360-Degree Feedback: Most 360s don’t require action, and only 20% require that the assessment be shared with supervisors.
a. Start with the Science about 360s:
i. Feedback about task performance tends to be productive. Tell them how to make a widget better and people improve. However, feedback about the individual tends to be less productive. Telling someone to keep quiet at meetings is not likely to change behavior.
ii. Following up in a positive way affects the sense of change. Merely providing awareness is not as likely to have an effect on performance.
b. Eliminate Complexity, Add Value
i. 360s have become almost piously private and only used for individual employee development. The authors argue this is a waste of an assessment because following up improves performance.
ii. “Follow Up” becomes central to improvement.
iii. Numeric scales can be unmotivating to people.
iv. Focus on behaviors. What behavior do people need to demonstrate to better accomplish the goal? What do they need to do more or less of to perform better?
v. Ask the fewest questions. Too many questions muddy the water.
vi. Use 360 for both evaluation and development. Transparency, especially with the manager, is key to improvement. [Perhaps let the employee and manager decide.]
vii. Keep responses anonymous. Providing safety for respondents is critical for getting the truth out.
viii. Avoid self-assessments: When there’s a gap between self-assessment and others’ ratings, there’s embarrassment and resistance to change; a tendency to focus on gaps does not always focus on things that really matter.
c. Create Transparency and Accountability
1. Be open and transparent about the process and the reasons for it. If it’s developmental or for evaluation, be clear to the employee and each respondent.
2. Employees should widely share their assessments. People take you far more seriously when you tell them what you’ll be working on.