ask Track

Do you have a question about 360 Degree Feedback? Ask our experienced team for their professional advice:

Name
Location
Email address
You need not supply us with your email address. However, if you choose to enter your email address, we will email our answer to you as well as publishing it on the site. Your email address will only be used by Track Surveys and will not appear on the web site.
Enter your question in the box below
By submitting this question, you are agreeing to let your question and Track's answer appear on this web site

q&a


360 Degree Appraisal for Government Institutions

Q:

What are the main broad categories indicators/classifications to be considered during 360 degree appraisal for government institutions

E in Ethiopia

A:

I agree that certain competencies are likely to be more relevant to Government Institutions. As there are numerous types of government institutions these would vary depending on the type of institution. As a starting point I would suggest looking at the following competencies:

  • Strategic Goals and Awareness
  • Delivering Results
  • Governance
  • Balancing Resources
  • Service Quality
  • Organisation and Individual Values/Principles Alignment
  • People Management Skills
  • Leadership Skills
  • People Development Skills
top

Maintaining Confidentiality

Q:

360 Degree Feedback is a good tool for comprehensive evaluation, but communication of results is very sensitive issue.

Is it a good idea to have 360 degree if the organisation is small?

How is confidentiality maintained?

EA in London

A:

360 can still be used in a small organisation whilst maintaining anonymity of the respondents.

Firstly, the 360 report should show the scores that the reviewee (i.e. the person receiving the feedback) has received for each question, but not the identity of the person giving that score.

Secondly, the same applies to free text comments: the 360 report should not identify the respondent who has given those commments.

However, free text comments may identify the respondent, either through their writing style, or the examples they give.

Therefore we always remind respondents about this as they are completing the free text part of the 360 questionnaire.

Thirdly, in a small organisation, you can protect anonymity by using a 360 system that is able to consolidate the results into feedback from all respondents, rather than by Peers, Direct Report etc. This ensures that respondents feedback from a small group cannot be identified.

Finally, you should require a minimum of feedback to be collated before the 360 report is made available to the reviewee, e.g. feedback from at least 3 Peers, 3 Subordinates etc. The only exception to this is the Line Manager, whose feedback should be identifiable.

top

180 Degree Feedback

Q:

What is 180 Degree Feedback?

JA in London

A:

180 Degree Feedback refers to feedback from one's subordinates. This contrasts with 360 Degree Feedback, where the feedback comes from all the colleagues with whom he or she works, and those in more senior and more junior positions.

One to one feedback is the standard feedback model for performance appraisal, and consists of the person's line manager giving them feedback, and a grading, based on his/her performance. 360 or 180 Degree Feedback can be used as part of the performance appraisal process.

top

Does the employee have the right not to disclose their 360 Degree Feedback to HR

Q:

Is it true that the employee has the right not to disclose his report? In our group, the report is normally kept in the employee file in order to monitor improvement and application of the 360 action plan. Can you advise what the common practice is?

MJ in Lebanon

A:

Thanks for your question.

In general, we would not advise putting the 360 Degree Feedback report on the employee's record unless you have specifically told them, in advance of the 360 process, that you are going to do this, and for what purpose. If however, as you say this is normal practice in your Cluster, and the 360 is a backup document for the 360 action plan, then that should be OK – as long as employees understand this in advance.

The best practice guidelines on this are:

  • If the 360 Degree Feedback is being used to help the employee with their development only (and not as part of their performance appraisal), it is normal practice that the employee would be expected to disclose and share their 360 Degree Feedback with the person who is helping them in planning their development – that person might be their coach, or their line manager.

    Normally in this case, the employee would not be required to disclose their report to anyone else, their 360 report would not be put on their employee file and it would not be seen by HR.
  • If the 360 Degree Feedback is to be used as part of the employee's appraisal or performance review, then it needs to be very clearly communicated to the employee in advance (and to the people who are going to be giving that employee feedback). You would need to communicate to the employee:

    -How the feedback will affect their appraisal – is it just supporting information or will the employee's salary and promotion be affected by it? This also needs to be communicated to anyone who is asked to give feedback, as it may affect the feedback they provide.

    -Who will see the data (HR?)

    -How long will it stay on their file?

    Using the 360 as a direct input into appraisal or performance review can be difficult and can create problems – an alternative is to use the 360 as an input into the development plan. The development plan then becomes part of the appraisal, not the 360 itself. In this case, only the development plan, not the 360 report, is kept on record.

