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9 Classic Mistakes When Using 360-Degree Feedback (Part 2)

Posted by Rick Yvanovich on

In Part 1, we've mentioned the first 5 classic mistakes when introducing the 360-degree Feedback process in the workplace. Continue reading to find out the remaining mistakes!

9 Classic Mistakes When Using 360-Degree Feedback

Mistake 6: Making it an event rather than a process

Many organisations consider 360 feedback as a "test drive" and only try it for a month until they find something new. The lack of commitment and investment from the management makes the 360 feedback process appear unimportant and yield no value to the employees. Once you have decided to apply the 360 feedback at your workplace, it needs to be constantly repeated over time. Ideally, 360 feedback should provide helpful feedback and reviews so that your employees can update and improve their performance, learn, practice, and refine their skills.

Repeating the process does not only help your employees to grow but doing it will also help you to assess your current reviewing structure and learn how to get the best out of it.

Read more: 3 Key Steps to Keep You From Overrating Your Leadership Skills

Mistake 7: Making a crutch for performance management

Beware of managers looking for the excuse of "If only I had more objective data to put before my team member I could manage their performance better."

Multi-rater feedback can be valuable, but should not replace the feedback that employees should get from their manager on a regular basis on expectations, priorities and performance feedback.

Managers must be willing to confront unacceptable behaviour and manage poor performers on an ongoing basis. They should provide feedback to their staff on an as-needed basis.

This might be a circumstance where 360 feedback might not be the best solution for organisations, but skill training or workshopping with teams, or vision and values communication strategies might be more appropriate.

Read more: Three Pitfalls to Avoid in Leadership Development

Mistake 8: Not being clear about the feedback’s use

It can create confusion and concern if you don’t make sure people know whether the feedback will be used for evaluation or development purposes.

The majority of organisations use the 360-degree feedback strictly as a development tool. There are no formal repercussions for people getting negative feedback.

Other organisations use the 360-degree feedback process as a means for performance management, typically as an adjunct to existing systems. Sometimes, 360-degree feedback falls somewhere in between; it’s benefit us for development and evaluation.

There are important trade-offs to using 360-degree feedback as a development tool. If you decide to use it for development purposes, be sure to make that clear. The predominant view is probably that for feedback to be most effective, it must be purely developmental. Feedback providers have to know there’s no pressure for them to be anything but honest and candid, and people will accept feedback more easily when they don’t fear repercussions in the organisation.

Read more: Selecting Raters for 360-degree Feedback Process

Mistake 9: Don’t underestimate the culture change required

Moving to a culture that openly shares feedback can be a big step for some organisation if not the start of a long journey. You need to assess if you are already far enough along on that journey in order to get the best out of a peer feedback process. The concept of upward feedback can still be seen as radical in more hierarchical cultures as can the idea of employees as stakeholders. This shouldn’t be done lightly and only after the appropriate groundwork has been laid.

Our recommendation is to find a high performing Senior Manager to champion a small pilot program. Make this pilot a high touch process. so you can reassure the participants, deal with any unexpected outcomes, and accelerate the learning process for the organisation.

Read more: Essential Talent Management Lessons from Top Sport Teams

Tie the outcomes into any other talent or developmental processes and evaluate the pilot using pre and post surveys, focus groups, for the participants and their co-workers, development plan reviews etc...

Changing people’s behaviours can be tricky so consider the pilot evaluation as part of the feedback process for the organisation, so it can learn how it best influences positive changes in behaviour.

It’s important to determine exactly how 360-degree feedback can be used to improve both individual and organisational performance.

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 Rick Yvanovich
 /Founder & CEO/

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