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What is 360-degree feedback?

The process in which you evaluate yourself on a set of criteria, your manager evaluates you, as do your peers
and direct reports. You receive a gap analysis between how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you.
Effective 360-degree feedback processes also include develop planning and coaching sessions.

How can I easily refer to ratees and raters?

The terms ratee (the person being evaluated) and rater (the person doing the rating) can be cumbersome. Team
Builders Plus utilizes the phrase "feedback recipient" instead of "ratee" and "respondent" instead of "rater".

What type of information should be targeted in the survey?

 Knowledge - familiarity with job, industry, company


 Skills - task proficiency
 Behaviors - patterns in relating to the environment (energy, optimism)
 NOT personality traits or styles

What are the benefits of 360-degree feedback degree feedback?

To the individual:

 Perception is reality and this process helps individuals to understand how others perceive them
 Uncover blind spots
 Feedback is essential for learning
 Individuals can better manage their own performance and careers
 Quantifiable data on soft skills

To the team:

 Increases communication between team members


higher levels of trust and better communication as individuals identify the causes of
breakdowns
 Better team environment as people discover how to treat others how they want to be treated
 Supports teamwork by involving team members in the development process
 Increased team effectiveness

To the organization:

 Reinforced corporate culture by linking survey items to organizational leadership competencies


and company values
 Better career development for employees
 Promote from within
 Improves customer service by having customers contribute to the evaluation process
 Conduct relevant training

How has 360-degree feedback changed over the years?

 Participants: Then: Executives Now: Individuals at all levels of organizations


 Medium: Then: Paper or scan forms Now: Paperless, web-based surveys
 Design: Then: Rigid, fixed surveys Now: Locally customized by the user organization
 Feedback: Then: Numeric ratings only Now: Targeted comment provided for each survey item
 Output: Then: Fixed reports Now: Design your own reports
 Cost: Then: Expensive Now: Affordable

How do I know if my organization is ready to conduct a 360-degree feedback?


By conducting a 360 readiness survey, you can determine if your organization is ready to conduct 360-degree
feedback. The survey should include topics such as:

 360 awareness - understanding of 360 and how it works


 Support - belief that the organization and manager would support development processes
 Feedback climate - I trust that the information would be used for development purposes and
that people would be fair (belief in confidentiality and usage)
 Openness - willingness to give and receive feedback

How is 360 different from personality or style assessment?

 Styles tools measure traits or behavioral preferences, while 360 measures competence
 Style explains how you are likely to behave, while 360 explains how you actually behave

How many companies are using 360?

While there’s no ‘master list’ or way to know for sure, given the anecdotal evidence gained through the many
articles on 360 published over the years it would seem likely that by now nearly all Fortune 1000 companies have
either already implemented a 360 process or plan to shortly. The increasing affordability of 360 has allowed many
small to mid-size companies to undertake 360 for individuals and groups within their organizations. In fact, 360
has become so well established that often individuals in companies without a formal process in place will seek
outside means to run 360 on themselves.

How often should 360 be rolled out?

Given that people need time to make changes and then, it takes a little while before others perceive that change
has taken place, we have found that nine to twelve-month intervals are most appropriate. This allows people to
create change and then get feedback on their progress so that they can develop next-level goals and action
plans. However, some organizations prefer to conduct surveys of just ten to fifteen questions, focusing on a
specific topic, such as Running Effective Meetings. These mini-360s are done monthly in conjunction with training
on that topic.

What are the criteria for selecting raters (respondents)?

 Length of time the respondent knows the feedback recipient


 Amount of contact with feedback recipient
 Understands the full nature of what the feedback recipient does
 Select some individuals who work well with the feedback recipient and some who do not

In what media is 360-degree feedback conducted?

There are a variety of methods to gather data but primarily this now a web-based process. However, it is also
possible to utilize paper surveys and face-to-face interviews to gather data.

Who gets a copy of the feedback report?

