Imagine a company where the executives aren’t working together as a team or a manager who is having trouble dealing with a member of the team and is unsure why. It’s practically hard for people to enhance their performance without feedback, insight, or guidance from others. That’s where 360-degree feedback comes in handy: it might reveal blind spots that are hindering an employee from progressing.

Organizations employ 360-degree feedback as one of several evaluation techniques as part of talent management. It’s utilized for things like performance reviews, succession planning, identifying training requirements, and developmental programmes, among other things. Receiving development feedback is beneficial to all employees since it helps them understand their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how to improve in their professions.

Apart from organizations realizing the need for 360-degree feedback for specified purposes, it proves to be an important tool for individuals and their growth and development. It becomes one of the tools for self-awareness where individuals come to know how they are perceived by others.

As a process, 360-degree feedback involves identifying specific areas and obtaining feedback from the individual’s key stakeholders or significant others (superiors, peers, subordinates, customers, vendors, family, and friends, etc.) on those areas. It is therefore essential that all involved in the process (individual and his/ her raters) participate willingly, understand its seriousness and value its benefits. It is critical, therefore, that both individuals and organizations are open to and ready to accept 360-degree input.

There are various features or factors that companies should be equipped with at the organizational and individual levels in order to fulfil the identified goal and get the most out of the 360-degree feedback activity.

Open & Transparent Communication

At the organizational level, an organization’s culture should be such that it promotes and facilitates an open channel of communication across levels and functions. Besides, the employees should be encouraged to freely share their views and opinions without hesitation or fear of consequences. This
would help in building trust and transparency within and among employees. Such an environment acts as an enabler in implementing various organizational initiatives including 360-degree feedback or even
performance feedback.

Learning Culture

There are organizations that focus on continuous growth and learning. Such organizations use various approaches to foster learning culture and inspire their employees to continually learn, develop and advance their capabilities which benefit both the individual and the organization. This further aids in implementing any new initiative and reaping its benefits.

Orienting Individuals

To prepare individuals for 360-degree feedback (even performance feedback), organizations may plan to conduct orientation sessions that include individuals and their key stakeholders who are to give feedback for the individual. These sessions, besides sharing the objective of 360-degree feedback, should include do’s and don’ts of giving and receiving feedback like objectivity in feedback, dealing with personal bias, maintaining the confidentiality of feedback giver, etc.

Openness to Feedback

While openness in receiving feedback on the part of the feedback receiver is crucial, equally significant is the role of the feedback giver. The persons nominated by the individual to share feedback for him/ her have a great responsibility wherein they are required to be candid, honest yet sensitive towards others. At the same time, if the person receiving the feedback is not open to feedback, the entire exercise is an effort in vain or futile – for individual and organization.

While there may be other aspects that organizations and individuals should be prepared about before considering 360-degree feedback, these four aspects are the basics.

A 360-degree feedback approach that incorporates coaching is a great tool for leaders and their businesses. Rather than having an executive team that is always competing with one another, there is a change toward collaboration and teamwork. Managers who were unsure about how to handle failing employees now have a strategy in place to adapt their management style to match their requirements. Individuals may go forward and positively affect their working relationships by recognizing blind spots and hidden strengths throughout the 360-degree feedback process.

Before going ahead with 360-degree feedback next time; ask yourself – are you ready for it, if not how do you prepare yourself for it and how do you support your organization in this initiative?

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