The benefits of conducting 360 surveys to collect feedback have been well documented. 360 survey responses provide great insight into an organization’s overall health and its leadership. They are called 360’s because they represent a compilation of feedback and input from a circle of observers, adding facets of objectivity to what can be a very subjective process.
Gathering input from colleagues who work for, and with an individual provides a panoramic view of how he/she “shows up” in the workplace, ideally mitigating the influence of bias on a person’s overall rating that can be present when based on a single point of view.
Receiving feedback is a gift! It is how we learn and grow. But it can be difficult to request feedback from others, and even more difficult to offer feedback if you have concerns about how it will be interpreted. When used effectively, potential benefits of gathering 360 feedback can include improved manager/direct-report communication and relationships, more productive, higher value relationships among colleagues and greater alignment with senior management priorities and organizational strategic objectives.
Two important components of 360 implementation are anonymity and respondent selection. It is important that direct report, peer and colleague raters are assured that their unique responses will be kept confidential and that they trust the process. It is also important that respondents selected are not limited to those who have a good relationship with the person receiving feedback.
Below are a few examples of the gains that can result from a 360 survey program when well implemented:
The range of perspectives represented by 360 survey respondents provides the feedback recipient with greater awareness of the impact of his or her behavior on others. By gaining insight into how they are viewed by peers, managers and direct reports, the person can assess whether his or her intentions are aligned with how their behavior and actions are perceived. Feedback also provides insight into the perceptions of different response groups (E.g. direct resorts vs. peers), and how interactions with colleagues may vary from one group to another.
When all members of a team or group receive 360 feedback, team reports reflecting aggregate results can provide a lens for identifying themes and reflections of the team’s culture. Bringing team members more in tune with how they are perceived collectively (including their perceptions of each other) can reveal meaningful opportunities to address priorities and expectations that impact everyone’s role on the team. This is especially the case when there has been a transition in team leadership.
By asking for their input, employees are more likely to feel that their opinions are valued by their employer, senior leaders, managers and colleagues. When receptiveness to feedback is demonstrated and encouraged, employees are more likely to voice honest opinions and concerns. This contributes to a more open culture characterized by transparency, and encourages dialogue among colleagues, direct reports and managers, all elements that contribute to good working relationships.
Utilizing 360 feedback has clear and tangible benefits that go beyond the leadership and general health of an organization. It can have a great impact for teams and individuals by creating the optimum conditions for improving and strengthening working relationships.
360 feedback surveys are not one size fits all. Everyday language and terms can vary significantly based on the research methodology used by the survey publisher to measure reliability and validation. When considering the use of a 360 survey, it is important to select a survey design and approach that is aligned with your organization’s overall evaluation approach and professional development strategy.
We are pleased to offer a variety of 360 survey options. If you would like to learn more about how 360 survey implementation could enhance your overall professional development program, we would love to hear from you!