So - you've got yourself a 360 degree feedback tool, and you're ready to start turning your leaders into super-leaders. 360s are the real deal when it comes to leadership development, but just like anything else, it's important to implement the process in a way that makes sense for the people participating. Starting a 360 feedback survey without adequate preparation can have lasting consequences for your participants and for your leaders, so we've put together a 10-step guide to effectively implementing your 360:
Step 1: Establish Readiness
Is your organization ready to provide 360 feedback to a manager or group of managers? Let’s face it - there's a level of maturity and trust that's required to provide (and receive) constructive feedback. Check that the people providing feedback have worked with the candidate who's receiving feedback for at least 6 months. Also check that all participants really trust that this process is meant to help everyone succeed.
Step 2: Confirm Purpose
The purpose for a 360 assessment has to be singular and crystal-clear: for personal and professional development only! Shout this from the rooftops and ensure that all actions and communications reinforce this message. Like we've previously stated, a 360 review should never be used for performance assessment and all that goes along with it. If anyone involved with your 360 believes that the process could affect someone’s position, pay, opportunity for promotion, or even ability to retain their job - especially their own - the whole process can go very wrong.
Step 3: Map Out Rules of the Road
Establish these rules and make sure they're never broken:
- Confidential: The results of the feedback process should be confidential, belonging solely to the candidate. Ideally, they'll want to share their results with a “coach” (their manager, HR support, trainer, mentor, or external coach), and, hopefully they believe in the process. Regardless, they own the feedback - which is why it's important to make sure everyone's invested from the beginning.
- Anonymous: All participants need assurance that their feedback is anonymous and will only be used to help the candidate learn and develop. Think of how a direct report may alter their response if they believe their manager's going to know who said it. In order for things to be as honest and constructive as possible, anonymity is key.
- Snapshot: Remind participants that your 360 leadership assessment provides a snapshot in time, illustrating behaviours that they would like to see the candidate adjust (do more or less of). It isn’t “good” or “bad”, or “right or “wrong” behavior. It’s what the people around the candidate need now.
Step 4: Choose Raters
The candidate should choose the people that they would like to receive feedback from, and they should also be open to feedback and suggestions from their manager / coach. To get the true 360-degree experience, we recommend at least 1 Superior, 2–4 Peers and 4–6 Direct Reports. If you're using a 360 feedback tool that segments participants based on role, keep in mind that a single participant in one of those roles won't be anonymous - if there's only one Superior participating, for example, everyone's going to know what their feedback was.
If you're in the market for a 360 degree feedback tool, the McQuaig 360 Leadership Review is simpler and easier to use than traditional 360s. Request a free demo!
Step 5: Communicate
Inform all participants about the purpose and process of the 360, what's required of them, and why. Ideally, this communication will be sent from the candidate, so all participants can see that the candidate is invested in their professional development. Some 360s will offer an email template for informing participants, but as long as the invitation includes the items above, you'll be good.
Step 6: Send
Time to roll out. Use your tool to send the 360 assessment to each participant. Piece of cake!
Step 7: Monitor & Remind
Check in, every day or two, to see how completion of the assessment is coming along. To keep everything top-of-mind, we recommend that all feedback should be completed within about a two-week window. If some participants aren't actually participating, try sending them a reminder - their feedback is vital to the whole operation.
Step 8: Generate Report
When ready, generate the 360 feedback report. Some 360s will allow you to generate reports at any time; others may limit you to generating them only when all participants have provided feedback.
Step 9: Incorporate Personality Insights
Most 360 will work without additional insights, but it's so much better when the results can be interpreted alongside a personality profile. With every behaviour outlined in the report, you'll find correlations to the behavioural traits in the candidate's profile - this can go a long way to explaining why the're receiving particular feedback.
Step 10: Share & Plan
Share the resulting reports with the candidate and help them create a plan of action for improvement. Some 360s offer a section to plan out next-steps, while others allow you to forge your own path. Remember that debriefing a report like this can be overwhelming for the candidate, so ensure everything's in place for a smooth session. By working closely with the candidate you'll be able to enhahnce natural leadership traits and mitigate some areas of development in a way that's positive and productive!