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10 Priorities to Successfully Implement a 360 Feedback Survey

360 degree feedback surveys are used to help organisations review the effectiveness of their leaders and managers and to provide them with insightful developmental feedback. They are also used to assess employees against important strategic company objectives and values such as Health and safety commitment, Managerial and leadership styles, Working Practices… and get access to the bigger picture. A well run 360 degree feedback survey can produce enormous Benefits both for the individuals taking part and for the company which employs them. The 360 degree feedback process is both sensitive and complex. A 360 degree can access very personal information relating to one’s performance. If handled incorrectly people can feel isolated and de-motivated. The introduction and implementation of a 360 degree survey must, therefore, be very carefully planned and carried out. Here are out tips to ensure a successful implementation:

1. Plan carefully

The introduction and implementation of a 360 Feedback survey must be very carefully planned and carried out. This includes having clearly articulated and communicated what the objectives and the Benefits of the survey are and how they are linked to your organisation’s objectives.

2. Ensure that sensitive, ethical issues and best practice considerations are fully taken into account

For example, to maintain feedback confidentiality, enough raters should be found for each person being rated. Consider using internal and external customers and suppliers as well as the usual direct reports and peers.

3. Using a competency framework

For consistency and fairness, rating should be done against a competency framework. The framework needs to be well established and understood and form part of the job description. If necessary, in the survey, provide a clear description of each behavior and examples of how it can be demonstrated.

4. Start at the top management

To be credible the survey should start at the top management. If your organization is very large, consider a phased roll out, opening the survey to the top levels of the organization, and extending it down over time.

5. Adapt the questionnaire to the rater’s language and culture

Behavioral expectations will vary from one country to the next and therefore some expectations might need to be explained before raters are expected to put forward their opinion.

6. Choose a suitable timing

Make sure the questionnaires are sent when most of those involved will have time to give it proper attention and synchronise with the launch of the yearly corporate training and development plan. Communicate the rational for selecting raters and the timetable for questionnaires well in advance. This will ensure that the response time allowed (usually two weeks) is not used to answer these questions but for the questionnaire itself.

7. Don’t over-burden middle managers

By deciding carefully how to phase the 360 or by approving the raters nominated by each participant, you will ensure that line managers are not solicited too many times as inevitably the quality of the feedback would suffer.

8. Use technology to reduce the burden and cost of the surveys

This will free up some of your time to concentrate on the training and development and communication plans.

9. Communicate the results to all

Ensure that you strike the right balance between rich and meaningful information whilst respecting confidentiality. To show how important the Results are to the management, ensure that they are presented by someone senior. Synchronise the presentation with the launch of the annual training and development plan.

10. Provide professional and confidential feedback

Those who have been assessed will expect a professional and confidential feedback meeting together with a development discussion. Ensure that every meeting takes place and provide training or, if possible, a trained facilitator.



Heather Eachus

Heather looks after the Getfeedback portfolio of online tests, questionnaires and surveys and works with clients to maximise both the pragmatic use of the instrument and the value of the information that it provides. Heather’s primary interest is to help clients understand the information they need to select, develop and retain the best people for their organisation. But her passion is to then see how this information can be obtained not only by introducing questionnaires and surveys but by combining this with the current systems and processes that the client already has in place. That is, taking a standard product but introducing it as a tailored solution that the client feels confident that their infrastructure, time and cost budgets allow. Her consultative approach helps her to quickly understand the talent issues faced and she combines this with a depth of learning obtained from working across all sectors, sizes of organisation and talent Challenges from other situations. This insight, coupled with the client’s input, often Results in a more creative solution than first thought. Project experience Heather supports clients across all stages of the talent lifecycle using various elements of the Getfeedback portfolio. Specifically, Heather has delivered: – A co-branded test portal for a major provider of directories to facilitate their recruitment process allowing them to make faster hiring decisions and cost per hire savings – A 360 degree survey and the resulting 1:1 feedback and development planning for a major security firm – A web-enabled, engagement survey for a multi-national technology provider to enable the measurement of employee opinion following a major acquisition – Assessment tools and process definition for a major telecoms provider to measure and identify their talent pool Previous experience Heather worked at AOL where she set up and ran the account services department for the Interactive Marketing team. Heather’s strong background in online marketing has been invaluable both in supporting her knowledge of what the internet can offer test takers and test users alike but also in terms of how best to service and support clients using Getfeedback’s online system and website. Education and qualifications – BA (Hons) French and Marketing awarded by the University of Strathclyde – British Psychological Society Levels A and B accredited.[/author]