The feedback recipient is the only person who gets a copy of the report. The manager gets group and
organizational data, but no individual data.
While giving the data does increase accountability and allows the manager to quantifiably track progress, there
are a variety of pitfalls to giving the manager a copy of the report, such as:

 People will fear the process


 Feedback comments will not be as constructive
 Scores may be higher
 Data can become a weapon, not a development tool
 Manager may lacks the ability to interpret the data appropriately
 Manager may reprimand the employee for not doing well
Participants must share goals and action plans, not actual survey results. In this way, managers can act as
ongoing coaches, guiding the individual to higher performance levels. When managers get the reports they often
miss underlying core issues by focusing too intently on the lowest rated items or may act as judges, focusing on
specific scores and comments and using them as a weapon during the performance review.

How long should the survey be?

To ensure that people take an adequate time to consider each question and provide positive and constructive
feedback, the survey should be contain as few questions as possible. If survey items are carefully researched to
ensure relevance, the number of questions should not exceed 50.

Is it necessary to customize the survey or are standard questionnaires acceptable?

A standard survey can be utilized effectively if all of the questions are relevant and all of the critical behavioral
areas are included. On average, it takes one minute to answer each question and provide comments. If questions
are not appropriate given the organization's culture or individual's role, the respondents waste much time. If
someone is being rated by twelve people and five questions are not relevant, one hour of time is wasted. Now,
consider a project in which 200 people are rated. A custom-designed survey will fit your needs and support the
organizational culture and mission. Pre-work in designing an appropriate survey pays-off in the long-run.

How can I ensure confidentiality?

Confidentiality is important to both the feedback recipient and the respondents. If the feedback recipient is not
guaranteed that the results will remain confidential, they will tend to feel anxiety about the purpose of the process
and the use of the data. If the respondents are not guaranteed that their names will not appear on the report or
be linked to specific comments or ratings, then they may not provide accurate responses and be completely
open. To ensure confidentiality:

 Select a neutral administrator (e.g. an external consultant or human resources representative)


 Print only one report per person
 User-names & passwords should be required to access the survey and the response data
should be encrypted
 Ensure that online systems are encrypting the data and storing the results on a secure server

Should 360-degree feedback be linked to performance appraisals?

360-degree feedback and performance appraisals can complement each other, but should not be linked. If 360 is
linked to compensation decisions, it loses its power as a development tool. When compensation is the outcome,
individuals will quickly learn how to play the game, "I'll scratch your back, if you scratch mine." Further, if people
do not get satisfactory ratings, morale can decrease when 360 is linked to performance appraisal mode, but low
scores when 360 is used purely for development tend to be viewed as constructive feedback.

Is 360-degree feedback data legally defensible if linked to performance appraisal and utilized for merit
increase, bonus, promotion or firing decisions?

As William Swan & Philip Margulies summarize in their book “How to Do A Superior Performance Appraisal”,
EEOC guidelines state that "an org. must demonstrate that its appraisal process is valid, that it is job related, and
that it accurately measures significant aspects of job performance. The organization must demonstrate that the
appraisal system is the best available method, that no other system is less discriminatory." This in turn requires
that the raters can be identified with the ratings they provide. Given that raters are anonymous in the 360-degree
feedback process, revealing raters would violate confidentiality. Ultimately, organizations could be at risk if 360-
degree feedback scores are utilized for decisions arising from an appraisal process.

How can you verify the validity and reliability of a 360 survey?

Questions about validity are most important with instruments that were developed in the tradition of psychological
tests with the purpose of measuring things that cannot be observed directly, such as values, attitudes, styles and
traits. 360-degree feedback survey items should always be based on concrete, observable behaviors.

To establish face validity, show the survey to a representative group of people who will be giving and receiving
feedback and ask the following questions:
 Are the questions clear or ambiguous? (Have each person restate the questions to see if
interpretation is consistent)
 Are the questions relevant to the feedback recipient's job?
 Are the major items addressed?

Just because a survey was validated in the context of another population, does not mean that it will be valid for
your organization. For this reason, customizable assessment platforms are the state of the art, because they can
be adjusted to align with local conditions.

How do I write good questions for the 360 survey?

There is a checklists of 7 criteria used in constructing a good 360 survey:

 Does the item utilize an ACTION VERB?


