360 Feedback Assessments are a highly effective way to invest in your organization’s leadership development—if done correctly. Having facilitated hundreds of 360 Feedback Interviews over the past 20 years, I have found that certain best practices will ensure the best results.
- Define the goals of the 360. In the early stages of discussion, I like to help the client define their goals for implementing a 360 Assessment process. Is this for individual leadership development, to assist in supporting bonuses, raises and promotions, or to improve performance management? Clarifying this up front is key to defining which 360 tool to use, how to administer it effectively and manage its results.
- Pick the right 360 tool. It is important for stakeholders to understand the benefits of live 360 Feedback Assessments versus digital 360 assessments. Live 360s involve actual interviews facilitated by an Executive Coach with the participants. There are numerous 360 digital platforms (e.g. Culture Amp, SurveySparrow, etc.) currently on the market —each of which has different pricing structures, membership fees, and the ability to integrate with existing HR platforms. These are typically more effective in administering 360s for a larger group of employees. In the pre-liminary stages of engaging a client regarding the 360 process, I find it is important to educate them on these different options and ultimately select the tool that aligns with their budget and the desired outcomes.
- Involve leadership. When 360s are administered in a collaborative fashion, you get better engagement, minimal resistance and greater support for the client receiving the feedback. There are several ways to include leadership: 1) have the client, their manager and HR collaboratively select the 360 participants for the feedback process 2) have leadership discuss with the employee the reason or concerns for embarking on a 360 and 3) have the client and manager debrief the 360 results together.
- Know how to deliver the feedback. A common pitfall is when organizations don’t debrief the 360 results correctly or they don’t debrief them at all. Failing to help the employee translate the insights of the 360 into actionable steps can completely undermine its effectiveness. Management skills training in how to facilitate these feedback conversations as well as resourcing the employee with an Executive Coach will ensure that the feedback converts to improved performance.