The key in all cases is to ensure that everyone understands what will happen in advance and that there is no ambiguity about what the 360 is going to be used for.

top

Assessment gap

Q:
  1. Is the training depend on the assessement of the 360 degree? If so the training area could be different for different individuals. Is that so?
  2. If the gap of the 360 degree assessment b/n self assesssment and other group assessment is very wide, what does it implies?
TM in Ethiopia

A:
  1. This is a very good question. The 360 Degree Feedback should measure and assess people on the key skills that the organisation needs to achieve its objectives. Then, within that set of key skills, each person can identify the areas where they need additional training or development, based on their role and their objectives.

    The individual 360 Degree Feedback results can also be gathered together to identify any training needs for the whole group or organisation.
  2. If there is a large gap between the Self assessment and the feedback from colleagues, it certainly needs to be discussed and explored in more detail.

    It could be that the individual lacks awareness about their own strengths and weaknesses, in which case the feedback from colleagues can be a very valuable insight. Sometimes, an individual is either too modest or too confident about their skills – again colleague feedback can provide a good balancing view.

    It's also useful to compare the feedback from different reviewer groups, as individuals can often been observed in different behaviour patterns by their line manager, peers or the people who report directly to them.

    From a training or development point of view, I would suggest that key areas for development will be those
    • Which are key to the individual's role and objectives in the coming months/year
    • Where the individual self assessment and colleague feedback are in agreement, and/or
    • Where colleague feedback and line manager feedback are in agreement
top

Anonymous feedback?

Q:

I ran 360 Degree Feedback in a previous organisation and found that because the feedback was anonymous, people didn't take it seriously. In my current company, we're not yet ready for totally identifiable feedback – how can we get people to understand the value of anonymous feedback?

JB in London

A:

To make the case for the value of anonymity in 360 Degree Feedback:

  1. Get some examples from people who have received useful feedback that they have learned from – even though they don't know who exactly it came from.

  2. Explain that the value of the 360 is that you can identify key trends – when everyone is giving you the same message, it's probably a valuable message that you need to listen to! It's also very useful to see how your own perceptions vary from the general trends that the 360 is giving you.

    The value of the 360 doesn't lie in being able to go to one person and quiz them on why they gave you the feedback they did, although there should be some element of face to face feedback for everyone, especially with their line manager.

  3. Anonymity does mean that people will be more honest in some areas where it may be difficult for them to give you face to face feedback, whether that's because they have a good working relationship with you, and don't want to jeopardize that, or because they are junior and don't feel confident to tell you face to face.

top

What are the benefits of 360 degree performance appraisal?

Q:

Are the benefits of 360 degree performance evaluations more rewarding than your standard evaluation?

BB in USA

A:

Yes, 360 Degree Feedback has a number of advantages over one-to-one evaluation, or evaluation from a supervisor.

The advantages are:

  • 360 provides a platform for colleagues at all levels to provide feedback, thus balancing out any individual biases that might exist where just one or two other people are feeding back
  • Because 360 is structured, it gives all respondents the opportunity to observe the same skills and behaviours, not just the ones that they think are important (or the ones they can remember!)
  • It helps individuals to build up self-awareness at a more comprehensive level because they can see how all or many of their colleagues percieve them
  • It can idenfity positives and strengths that the individual may not have been aware of
  • It can be directly linked to development and training
  • Where customers provide feedback it can be a very powerful incentive for learning and improving customer-facing skills

The 360 Degree Feedback process doesn't need to be sticky or complicated, but it needs to be carefully designed, planned and delivered. And it needs to be well-managed and include support for people receiving 360 feedback for the first time.

Managers need to be able to help people understand and act on their 360, and people in the organisation need to know how to give constructive and useful feedback.

You can download a number of our guides that go through this in more detail, including 360 Degree Feedback Best Practice, Ten Steps to Designing your 360 Degree Feedback and Is Your Organisation Ready for 360 Degree Feedback. Good luck and feel free to come back with any questions.

top

Time allocation for a new appraisal process

Q:

How much time should I allocate to a new appraisal process?

TS

A:

First you need to make sure you spend enough time - in advance - giving people information about appraisal, what it's for, how it's going to work, and most importantly, how it's going to affect them personally (i.e. how ratings affect promotion, reward, development etc).

There also needs to be a clear follow-up to the appraisal - what happens afterwards, any further meetings or actions, setting objectives etc.

You will also need to brief line managers in depth so that they can answer any questions and understand their role in the appraisal process.