 Does the item describe an OBSERVABLE behavior?
 Does the item describe ONLY ONE behavior?
 Is the item described in CLEAR LANGUAGE?
 Is the item described as a POSITIVE, desired behavior?
 Does the item describe an IMPORTANT behavior?
 Does this item, taken together with all of the other items, SUFFICIENTLY DEFINE the
category?

How important are national norms?

Every organization, even those within the same industry, has a distinctly different culture and set of values. What
important in one organization may be relatively unimportant in another. Additionally, most participants affirm that
comments, not numeric ratings, give the most meaningful feedback. For these reasons, we have found that
comparing individual results to national norms, while indeed is interesting to consider, is not as relevant as
comparing one's scores to local norms (the scores of one's direct peers and organization as a whole).

What size scale should I use?

We have found that scales of five-points or less are too small to provide a clear delineation between core
strengths and behavioral challenges. Raters should have access to at least seven rating options, and a ten-point
scale provides for an even greater spread of responses. Further, raters should be encouraged to utilize the entire
range.

How do you introduce 360-degree feedback to a potentially resistant organization?

 Start at the top with the most senior management


 Conduct a pilot
 Directly address, up front, the issues that are at the source of the resistance
 Focus on the benefits for the individual or group
 Utilize an external consultant to minimize fears of confidentiality and inappropriate data usage

Is 360-degree feedback ever inappropriate?

Yes, when:

 The person receiving feedback is too new to the group or organization


 There are not enough respondents who truly understand the full scope of the individual's
responsibilities
 During a time of major change such as just before or after a merger or acquisition
 In an environment where there is a high degree of mistrust

Does 360-degree feedback really generate results?

Lyle Spencer and Charles Morrow in The Economic Value of Competencies: Measuring ROI, found that 360-
degree feedback systems could yield a Return on Investment as high as 700 percent.
How can I get more information on the 360 process?

Check out the 360 Process page on this site, submit a question to the 360 Coach, check out the 360 Services

offered by Team Builders Plus, or call us at +1-856-596-4196, 9-5 Eastern (-5hrs. GMT).

Selecting 360 Degree raters

Selecting raters is one of the most important parts of the 360 degree feedback process. If you don’t select

enough, the feedback will not be as comprehensive and valid. Too many, and the feedback becomes diluted.
360 Degree Feedback Rater Selection Instructions

The number of raters will vary based on job responsibilities and the frequency of interaction with 360 degree

feedback participants. We recommend selecting between 7 to 15 raters total. It is important that each rater can

provide relevant and accurate feedback to the survey questions.

In selecting raters keep in mind the following guidelines:

1. Raters should be selected based on their working relationship with the participant.

2. Raters should know the participant’s work and have frequent interactions.

3. Avoid raters that are known only through casual interactions, brief meetings, or a one-time, short-term

project or presentation.

4. Include a balanced set of raters that can provide objective feedback, both positive and critical.

5. Confirm the rater selection with the participant’s immediate manager.

6. A rater may decline to provide information if they have not had sufficient interaction with the participant

during the year.

7. All rater feedback except that from the participant’s immediate manager will be reported as a group. No

individual responses will be identified in the report.

8. If only one rater responds from a rater group, their responses will be combined with another group to

maintain anonymity.
360 Degree Feedback Rater Groups

All 360 degree feedback raters will be assigned to one of the following rater groups:

 Self: The participant.

 Supervisor: The participant’s immediate supervisor. If the supervisor changed in the past three months, we

recommend inviting the previous supervisor to participate as well.


 Direct Report: Include all direct reports who have been working under the participant’s supervision for at least 3

months.
 Peer: Choose three to five peers that work with the participant on a regular basis.
 Other (optional for internal or external clients, etc.)
Multi-Rater 360-Degree Feedback

Employee assessment & performance improvement

An exceedingly popular and powerful means for managers and employees to get information
on their performance is the multi-rater 360-degree feedback instrument . Used independently, or
as part of a management development program, multi-rater 360-degree feedback can enhance self-
awareness by highlighting what supervisors, peers, subordinates, and customers see as an
individual's strengths and development needs. It is an exceptionally effective tool for change. No other
organizational action strategy has more power for motivating employee behavior change than candid
feedback from work associates. Multi-source assessment creates accountability and service to all
stakeholders: supervisor, external and internal customers, including coworkers and direct reports. In
recognition of the importance of human capital, organizations are spending billions of dollars to
enhance human performance using multi-rater 360-degree feedback tools.

