Four Reasons Why Your 360 Feedback Surveys Are Failing!

Four Reasons Why Your 360 Feedback Surveys Are Failing!

April 8, 2016 Training and Development

360 feedback surveys are one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to business practices to encourage both individual and company-wide improvement and development. An effective 360 feedback survey reflects everything that you strive to nurture in both your employees and your business: there is open and honest communication between all levels, and there is accountability and improved performance as each member of the team is recognised for what individual strengths and interests they bring to the table.

While we may all be able to describe what a good 360 feedback survey should feel like, what most  business leaders struggle to do is actually define what that great 360 feedback survey is – what it is made up of, or just as importantly, not made up of. If the first step is to recognise the need for 360 feedback in your business, the next step then is to pinpoint what strategies will be most effective to drive sustainable change in your business. Sometimes the easiest way to go about this is to first recognise what doesn’t work, which in turn highlights what does. In my experience, the following strategies spell disaster in the 360 feedback process for all businesses:

1. Key stakeholders are not involved in the feedback: The trick to reliable 360 feedback is ensuring that feedback is coming from all directions, which includes key stakeholders and management. A leader who not only shows a real interest in the process but actively participates in it is far more likely to put employees at ease which in turn encourages a more open and productive process. Their involvement demonstrates that they value professional development and have taken the time to understand employees.

2.   The feedback is not translatable: While there certainly is a value in understanding the personality and styles of each of your team members, the ability to translate what is said in 360 feedback surveys into specific and measurable actions becomes harder the vaguer the questions are. Make sure when selecting your questions that they are explicit and demand answers that you can actually do something with.

3.   Feedback is personal rather than professional: Sometimes it can be difficult to really separate what employees think or know of each other in a personal context and in a professional context, with the divide becoming blurrier if they spend time together outside of the work environment. It is crucial to communicate that the feedback must remain strictly professional, as well as constructive – if there are issues on a more personal level, a time must be made to address these so they doesn’t interfere with the process.

4.  The survey is the end of the process: A 360 feedback survey is only as helpful as the actions that follow it. There is no point in using precious time and resources on the process to discard the results a day later. A development plan must be made that includes regular check-ins in order for any real change to occur, always keeping in mind that behavioural change will need extra time and support.

360 feedback surveys are just one of many steps in the process of professional development.  In reality, these sorts of conversations, both informally and formally, should be a part of the day-to-day makeup of your business. Dedicating a set time to undertake 360 feedbacks surveys will never truly ignite change in your business if it ends there – it needs to be backed up by a meaningful development plan with mechanisms in place for holding participants accountable for behavioural change and development.
For a free consultation or review of your 360 Feedback Surveys contact Talent Code at info@talentcode.com.au or 1300 559585.

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