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360 Feedback

Watch Out For These Common 360 Feedback Mistakes

By 01/08/2022September 14th, 2023No Comments

We LOOOOVE a bit of 360 Feedback here at MadeYou and we could talk to you about the benefits of providing a programme for your team until the cows come home. But for today, we want to focus on what to avoid as you embark on your 360 journey.

  • How will you avoid the process taking up too much of everyone’s time?
  • Have you considered how you’ll keep the self-assessment objective if the same questions are asked in the 360 survey?
  • How will you include your HR staff in the process if they’re also running things?
  • How will you make sure everyone is on board and giving it a genuine shot?

Read on to find out how you can avoid these common issues that may result in skewed feedback and disgruntled employees.

HR Running the 360 Feedback Programme

Fantastic in-house HR teams will commonly take on the task of creating the surveys, distributing them, collating and delivering results and coaching staff through the objective-setting process.

That’s a lot for the team to do on top of their normal day-to-day responsibilities as well as seriously hindering their ability to take part in the process themselves.

hr employee overwhelmed by the 360 feedback process

They should be able to:

  • Complete a self-assessment survey objectively (which they can’t do if they’ve written it and the 360 survey)
  • Coach individuals once they’ve received their reports (which they may have limited training for)
  • Provide the company with details of any over-arching themes that emerged from the report (which they may have limited time and little objectivity to identify)

Instead, this could all be outsourced so your HR staff can be a part of the process as an employee only and reap all the benefits of the results without it all being a drain on their resources or a stretch of their abilities.

Similar or Identical Self-Assessment and 360 Feedback Questionnaires

Most 360 programmes will involve a self-assessment questionnaire (completed by all individuals in the process) and a 360 questionnaire where individuals are asked about the performance of others.

It doesn’t make much sense for these two surveys to be similar or the same.

Think about it, if you’ve completed the self-assessment before going on to provide feedback on your colleagues via the 360 questionnaire, you may well answer with subconscious (or fully conscious!) bias if you recognise the questions and twig that they’re the same.

employee filling in a 360 feedback survey

Making the Process an Annual Pain in the Butt

Your HR team, Managers and People Leaders will not appreciate their workload doubling once a year when they realise they have to process and collate their entire team’s results by a strict deadline that may not work with their current schedule. They may also feel less inclined to participate fully and in good spirit with the process if this is the case.

For everyone else, having to complete the surveys once a year and needing to recall detailed information about projects completed long ago can be very difficult.

Outsourcing the huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes for a 360 feedback programme to work effectively will alleviate these pressures and allow all staff to participate properly, and allowing surveys to be open to ongoing completion over a number of months allows real-time feedback to the gathered.

Luke, MadeYou’s Co-Founder, summarises the importance of this flexibility:

Do you not find it a little odd that we spend our time mentoring managers to give more real-time feedback as it’s easier and more front of mind and less emotive than scheduled feedback, but then for 360 we do it as a one-time-fits-all approach?
Imagine a real time 360 set up. The survey opens at the beginning of the year. At any point in the year the individuals can request feedback from either a manager, a peer or a direct report.
If you’ve worked on something significant with this person and get their feedback straight after, in the moment, your feedback is then front of mind with the other person. This also means that for those completing surveys they are not only spread out over a wider timeline but they are also easier to fill out.
The individual can pull their report at any time and see what their cumulative focus areas are to date, allowing them to start improving things while they have time to make a difference.

Luke ToddCEO & Co-Founder

MadeYou’s open survey closes in October. By this stage, each individual must have at least 5 sets of feedback. Our 360 coach can then work with the individual on their full report ready, for next year (hopefully talking about what they have already done so far).

The coach can also then talk to the manager about the insights in time for any performance review processes.

Including Questions That Are Inaccessible to Some Departments

Everyone who is employed by your company should be able to complete the same survey without difficulty. Using department-specific jargon or overly complex, wordy questions may turn people off or worse, mean that some groups can’t understand the questions well enough to answer them fully.

This can lead to incomplete or skewed feedback, a sense of alienation and a confirmation of hierarchy; intended or otherwise. Not good in any sense!

Not Keeping Things Objective and Positive

Objectivity is key to gaining genuine results, and focussing on the positive is essential to keeping people engaged (and not scared of) in the process. If you’re reliant on internal teams to orchestrate things, then unconscious bias and subjectivity are bound to creep in.