All of the available evidence suggests that the greatest power residing in multi-rater feedback
is in development . However, its' use in performance appraisals is increasing. A wide range of tasks
are important in organizations, and some of them may be informed by the use of multi-rater feedback,
including selection, performance appraisal, compensation, promotions, team assignments, transfers,
downsizing, and succession planning.

The objective of a multi-rater 360-degree feedback process is to improve the competencies,


skills, and behaviors of a single person or group of individuals. Competencies have been called
the DNA of organizations because they are the essence of a company's competitive advantage.
Organizational core competencies are those qualities that distinguish an organization's products or
services from those of its' competitors and

establish value in the minds of its customers. A customized set of competencies for a specific position
is developed and individuals are assessed on how well they demonstrate the desired competencies.
Individuals are evaluated both on how they do the job and the results or outcomes achieved. Using
360-degree feedback instruments, employees can compare their own perceptions of their skills,
abilities, and styles with the perceptions of others.

Multi-rater 360-degree feedback is a powerful process for developing people, renewing


organizations, supporting a cultural change, team building, promotion and succession
planning, management development, building learning cultures, and implementing strategic
initiatives.

Organizations are flattening hierarchies by eliminating unnecessary layers of management and


putting increased emphasis on empowerment, teamwork, continuous learning, individual
development, and self-management. The Multi-Rater Model aligns with the organizations strategic
vision to create opportunities for personal and career development and for aligning individual
performance expectations with corporate values. As organizations change their culture to align with
their vision and values, multi-source feedback becomes a powerful method to communicate the new
competencies required by the new values.

Multi-rater 360-degree feedback has many well-documented benefits:


 Defines corporate competencies. Identifies the critical factors that link job requirements with
business objectives.
 Increases the focus on customer service.
 Creates a high-involvement workforce.
 Detects barriers to success.
 Gives employees, managers, and teams a clear understanding of personal strengths and
areas for development.
 Increases employee retention
 Produces positive cultural change.
 Employees view feedback from different perspectives as fair, accurate, believable, and
motivational
 The flexibility of the process makes it meaningful for people at all levels of the organization.
 Multi-rater feedback enhances the effectiveness of individual and team development,
continuous improvement, cultural diversity, change management, executive coaching, and
other company initiatives.

The multi-rater 360-degree feedback process typically consists of the following steps:

1. Develop core-competencies for position.


2. Select survey instrument that reflects organization's vision of success, values, and culture.
Customize instrument to communicate competencies for effective performance.
3. Select feedback team. Feedback recipient chooses his/her own raters including colleagues,
supervisor, direct reports, and customers.
4. Conduct targeted competency interview with feedback recipient. Administer 360- degree
feedback instrument.
5. Train feedback raters on how to provide feedback to others. Administer 360-degree feedback
instrument. Interview 6-8 individual raters face-to-face. Assure raters of absolute
confidentiality of their responses.
6. Collect evaluations.
7. Score instruments. Conduct data interpretation & analysis.
8. Generate computer-assisted Feedback Report.
9. Coach feedback recipient on how to receive feedback.
10. Present the Developmental Feedback Report and identify strengths and improvement goals
with feedback recipient.
11. Design and facilitate sharing and clarifying session with feedback recipient and raters.
12. Create Developmental Plan that clarifies preferred learning techniques, developmental
targets, and effective strategies for change.
13. Design Planning Guide to include:
o A clear, written statement of the specific developmental goal
o The standards to be used for measuring when the target has been reached
o The change strategies that will be incorporated into the plan
o The action steps and learning techniques that correspond to each change strategy
o The people who will be resources in the implementation or monitoring of the plan
14. Incorporate Executive Coaching sessions focused on insight, motivation, problem solving,
skill acquisition, career development, and performance improvement.
15. Re-administer feedback instruments in 6-12 months to measure behavior change.

While creating a high-involvement culture, multi-rater 360-degree feedback provides a


proactive system that aligns employees' behavior with organizational expectations . It
promotes the corporate vision, improves employee interpersonal communication, and provides the
constructive feedback most employees strongly desire.

