rather than being impartial and fair. Also, since there is no element of anonymity, there is a chance that honest feedback is not shared while incorporating the traditional method.
Heck, we’re also talking about when you DO implement 360-degree feedback quite well in your organisation.
What is 360-degree feedback?
First things first. 360-degree feedback is a system or method whereby employees receive feedback from different entities namely their reporting manager, peers and their direct reports. The feedback is private and anonymous in nature. All one has to do is fill an online feedback form answering queries about their work-related competencies. The form includes rating-based questions supplemented by a comments section wherein respondents give their feedback. Even the person about whom the feedback is given fills out a self-rating survey, wherein he or she answers the same questions as answered by the respondents.
360-degree feedback surveys are used by organisation leaders and managers as these provide a safe and reliable way of understanding their individual strengths and weaknesses. The company profits by gaining valuable insight with respect to the present leadership, teams and overall health of the organisation. The top leaders are then able to identify what’s working and what’s not. Furthermore, the employee gains an honest appraisal of his abilities and deficiencies.
Why 360-degree feedback is necessary?
360-degree feedback offers leaders the opportunity to become more self-aware and identify their blind spots or strengths which they were not aware of. Of course, it is improbable that the top management would have reached their position without having a pretty good idea about their qualities, however honest and reliable feedback is crucial to test one’s self-perceptions. Becoming self-aware is the first step towards bringing about (hopefully) a positive change in oneself.
Benefits of 360-degree feedback
- Helps Increase Self-Awareness: 360-degree feedback helps employees gain a true insight into where they actually stand vis-à-vis their performance. This feedback is less prone to being biased and one-sided helping them become more aware about themselves.
- Creates an Open Culture: Since one gets feedback from their peers, subordinates as well as managers, the employee is exposed to a more open culture leading to enhanced productivity among teams.
- Empowers Leaders and Employees Both: It’s essential for employees to feel empowered; that they have a voice and they can air their concerns lest they become detached and feel they’re not valued by the organisation.
- Lessens Employee & Managerial Turnover: Carrying on from the above point, open and positive communication helps expose issues that may have been simmering under the surface. When employees feel important and empowered, they’re less likely to jump ship.
- Increases Accountability: 360-degree feedback also helps raise accountability of the company employees. When an organisation reinforces accountability, it helps increase employee engagement and their happiness. Furthermore, if you put an employee in the driver’s seat, giving them the ownership of the task and making them accountable for it, they’re more likely to see that task through to completion.
How do companies typically use 360-degree feedback?
Companies typically use 360-degree feedback in one of two ways – firstly, as a development tool to help employees become more adept and proficient at their work by helping them identify their core strengths and weaknesses. Secondly, as a means of performance appraisal tool to help measure and rate employee performance over the course of the year.
360-degree feedback has been around for a while and has been introduced and implemented in various degrees by several prominent enterprises. Take for instance, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Back in 2015, RBS introduced a new business strategy wherein they outlined a plan to become the world’s leading bank in delivering quality customer service, trust and advocacy. They recognized the need for bringing about wholesale changes in their culture to help empower their employees make their vision a reality.
RBS took steps to ensure that employee development was a continuous process rather than an annual process when employees got appraised. They put in place systems wherein employees get consistent feedback to aid in their personal growth and development. RBS initiated a leadership programme known as ‘Determined to Lead’ which focused on encouraging a recurrent approach to feedback geared towards self-development. The purpose was to enable leaders and other employees et al to seek feedback and improve themselves. This feedback tool was available to all employees. All one had to do to register them self was get their manager’s approval for the same.
Tips to Consider When Conducting 360 Degree Feedback Reviews
There are certain guidelines which should be adhered to while conducting 360-degree feedback helping you get the maximum bang for your buck!
- Recognize and understand the purpose behind carrying out 360-degree feedback
- Convey the purpose and explain the process of 360-degree feedback to your employees
- Test 360-degree feedback on a pilot group
- Keep the 360-degree feedback survey short and precise
Typically, 360-degree feedback is an inclusive feedback system wherein employees at the executive, managerial and leadership level can come together and engage in honest and open feedback. Herein, all involved parties are able to identify areas where they’re excelling and where they need to put in more work thereby, leading to overall improvement and growth among employees and leaders et al.