Using a third party keeps things complete objective and also brings a fresh pair of eyes to the business. Discussions will be led by someone with no motive other than to deliver the feedback fairly and to coach you all through it with a fresh, unhindered perspective.

Not Preparing Employees for Receiving Feedback Appropriately

MadeYou’s Cofounder has some thoughts on preparing employees to receive the results of the surveys:

When they receive the feedback, it is important that they understand they do not need to agree with all of it, but they do need to understand why some people would state certain feedback. So, the starting point is what positive and constructive feedback do they agree with and already know about themselves. If they already know and agree, what are they doing about improving?
Now they need to focus on what feedback they agree with, but they weren’t really aware of until they saw it written down. For this, they need to work, with the help of HR/their manager, on what they can do to improve on the areas highlighted and to be more consistent on the positive feedback provided.
Finally, they need to dig deep and think about the feedback that they do not agree with. They need to really understand why this feedback was presented. This is classed as perception feedback and, in business, this is as impactful as agreed feedback.
If it is positive perception feedback, they need to understand how someone has a positive perception about them in this particular area and how they can utilise those skills even more.
If is it constructive feedback, they need to understand how someone has this perception about them in these particular situations and understand what they can do differently to change the perception.
If they choose to do nothing with this information they are missing out on a unique opportunity to improve themselves and the way others see them, which will not only hinder their personal growth but also damage their chances of improving their performance outputs in the business

Luke ToddCEO & Co-Founder

What Makes MadeYou’s 360 Feedback Programme Different?

We (Luke and Kelly- MadeYou’s Founders), come from an Operational background with years of experience in managing managers as well as large teams of direct reports.

They have a great understanding of who is likely to jump at the chance to participate, who will run for the hills and who will simply refuse as they ‘don’t need feedback’. The team know how to approach these archetypal characters to ensure that they too benefit from the programme and can participate fully and happily.

Many 360 programmes are run by HR consultancies- we believe that our extensive experience and operational mindset allows us to avoid the pitfalls they inevitably encounter.

Here’s a glimpse at what we do differently:

  • We avoid self-assessment questionnaires that are the same or similar to the 360 surveys in order to limit gamification by the individual. Instead, we use the CliftonStrengths process, enabling us to firstly gain self-assessment results to cross-reference against the 360 Feedback results and secondly, to provide the individual with an amazing insight into their strengths, development areas and potential.
  • We feedback the self-assessment to the individual and align on it before going into the survey.
  • The survey questions are designed so that no matter what department the individual is from, it will make sense- no jargon is used that could be confusing to different teams.
  • We audit the survey results before presenting the information back to make sure nothing purely negative is included. We only allow positive or constructive feedback in the reports to ensure the individuals have a positive experience they can learn from.
  • Feedback on the report is given to each individual before the report is actually sent to them; ensuring that they understand what they are reading and do not rush to quick judgements. For example, someone who downplays themselves may have a tendency to see everything as negative while ignoring the positive, and someone who is overly confident may take the constructive feedback very personally and then not see any value in the programme. By giving over-arching feedback on the report first, we avoid this.

What is the True Value of a 360 Feedback Programme?

360 programmes, when executed properly, give everyone in the business an insight into how they’re perceived, what their strengths and potential weaknesses are, and provides a clear plan for improvement across the board.

A 360, allows the individual, their peers, their manager and their direct reports to give feedback on certain topics which are highlighted as being important in their role in the company.
When the feedback is collated, the value comes in being able to translate the feedback contained into clear actions moving forward.
The main value in 360 programmes is to provide the individual with knowledge that will help them become a better version of themselves and to help them move forward in their role/career.

Luke ToddCEO & Co-Founder

How Can a Truly Objective 360 Feedback Add Value to Performance Review Processes?

When working on 360 Feedback programmes, myself and the other coaches at MadeYou give individuals a bucket rating of their performance. Here we are not just taking into account the scoring of the reports, but also the comments (aligned with the self-assessment) and also what they are already working on and towards. By utilising the spider graph in our SpiderGap 360 reports we can also see very clearly the strengths and the areas for improvement.
Grouping all this information together mean that, in essence, the ‘business’ is giving an indicator of the performance of the individual. This information helps to bring a lot more objectivity to a manager or calibration rating.

Luke ToddCEO & Co-Founder

When implemented with care, the 360 Feedback Programme is a positive addition and a powerful tool to your performance management system.

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