Naturally, there is a fear that what will be anonymously said by others won’t be positive or constructive, so it’s easy to see why some can feel anxious about the prospect of taking part. However, once people warm up to the idea and are open-minded and receptive to the possibility of gaining something valuable out of it, it can be a fantastic tool for future development. In this article, I’ll discuss my own experience with 360-Degree feedback, and why it can be a useful tool for both employers and employees alike.
What is 360-Degree Feedback?A lot of people might have heard of it but not necessarily seen it in action or practised it themselves. Essentially, 360-Degree feedback is an unbiased, confidential survey that provides employees and leaders accurate and helpful feedback in a constructive manner. The process is typically made up of a short set of questions where employees rate themselves. They are then rated confidentially by a group of managers, peers and direct reports. Using 360-Degree feedback, you’ll gain insight into:
- Understanding the employee’s strengths and areas for development.
- How the individual regards company values and processes.
- How key parts of the organisation relate to individual's role.
It’s the kind of feedback that allows individuals to work on their development for a set amount of time and then review and evaluate again afterwards. It’s also great material to use as part of one-to-ones (in our case that is monthly), or as part of the annual review process.
My ExperienceBefore joining OCG, I had some previous exposure to 360-Degree Feedback as a result of my time working at a University, where it was highly encouraged. My experience is that both managers and employees can easily relate to it, so when given the opportunity to take part in 360-Degree Feedback here at OCG, I participated.
The feedback process saw contributions from five managers and seven peers, where the results were then discussed as part of monthly one-to-ones with my manager. It’s been interesting to get such a broad range of feedback and has proved to be enlightening in various ways. For example:
- The areas I thought I had been excelling at, I was actually falling short.
- While on the other hand, some of the areas where I scored myself low, peers and management did the opposite!
- The self-clarity gained is beyond valuable in professional and personal development, and moving forward in one's career.
What I felt afterwards really took me by surprise. I discovered it was a thoroughly fair process and provided a more positive outcome than I had anticipated. Not only did people provide comprehensive and constructive feedback, but I really appreciated the fact that I was able to identify the strengths that I have, as well as any areas for development and growth.
Benefits of 360-Degree FeedbackThe main benefit to come out of it is that it gives employees a starting point for development and growth in new areas, as well as building on current strengths. The process allows managers to sit down with employees, draw up a plan and work out “where to from here”. Also, the system costs very little to implement. All it takes is putting a few questions together (or get in touch with OCG and we can take care of that for you!).
Implementation results in increased self-awareness too. Participants are given a complete report highlighting strengths and areas for improvement, along with insight into their behaviour and how they are perceived by others in the organisation. However, it’s only when the individual compares their self-assessment with those that rated them, that a deeper understanding is gained.
Using a fair and transparent process, it encourages an open culture that values feedback equally from management and employees alike. For employees or leaders taking a central role in their own development, the feedback also helps to create a clear vision of where they are headed and what they are working towards, increasing engagement and allowing for more control of their future.