Once everyone has been briefed, you will need to give people enough time to plan, schedule and attend their appraisal meetings, and then complete any follow up notes and actions.

On this basis, we would recommend that you allocate at least 2 months to the appraisal process.

If you'd like our check list for a successful appraisal, you can download this by going to http://www.tracksurveys.co.uk/ and clicking on 'Great tips for successful appraisal'.

However this doesn't include the design and validation of the appraisal: if you are starting this from scratch you will need, we would suggest, at least 10 working days to develop a pilot version and a couple of weeks to test it and validate it with key stakeholders in the organisation.

top

What forms do you use for 360 feedback?

Q:

We have developed a simple format but I would like more details.

UA

A:

We use very simple forms too - a number of competency or skills headings (e.g. Managing Yourself, Managing Your Team), then a number of statements under each heading (e.g. Makes time to support team members). Our standard ratings are based on frequency of observation, e.g. (I observe this behaviour..) Almost always, Frequently, Seldom or Almost Never. These can all be tailored for the client organisation, but the basic structure remains the same. If you would like to see these online, please let me know and I will set you up with a free online account.

top

My manager won't give me feedback!

Q:

I have a manager who refuses to give me feedback. We've worked together for about a year now, and although I report directly to him, he doesn't do my appraisal (that's the way things work in our company).

I've asked a couple of times for feedback but he either makes excuses or agrees and then cancels the meeting.

What should I do? I'd really like some constructive feedback about my performance.

QS in London

A:

Don't ask for 'feedback' – ask if there's anything you can do differently on the work you're doing together

Some people have an aversion to what they think are management fads, or 'management speak', and 'feedback' may be one of these. Other may even feel threatened by the whole idea as they may not be sure how to do it right. It can be just as frightening to be asked for feedback as to get it!”

So what about just saying:

'How am I doing'? 'Is there anything I can do better, or differently?' What would you like me to do more of?' . Even better, refer the question to the work you're doing at the moment, so the feedback can be really specific: 'What can I do better on the XYZ project?'

Another good approach is Start, Stop, Continue…..'What would you like me Start doing, Stop doing, Continue doing?' . This lets the manager off the hook if they are a bit reluctant or nervous, and allows them to focus on real actions, behaviours and examples from work, projects, clients etc ….making the whole experience a better one for the individual and their manager.

top

How do we get started with 360 Degree Feedback?

Q:

We want to get 360 Degree Feedback into our company as we currently have no systematic way of providing feedback to our senior managers.

Where do we start?


A:

Ask Why, and build on competencies, job descriptions and learning objectives

First, make sure you're clear on what you want to measure and why – keep going back to these points and you will stay on track as you create your 360 Degree Feedback

If you already have a competency framework or job descriptions, these are a useful place to start from, especially if you want to develop key skills and competencies for your senior managers.

If your 360 Degree Feedback is going to support a learning or development activity, the 360 Degree Feedback questions should reflect the actions and behaviours that the learning or development activity will reflect and measure.

top

How many 360 Degree Feedback questions?

Q:

I'm developing a 360 Degree Feedback framework for my client. At the moment we have over 100 questions and our managers want to add more. What's the recommended number of questions for a 360 Degree Feedback questionnaire?


A:

Less is more – focus on key skills and objectives

We recommend around 25 -30, and an absolute maximum of 50. There are two reasons for this:

  • Very long questionnaires are off-putting for people to answer and the quality of the feedback is reduced in proportion to the length of the questionnaire. You can also give your 360 a very bad reputation around the organisation if you make it too long and too much of an effort to complete.
  • Very long Reports are not helpful for the recipient of the feedback. What can you do with 100 recommendations for change? It's best to stick to the key skills and objectives so that recipients can quickly pick up the message they need and build this into their development plan
top

How do I interpret my 360 Degree Feedback report

Q:

I've just received my 360 Degree Feedback Report: what do I do now?


A:

Work with your manager, coach or trusted friend, find consistent messages,

  • Get a Buddy: it's always good to work through the feedback with someone you trust and who has an understanding of the context of the feedback
  • Look out for patterns or consistent messages rather than unusual, inconsistent, or outlying ratings and feedback.
  • Pay as much attention to the positive feedback as to the negative – we all have a tendency to focus on our lower scores and negative comments, but these may only be a small part of the overall message.
  • Use the free text comments to see if these are consistent with the messages coming from the ratings.
  • Decide on the specific things you are going to do differently (don't give yourself too many, just two or three), write them up, commit to doing them, revisit and check how you're doing on a regular basis.
top