8 Simple Guidelines to Structure a Successful 360 Feedback Program

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In this post, we will outline the necessary steps to ensure a successful 360-degree feedback review campaign with EchoSpan. Keep in mind the goal of the review is to end with information that will help your employees be more successful in their roles.

1. Identify company's core competencies

Many business leaders get in a big hurry and look for review content that is already written based upon someone else s theory of what your people need to do to be successful. Resist this shortcut. Build your own review based upon the leadership competencies of your company, or engage us to help with the EchoSpan competency library. If you have not identified your leadership competencies, do so before beginning the review process. Ask the other leaders in the company what are the 4-5 things your managers must do in order for your company to be successful. After you have spent time interviewing your managers, you will notice that several competencies are being repeated. These are your core leadership competencies.

2. Develop behavioral items for each competency

After you have identified your core competencies, you will need to find a way to measure them. Each competency should have 5-10 observable behaviors that objectively describe each competency. For example: If Communication is a competency, you may have an item This manager listens to me without interrupting . If you are not able to generate behavioral items for a competency, then it is probably not a good competency. Remember, you are going to ask raters to state how frequently they observe specific behaviors. Each competency in EchoSpan s library contains suggested beharioral items that you can leverage in your reviews.

3. Have a senior member of management communicate to the entire company that a 360 campaign will begin shortly and why it is being conducted

Once you have determined the feedback you wish to generate, tell the organization what you are doing and why the 360 is being conducted. It should be presented with emphasis on the employees development and not positioned as a performance review. 360-degree feedback reviews should not be part of an employee s official file and should not be used in determining employment (the performance review is the document to use in these situations). Raters need to be informed that their responses are anonymous and that their scores will be aggregated and presented to the target as one score (the exception being Supervisor scores). Participation in the review is required and everyone who is invited to participate is expected to do so. It is also beneficial to disclose who will have access to the reports and how the data will be acted upon.

4. Be inclusive. Anyone that manages people should receive a review

We recommend that everyone who has people management responsibility be included in the 360 campaign. Managers want to know how others perceive their behavior and usually welcome the opportunity to receive candid feedback. Do not limit the review to your best or worst managers, all managers deserve this feedback despite their performance. If you have a large company, you may choose to review specific levels of managers at one time and spread the process out over the course of the year. Furthermore, if your competencies are different at management levels, the review items should reflect this change.

5. Don't delay in distributing results reports

Once the review is complete, it is important to distribute the reports to the targets as quickly as possible. Every person who has access to the report should receive a copy and review the results. We have found that distributing the review via email as a PDF attachment works best. Historically, reports have been printed and handed out as written reports, but it is our experience that electronic reports are preferable because they are easier to distribute and save.

6. Debrief meeting-reviewing results with participants

After reports have been distributed, a debrief meeting should be scheduled by a supervisor or coach to review the report with each target. A debriefing meeting ultimately helps the employee see that the feedback they have received, even if perceived as negative, is being directed to a positive, constructive outcome. It is imperative that the target study the report and understand the data that is being shared. It s usually best to present the feedback report to the employee a day prior to the meeting or at the meeting. This is so that any conclusions that the employee reaches by reading it can be addressed quickly. If the employee hasn t read their review report already, let them do so. Sit quietly while they digest the information it contains. Once the employee has read the report, ask what their reactions are. Once you let them process their reactions, and have expressed empathy for what they may be feeling, then move on to the content. Ask what they think the underlying themes are. These may or may not line up with your pre-identified strengths and developmental opportunities

7. Create a development plan that drives results

Once the report has been reviewed, agree upon 2-3 developmental goals for the coming year. The target should make a commitment to develop and state specifically what they will do over the course of the year to improve. The EchoSpan module organizes developmental activities into the following five steps:

  • Identify the behavior and/or competency to be developed.
  • State an objective. What does the employee seek to do better?
  • Create measurements. How will the employee measure progress against the objective?
  • Take action. What activities will be done to achieve the objective? By what dates should actions be complete?
  • Document the outcome. What was the result of the actions?

The supervisor or coach should follow up with the candidate to ensure the actions were taken.

8. Conduct review again to measure behavioral changes

There are situations when it is beneficial to conduct reviews more frequently than once a year (we recommend conducting 360-degree feedback reviews on an annual basis). Targets who have significant deficiencies in behavior can benefit from more regular feedback. Behavioral changes usually take place after the person is conscious of the problem and motivated to make changes. Regular feedback of a deficiency can be the motivator that a manager needs to improve his/her behavior. Once a manager understands that they will not be able to ignore the problem any longer, they will either make improvements or deselect themselves from the position.

For additional details on how to implement an effective 360 degree feedback program for your organization, please reach out to us at contact@echospan.com.

Last updated: Tuesday, March 2, 2021
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