If you are considering the use of 360 degree feedback in your organization, keep the following in mind to ensure your employees fully understand the process:
1) Clearly communicate the purpose of 360 degree feedback:
If the purpose is for development, let them know that these results will not be tied to any type of performance appraisal. Doing so helps ensure that raters respond openly and candidly. If 360 degree feedback will be used for performance appraisal, explain who will see the results and how they will be used.
2) Explain the process:
Let people know how to take the survey, who you will be working with, the timeline, and desired outcomes.
3) Define up-front and communicate who will see the results:
In other words, let them know that the results will be confidential. Generally, 360 degree feedback results are seen only by the person being rated. However, some organizations also provide the results to the employee’s supervisor for developmental or appraisal purposes. Either way, communicate these expectations ahead of time.
4) Let raters know that their responses will be held strictly confidential:
It should not be possible to identify responses by participant. In other words, responses from individuals are reported as part of a group in order to maintain anonymity. The exception to this is if an organization chooses to separate the responses of the employee’s supervisor. We strongly recommend this approach, as it allows participants to see a full view of any differences in responses between different rater groups.
5) Communicate expectations for development:
360 degree feedback is designed to be actionable. Let participants know you expect them to do something with the results-and just what that “something” is. Participants should create and share development plans based on the results. We also recommend letting them know a follow-up 360 degree feedback survey will be done in twelve months in order for them to understand how successful they have been in their progress.
6) Did we mention the need to communicate??? :
Communicating these items up front leads to a successful 360 degree feedback process. That, in turn, leads to both personal and organizational change.