What is 360-degree feedback?

360-Degree Feedback is also known as full-circle feedback, multirater feedback, multi-level


feedback, upward appraisal, and peer review.

Where 'regular' performance appraisals provide 'single-source' (top-down) feedback, i.e. normally
from an employee's direct line manager only, 360-degree feedback appraisals are 'multi-source' -
involving behavioral feedback from a variety of sources such as Peers, Direct Reports
('subordinates'), Customers (internal and/or external) as well as Managers. These are called Rater
Groups, consisting of three or more Raters per Rater Group (except for the Rater Group 'Manager/s'
where an employee may only have one line manager).

The employee receiving the feedback (called 'Appraisee'), gets rated by 360 Raters (also called
'Multiraters'). Only Raters having worked with the Appraisee for a period of minimum three months
should be asked to provide behavioral feedback to the Appraisee.

The Appraisee also fills out a self-rating that includes the same questions that Rater Groups receive
in their questionnaires.

Why 360 feedback? Simply put - it is harder to discount the views of several of your colleagues or
customers than the views of just one person. The 360 process also provides a much more complete
and richer picture of an employee's performance. In addition, it gives people an opportunity to provide
anonymous feedback to a colleague, which they might otherwise be uncomfortable to give face-to-
face.

Some of the benefits of receiving 360-degree feedback from others are:

 Increased self-awareness, by understanding how your behavior is perceived by others, and


comparing this perception with your own self-assessment of your own work behavior.
 To identify and build upon the strengths that you are currently exhibiting.
 To identify priority areas where you might change your behavior in order to improve your work
performance and organizational effectiveness.
 More focused learning and development activities, and increased individual ownership for
self-development.

Feedback is essential in facilitating performance improvement. It informs employees of their actions


that create problems for others, and what behavioral changes may be necessary to improve working
relationships, team synergy, performance outputs and customer service. Received in a positive, open-
minded, non-defensive spirit, 360-feedback can play a major role in employees' personal and
professional growth, and job satisfaction. It can serve as a strong spur for personal development and
behavior change.

360 feedback from peers and direct reports is frequently the only way that senior executives can get
feedback on their performance, as there may just not be anybody else to do it.

When managers are new to the organization, and especially if they have many direct reports, it will
normally take a while to get to know them well. 360 feedback could be the ideal process to use to
gather behavioral information on them very fast and effectively.

The data gathered from 360-degree feedback throughout the organization can be very useful in
providing insight into organization-wide behaviors and competency (or the lack thereof), and what
development and other interventions may be necessary to address weaknesses.

NOTE: Because of its very power as a behavior modification tool, 360-degree feedback - if not
implemented sensitively and professionally - can do a lot of harm to both individuals and the
organization. For it to be successful there must be a mature organizational culture of openness,
honesty, and mutual trust.
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What are the practical applications of 360-degree feedback?

The following would be the most important:

 Employee Self-Insight (for personal attitude and behavior change)


 Employee Development and Coaching/Counseling
 Leadership Development
 Learning Needs Analysis
 Team Building and Development
 Training Workshop Pre- and Post Assessment
 Organizational Change Interventions
 Career Development
 Succession Planning (identification of star performers)
 Complementing Performance Appraisals
 Customer Feedback
 Student Feedback (educational institutions)
 Assessment Centres

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What employee levels should be involved with 360 appraisals?

At first used primarily as a leadership developmental system for managers and executives, 360-
degree feedback is now used successfully with employees at all organizational levels.

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How frequently should 360 appraisals be done?

Once every 12 months should be sufficient, so as to give employees sufficient opportunity to


implement their Development Plans before the next 360 appraisal becomes due.

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Should 360 appraisals be mandatory or voluntary?

Your company policy may dictate that it be mandatory.

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What is a Rater?

A Rater, also known as a Multirater, Respondent or Observer, is the person providing 360-degree
feedback to the Appraisee (feedback recipient).

Raters are classified into different Rater Groups, the most common being Peers, Manager/s, Direct
Reports ("subordinates") and Customers (internal or external).

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What is a Peer?

