Developed in the 1970s, 360 or multiperson comparison performance appraisal has been a people development tool that has been underutilized ever since it arrived on the scene. Why is this? Most organizations fail to plan for the culture change that needs to occur in order for the feedback system to be successful. More than one executive can tell horror stories about the disaster that ensued upon the implementation of 360 feedback and development programs. However, when implemented correctly, 360 evaluation tools can be powerful catalyst for change.
If you ask a manager “How often do you get honest feedback about your performance?” most will answer “Never” or “I wish I did” or even worse “Only when I do something really wrong”. Using a 360 approach to management development puts an end a manager’s lack of feedback-when implemented correctly. Implemented incorrectly, 360 feedback programs can turn into witch hunts or even worse, horrendous back stabbing opportunities that leave the manger completely deflated.
Where should we start when implementing such a program?
First, create a team to begin the conversation about the program. Include people from multiple levels and departments. You’ll want a solid team to help guide the process.
- Let the team evaluate and recommend the assessment tool
- Get the team involved with the communication and change management plan
- Keep the team engaged throughout the implementation process
Second, start small. Pick a small group to begin the process with. That way, you can iterate your program as you roll it out. Rolling out a program to the entire company, all at once, often leads to failure because of unknown obstacles. Staggering the roll-out gives the implementation team the chance to tweak the process.
Third, educate everyone. Not just the manager who will be the end recipients of the feedback but also the people who will actually write the feedback. Don’t assume that everyone is comfortable giving feedback and it doesn’t hurt to actually teach them how to give feedback in a positive way. You also have to educate managers of managers to interpret the feedback.
Fourth, get continuous feedback from the manager’s you are developing. What do they find useful about the process and what would they change. Make sure you iterate the process based on the feedback.
Finally, have a development strategy in place before the first assessment hits the rater’s email box. Once you’ve identified areas for development, it is incumbent upon you to help the individual.
- What are the programs you are willing to put in place to help them develop?
- How will you work with managers of managers to create change strategies
- Does your 360 assessment tool also provide coaching and development tools?
You can’t just give “feedback” and then assume that change will take place. You must enable the change. Multiperson comparison performance appraisal programs can be a challenge to implement and manage but once they are in place, they are one of the best tools available to HR professionals to help manager’s change their ways. So often, a manager only learns by stumbling. Perhaps we can make them more aware of the bumps in the road and help them coast over them. Effective feedback tools can help and the 360 is one of the best.
Learn more at Talent Insight Group