10 Best Practices for 360 degree feedback implementation

360 degree feedback collects comprehensive data on employee performance from a variety of stakeholders in an organization. This data offers valuable insight into employee performance when the setup and follow up is conducted properly. Since the 360 degree feedback process can be implemented in a wide variety of industries, locations, and companies with diverging cultures, it is difficult to offer just one recommendation. Generally speaking, however, there are some practices that can be used in most organizations for multisource feedback.

Below are 10 steps below are the best practices on how to best plan, implement, and followup a 360 degree feedback system:

1. Sufficient Planning:

360 degree feedback systems are intensive ventures if used correctly, for both management and employees. Therefore, it is essential to plan in advance in terms of time and money for your company’s specific needs. What are the goals you are looking to conquer through multisource feedback? This includes the number of times the feedback should be evaluated, the length of the surveys, and the type of performance data system used. In addition to conducting the survey, it is also crucial that time and resources are allocated for the analysis or follow up.

When deciding on a survey feedback system, depending on your budget and company size and growth rate, consider a system that allows multiple surveys and survey types running at the same time so that you centralize your data collection. This will bring simplicity as it minimizes the learning curve for the employees or vendors.

2) Evaluate the purpose of 360 degree feedback

The purpose of a 360 degree feedback system is to stimulate employee development, productivity, and performance. Avoid setting up feedback metrics programs to address bonus pay structures, disciplinary actions, or employee dismissal strategies. Conducting a 360 degree survey for the wrong reasons will cause employees to become disenchanted with the entire process, and ultimately become wary of opening up to the organization. A 360 appraisal is about continuous development in an organization, it is not about quantifying a specific objective or one-time performance approval. A performance appraisal offers the benchmarking for a goals or ends, but a 360 degree feedback survey works to improve an organization constantly. Therefore, evaluate the intention of conducting the performance review before getting started.

3) Support of senior management

A company’s mission is determined by the senior management, so it is essential that this vision is also communicated in the 360 degree feedback. These stakeholders must believe in the multisource feedback process and communicate the advantages so that employees gain trust and are able to realize their efforts are helpful to the overall process. Since the process is resource intensive, it is crucial that the senior management supports it from the beginning, believing in the feedback’s ability to continuously stress positive change.

It is important to find a good person within the team or on the board of directors to exchange ideas with about how this performance evaluation will impact the bottom line performance indicators through these tools.

4.  Choose the administrator carefully

Even though senior management is likely to set goals for employees, they are rarely the ones to put the 360 degree performance evaluation into practice.This administrator is often times the company’s HR manager, but it does not have to be. To select the person to administer the feedback and create the initial survey, it is important that they too believe in the company’s vision. They should have an unbiased attitude and the communicative ability to discuss results without any predisposition.

5. Establish credibility amongst employees

Communication an important first step before deploying any feedback management system. Communicating the development, self-help factor, and the pursuit of further personal and career development is both the interest of the employee and the company.

6. Build Trust

Stress to employees the individual feedback is anonymous. This will encourage honesty and communication since all feedback is used to better the company. Some companies even offer a third party administrator to communicate the results for an even less biased perspective. For employees to fully embrace the 360 degree feedback process, they must be able to confide in best practices, expertise, and support from the vendor.

7. Maintain Consistency

An effective 360 degree feedback survey will ideally be conducted every several months as it will help to benchmark forward progress. Maintaining the same attitude throughout these surveys is important to ensure that results remain comparable and the data can be explained.

If perhaps one survey form on a company-wide level is too broad, not taking issue with the specific competencies on different employee and management levels, in some cases it can be useful to make a distinction between management related roles compared to reporting roles. We often advise companies to conduct one or two forms and keeping them general enough to address common behavioral traits shared across your company culture, vision, mission and work expectations. Especially larger companies should consider retaining certain oversight with structured consistency. The more specific the survey is, the more difficult it is to compile data across different levels, risking employees feeling disavowed with the process due to differentiating criteria.

8. Positive Question Formulation

Formulate your question in a positive manner avoiding negative constructs. The administrator of the 360 degree feedback program is responsible for setting the tone of the survey. Positivity gives the employees the mindset that change is encouraged in the organization and backed by the administration.

9. Avoid Survey Overkill

Keep the 360 degree review forms simple and short. It is important that the surveys are not overloaded with too many questions as it will likely cause employees to lose their interest, and likely skew the data. Make sure every question is relevant and asked in the clearest, most concise manner.

Always ask, ‘Is this question relevant to our company vision, mission, work ethic or work expectation, to what extent can I impact the behavioral metric and what means are available to me to deliver the required impact?”

10. Provide Follow-up

360 degree feedback is designed to collect data from a variety of relevant stakeholders in an organization, though this comprehensive data is only helpful if strategically acted upon. The reviews can provide a company with a structured basis to show employee performance. To ensure progress, follow up beyond data is necessary for employees to reach their full potential. A self-reflective report may be helpful as an employee should strive to correct certain deficiencies themselves, though it is the development goal strategy that will stress continued success and talent development. Read a blog post about why follow up is essential after a 360 degree feedback survey.