A Peer is a "colleague" of the Appraisee - frequently a fellow team member. A Peer is an "equal" of
the Appraisee, with an equivalent level of stature in the organization. They may not necessarily work
closely together, but are reasonably familiar with each others' job requirements.

Peer feedback is normally very effective, as peer approval is important to most employees.
Employees also tend to regard Peer feedback as highly credible when their joint feedback points out
specific behavioral trends.

Peer feedback with self-directed work teams is indispensable as a behavior modification and
development tool.

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How many Raters should be involved?

Firstly, you need a large enough sample to ensure the validity of feedback results. If it is too small,
there is a real danger that the views of one rater may play too big a role in the overall results, when
the ratings get averaged.

Secondly, you need enough Raters in order to best protect the identity of individual Raters.

A minimum of three to five Raters per Rater Group is required, except with line manager feedback of
course, where there may only be one person.

With Direct Report feedback the recommendation is a minimum of four Raters, to sufficiently protect
the anonymity of employees, and to reduce their fear of being identified by the line manager. Where a
manager has more that four direct reports, involve ALL of them if realistically possible.

If there are only one or two direct reports, either do not involve them at all, or add them to a mixed
Rater Group category such as "Other" (which could also include Peers for example).

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Who should be used as 360 Raters?

Only individuals who have worked with (or know) the Appraisee sufficiently long (three months
minimum) should be considered as Raters. The amount of contact potential Raters had with the
Appraisee over this period, and their understanding of the nature of what he/she does, should also be
considered. Another consideration is that Raters will need to be credible to the Appraisee for the latter
to accept their feedback.
It is good practice to involve 360 Appraisees in the selection of their Raters - even leaving it fully up to
them - depending on your 360 feedback philosophy and aims.

A further approach is to have the line manager and Appraisee making separate nominations, then
integrating their lists to provide the final selection. This will also help disguise Rater identities.

With Direct Report feedback, employees who have recently (or are currently) been involved in
performance or disciplinary action, or are in known conflict with their line manager, should not be
included.

Organizations that are busy with restructuring or downsizing should also consider the possible
prevailing feelings of insecurity and distrust, and whether some Raters should best not be included
(and even whether the timing for 360 appraisals would be suitable at all).

Furthermore, 360 appraisal programs will not work in dysfunctional departments, or in organizations
where there is a lack of openness and trust, and an unwillingness or fear to give and receive
feedback.

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Why is the anonymity of 360 Raters so important?

It is important that the anonymity and confidentiality of 360 Raters be guaranteed to ensure that they
cannot be identified by the Appraisee. Without this assurance, Raters may either not respond, or they
may fudge their responses to avoid potential friction.

Smart360 provides a secure solution to ensure such anonymity and confidentiality. Raters' feedback
are merely averaged and included along with others in a Rater Group.

Exception to this rule: In close-knit teams where a high maturity level in respect of giving and
receiving feedback exists, the 360 process may be enhanced if the individual Raters and their
feedback are revealed to Appraisees (with everybody's upfront knowledge and buy-in of course). The
Appraisee will then be able to ask a Rater more in-depth, clarifying questions about their feedback,
which will enhance the behavior modification and development power and potential of the 360
feedback program.

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What question items should be included in 360 questionnaires?

The more accurate question items describe an employee's expected work performance, the easier
Raters will be able to answer them, and the more relevant and actionable the feedback results will be.

Question items typically cover job-relevant dimensions and/or competencies (such as Leadership,
Communication, Teamwork, Customer Focus, etc.) with related behavioral indicators. They should
also be in line with the organization's vision, goals, culture and values.

Focus on the most important competencies and behaviors only (Pareto 80-20 Principle). Countless
steps, tasks, procedures, processes, and other behaviors are involved in any one position. It would be
impractical to try and include them all. The best approach is to focus on those that are crucial in the
working relationship with a specific Rater Group.

It is important to collect both quantitative (numeric) and qualitative (narrative) data. Numeric data are
ratings (normally 1 to 5) per competency/behavior that are averaged across all Raters in a Rater
Group, to give an overall "grand" average, which can also be used to compare the relative
performance of different employees. Narrative comments will offer insights into specific strengths,
weaknesses, and issues that are often missed by quantitative data alone.

