Six Common Mistakes in 360-Degree Feedback Design

We uncover the most commonly made mistakes in 360-degree feedback design--so you can avoid them!

Articles » Six Common Mistakes in 360-Degree Feedback Design

All too often, professional development programs fall short of their intentions of providing accurate, objective insights. In our more than seven years of experience conducting thousands of 360-degree feedback reviews, we've identified several common mistakes that prevent survey programs from working. 

1. Failure to Inform Participants.
Before initiating the survey, it is imperative that Targets and Raters receive a letter introducing the 360 process. This letter should come from a member of senior management within the company, explaining why the survey is being conducted and how the results will be used to develop managers. It is only after participants understand the process, that they will be able to offer candid and honest feedback.

2. Misuse of Data.
The purpose of 360-degree feedback review data should be limited to professional growth and development. The results should never be used to render employment decisions. Once the data is misused, Raters will no longer provide the Targets with candid feedback. Scores become inflated once participants believe the data is used to limit or punish Targets.

3. Confidentiality is Not Guaranteed to the Raters.
Most, if not all, survey companies state that the Raters' responses are confidential and anonymous. However, the reports are presented in such a way that individual scores are presented. We insure confidentiality and anonymity by presenting the scores as aggregate data.

4. Targets Fail to Include Appropriate Raters.
Targets will accept the results of the survey more easily when they have participated in the selection of the Raters. However, it is common for Targets to "cherry pick" those who they believe perceive them most positively and eliminate those whom they do not have as strong a relationship. In order for the process to be credible, both friend and foe most be invited to provide feedback.

5. Company Does Not Review the Rater List.
If Targets are allowed to select their own group of Raters, it's imperative that an internal Auditor verify those lists for appropriateness and objectivity. To counteract the problems associated with unchecked, self-selected Rater lists, the EchoSpan service utilizes internal Auditors to approve all Target generated Rater lists. The Auditor is an internal person who knows the organization and the Target's colleagues. Before Raters begin providing feedback, the Auditor must approve the Rater list. The Auditor may also add or eliminate Raters based upon their ability to provide honest feedback.

6. Survey Items are Not Consistent with the Company's Performance Competencies.
Many large survey companies have an "off the shelf" survey that they sell their customers. All EchoSpan surveys are customized to represent the company's core management competencies. We at EchoSpan believe you know your business better that anyone else. Furthermore, you should be the one who defines success in your organization, not us or anyone else.

EchoSpan is one of the fastest growing and most valued Web-based performance management services providers on the market. Through our comprehensive suite of online tools, we provide an unprecedented level of insight into companies' human resource and goal-management activities. Currently, EchoSpan's suite of tools includes 360 feedback, performance reviews, total goal management and employee surveys. All of our tools share a common platform, which means data is easily exchanged between each module. This provides managers complete access to employee and company performance metrics from a single Web-based dashboard.


Last updated: Monday, January 16, 2012
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