10 Tips to keep in mind when Implementing 360 Degree Leadership Surveys

1. Establish Clear Goals

Before implementing a 360 degree leadership development program, it is imperative that the management team first agree on the purpose of the program including expectations, timelines, measurements to be used and a process to ensure accountability for ongoing development (i.e. development of Leadership Action Plans).

2. Do not rely on Generic Surveys

There are many 360 degree surveys available but one of the dangers when using these surveys, especially off-the-shelf surveys, is that they:

  • Do not measure the leadership areas that are important to your organisation.
  • Measure leadership areas that are not relevant to your organisation.
  • Do not use your terminology and nomenclature.
  • Do not allow you to measure against your own organisational ‘Values’.
  • Have fixed “Respondent Group” or category names that do not reflect your organisational structure.

3.    Ensuring Respondent Confidentiality

To ensure the best quality feedback, it is imperative that the survey platform you use ensures the confidentiality of employee responses. It is very important that employees are informed that their responses cannot be identified. To achieve this promise, no one in your organisation should have access to individual raw data, including the HR/L&D team

4.    Include Key Stakeholders

It is advisable to consult with key stakeholders regarding the content of the survey and the areas to be measured. By ensuring that your survey has alignment within the organisation there will be a far lower rate of resistance during implementation. 

5.    Conduct a Pilot Test

Before deploying surveys within the organisation it is best practice to first test the survey platform including the respondent invitation emails, ease of use for the respondents and report format.

6.    Communication

Some individuals can find 360 degree surveys daunting and this can manifest into fear. It is imperative that HR/management communicate the reason for conducting a 360 degree leadership development program and reiterate that its sole aim is to assist managers and supervisors to improve their leadership, people management and execution skills. For this reason, you should not directly link 360° survey results with remuneration discussions.

7.    Make sure there are sufficient Resources

If you are going to implement a 360 degree leadership development program make sure you have the resources to fine-tune the survey, run a pilot, deploy the surveys, generate reports, provide one-on-one debriefs and the implementation of a structured review to measure beneficial impact.

8.    Concise Reports

Beware of 360° surveys that deliver voluminous reports which generally result in just confusing the participant. Surveys that provide succinct reports make it easier for the participant to identify the three or four areas that they should consider developing to improve leadership capability.

9.    Use proprietary  ATS/HRIS Systems

Just because an ATS/HRIS system you use provides 180° and 360° survey options does not mean that they are effective and/or beneficial. Developing survey functionality that works and delivers the required outcomes is complicated and generally the survey functionality within ATS/HRIS systems are found to be inferior compared to dedicated 360º survey providers.

10.    Evaluate Effectiveness

A 360 degree leadership development survey program is not complete when the report is presented to the participant. It is imperative that the program is evaluated for individual and overall effectiveness.