Tips on 360-Degree Feedback

2014-07-17 by EPR Staff

ken kurson Professional training

360-degree feedback is a system where rather than receiving performance feedback from just your immediate manager; you get feedback from all directions. Your peers provide feedback to you, and if there are people reporting to you, they do too. The idea is that these people may see different aspects of your performance than your manager do, giving you a more accurate picture for career development.

How can leaders use 360-degree feedback to accomplish their goals? The key to helping your company thrive is to have engaged employees. When the people who work for you are not feeling motivated, your productivity and output drops. 360-degree feedback should be used to assess problems and fix irregularities. Here are some tips to help your company succeed, after we spoke to veteran journalist Ken Kurson on the issue.

According to Ken Kurson – who has won multiple awards for management and leadership, some keys:

Executive appraisal

360-degree feedback is excellent for conducting executive appraisals. Many leaders find it difficult to get genuine feedback from workers on their performance; they often assume that the success of their company is an indicator of their effectiveness. To some extent, that is true. 360-degree feedback should help leaders fix company errors and boost efficiency; however, when employees are too afraid to state their mind, these evaluations provide incorrect information.

Explain expectations clearly

People in a management position have usually had some training or instruction in providing performance feedback, since it is a key responsibility for their position. When you introduce a 360-degree program, many people give feedbacks that have never been trained. They may not understand their role, and the type of feedback they are supposed to provide. This can lead to major variances in feedback between different people, as well as undesirable elements, like injecting personal notes rather than keeping it professional. Explain the process and expectations clearly to all participants.

Keep it short

When you bring in 360-degree feedback, it means that people will have to provide performance feedback on numerous people. One person might need to do feedback on 5, 10 or even 20 people. This takes time, and they will be getting tired by the end of it, and providing less useful feedback. Keep the time requirements in mind, and make your questionnaires fairly short. Ask workers to give brief, honest answers, and maintain their privacy. As a leader, company CEO, or manager, you should be interested in the results of the 360-degree feedback.

Put questions in everyday language

Some companies have 360-degree questionnaires that are full of jargon, and sound like they were written by an academic or a management consultant. Remember that these questions will be read and answered by non-management personnel. Put the questions into simple, clear language. If you use questions that sound like what someone would say in normal conversation, you will have better responses as a result.

Describe the ratings clearly

Sometimes the ratings on the questionnaire are vague, with labels like “Agreement,” and generic instructions like “Rate these statements based on their agreement with the subject.” This is not as clear as it could be for someone filling it out. Try to be as specific as possible, like “Rate each statement below to show much you agree that it describes the way this person fulfills his or her job responsibilities.”

Provide examples for ratings

If you can give examples of what type of behavior should qualify for different ratings, it can improve the consistency of your results. What is a behavior that should qualify for the highest rating, or the lowest? This makes clearer to feedback providers what the ratings really mean.

Follow up

If you go through this whole process, and then nothing happens as a result, it was a waste of time and money. People will be more skeptical about it in the future, if you try to do it again. To be effective, the results need to be used to create action plans for development, and then there needs to be scheduled follow up. 360-degree feedback is a process or system where leaders, managers, and employees get confidential feedback regarding their performance from the people around them. The feedback comes as a questionnaire, and the results are meant to help companies increase accomplishment. In order for the results to be accurate, the surveys must be anonymous; they should contain valuable questions and allow the responder to give honest, straight answer.

Noteably, over the course of Ken Kurson’s leadership, the Observer became a digitally focused, national publication, growing from 1.1 million monthly unique users doing 3 million pageviews to 6 million unique users doing 20 million pageviews (source: Google Analytics) and from the 3698th biggest site in America to the 275th  (source: Quantcast).