5 Steps to Getting the Most Out of 360-Degree Feedback

Posted November 19 2013
Renowned leadership guru Ken Blanchard once said that “feedback is the breakfast of champions.”  To grow as a professional and as a person, an employee needs feedback.  Many organizations have recognized this importance, broadening the standard manager-to-employee feedback process to a 360-degree approach including self, peer, downward and upward feedback.  

A recent TLNT article offers employees 5 helpful steps in getting the most out of 360-degree feedback:
  • Stay positive - Rather than react with shock and anger, consider feedback as a chance to improve and connect with yourself.
  • Look for themes - Instead of focusing on the numbers, focus on primary themes that emerge from the data.
  • Focus on strengths first, weaknesses second - Understanding your strengths is just as important as understanding your weaknesses.
  • Identify gaps - Because 360-degree feedback is subjective, it's important to identify gaps in perceptions.
  • Create a development plan - Take away key messages from your 360-degree feedback and develop an actionable plan to address your weaknesses.
Through its partnership with Business Decisions, CTK has assisted numerous organizations in developing 360-degree multi-rater assessments. CTK's experience has led to several key learnings:
    1. Clear assessment criteria is required for maximum impact - Employee feedback is only as good as it is relevant.  Organizations should develop clear assessment criteria for feedback providers to rate an employee on.  CTK suggests creating competency models to outline competencies (skills, abilities, knowledge, behaviors, etc.) required for each job function and/or job role.
    2. Feedback is only part of the equation for success - Organizations need to provide employees with development plans and development resources to appropriately mitigate the weaknesses provided in the feedback process.  When feedback is competency-based, development plans and resources can be easily be defined and identified.
    3. Link performance to feedback - Organizations should assess and reward performance based on the same criteria/competencies as the informal feedback process.  This will ensure objectivity in the performance management process, and provide clear performance objectives for employees. 
    4. Use a test and learn approach - Organizations should test the 360-degree feedback process before including in a formal feedback process.
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