There are many different forms of feedback within an organisation, and while often overlooked, the 360 degree assessment is an essential one.
Traditional forms of feedback can include:
Performance Reviews – generally an annual review in which the employee’s overall performance and growth as an individual is assessed. These reviews are generally accompanied with pay reviews.
Constructive Criticism – when someone’s performance or behaviour needs correcting, having a formalised and positive approach to providing constructive criticism is an important feedback loop.
Coaching/Mentoring – Businesses benefit when a senior within the organisation takes a junior “under their wing,” and so most businesses do aim to encourage coaching through formalised processes.
Most of these feedback loops are top-down, with managers and other senior people providing the feedback to those under them. This is why the 360 degree assessment is so important; it allows for and facilitates a positive feedback loop back up the organisation as well.
Why the 360 degree assessment matters
The power of the 360 degree assessment is that it involves the whole team, including the leaders. It’s anonymous, so people feel comfortable with commenting on the performance of their managers, and the questions are tuned in such a way to provide actionable insight for each person surveyed.
Perhaps the best feature of all, however, is that leaders will fill out the same survey, rating themselves. The comparison between an individuals’ self-perception, and the perception of everyone else, can be illuminating from a personal and professional development point of view.
There are four key benefits that the 360 degree assessment provides the organisation, when used in combination with the other forms of feedback loop:
It shows that executives and managers are open to feedback and don’t believe themselves to be “above” their employees. This, in turn, helps the organisation ensure that it’s staying on track and meeting the expectations of their employees.
It helps bridge the communication gap between teams. Providing feedback on managers can be intimidating at the best of times, and without a formalised process for doing so can result in information not being shared.
It encourages employees at all levels to be more engaged with the business. When employees feel like their feedback is welcomed and impactful, they will be more engaged in the business and take greater ownership over what they do.
It can help identify the future leaders of the business. One of the great things about the 360 degree assessment is that it unearths the well-respected and high-performing introverts. Most businesses struggle to look beyond the extroverts, which is why data-driven and company-wide surveys such as a 360 degree assessment can be so intensely valuable.
Having a complete mix of feedback types, both direct and indirect, is necessary for any business.. Too many businesses are focused on direct feedback (and often in one direction), which is neither good for morale nor for the health of the business. Utilising analytical tools, such as the 360 degree assessment, can turn feedback into a continuous loop that will help improve business performance and drive success.