Even though it takes more time to complete a survey that asks for comments, and more time to
analyze the results, the extra effort pays off in the richness of the data that will be gathered. As a
tradeoff, limit the number of questions in the 360 questionnaire (i.e. go for quality as opposed to
quantity).

Pilot the Questionnaire: Once you have added the questions/competencies to your 360
questionnaire, ask a small group of people to complete it as if they were rating a colleague that they
know well. This is your opportunity to identify redundant, confusing and missing items, and to
establish the face validity of the question set. Ask them to consider the following:

 Are the question items clear or ambiguous?


 Are the question items relevant to the intended target population?
 Are the crucial competencies/behaviors addressed?

NOTE: 360-degree feedback should only be used for behavioral aspects of performance, and not also
for quantifiable outputs such as sales targets, or the like (which should rather be covered via "regular"
Performance Appraisals).

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What are suitable 360 Feedback Rating Keys to use?

Below are some 5-point Rating Scale options. Smart360 adds the additional "rating" option"Unable to
rate; N/A" automatically.

Developmental

5. Always demonstrates this skill/competency


4. Usually demonstrates this skill/competency
3. Sometimes demonstrates this skill/competency
2. Seldom demonstrates this skill/competency
1. Never demonstrates this skill/competency

1. An exceptional skill - consistently exceeds expectations in this area


2. A strength - exceeds some of the expectations in this area
3. Suitable skill level - meets all the expectations in this area
4. Not a strength - falls sometimes short on expectations in this area
5. Not skilled - consistently fails to reach expectations in this area

5. Exceptional Strength
4. Strength
3. Fully Competent
2. Development Need
1. Significant Development Need

5. Exceptional Strength
4.
3. Competent
2.
1. Weak

Performance

5. Consistently Exceeding Expectations


4. Frequently Exceeding Expectations
3. Fully Meeting Expectations
2. Frequently Below Expectations
1. Consistently Below Expectations

5. Outstanding
4. Exceeds Expectations
3. Meets Expectations
2. Below Expectations
1. Unsatisfactory

5. Far above requirements


4. Above requirements
3. Meets requirements
2. Below requirements
1. Far below requirements

5. Exceptional
4. Superior
3. Meets Expectations
2. Needs Improvement -
1. Unsatisfactory

Comparison

5. Far Above Average


4. Above Average
3. Average
2. Below Average
1. Far Below Average

Frequency

5. Always
4. Regularly
3. Sometimes
2. Rarely
1. Never

5. Almost Always
4. Most of the Time
3. Often
2. Sometimes
1. Seldom

Quality

5. Outstanding
4. Very Good
3. Good
2. Fair
1. Poor

Extent

5. Strongly Agree
4. Moderately Agree
3. Neutral
2. Moderately Disagree
1. Strongly Disagree

5. Completely True Description


4. Largely True
3. Neutral
2. Somewhat False
1. Completely False

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How does Smart360 differ from other 360 systems?

Most 360-degree feedback systems use the same set of around 25 to 100 questions for ALL Rater
Groups. The problem with that is that from each Rater Group's unique perspective (context), a certain
portion/percentage of these questions will not be relevant, e.g. how well can a PEER answer
questions about customer service (especially external customer service), or a CUSTOMER about
teamwork?

Most systems try to overcome this problem by using very generic questions - to fit all Rater Groups -
but with equally generic and bland results.

The context-targeted technology of Smart360 enables highly targeted question sets for each
individual Rater Group - covering its unique working relationship and involvement with the employee.
These Rater Groups can include, among others::

 PEERS: Questions about teamwork (and related).


 CUSTOMERS: Questions about customer service (and related).
 MANAGER/S: Questions about the employee's job competency and behaviors.
 DIRECT REPORTS: Questions about the manager's management style and practices.

This leads to dramatically more useful and actionable feedback for the feedback recipient, with
resultant hugely enhanced behavior and performance improvement.

Smart360 allows for 20+ (no upper limit) Raters per 360 appraisal. Below are examples of how these
can be distributed in practice:

 Peer feedback: 3 to 10 Raters


 Direct Report feedback: 3 to 10 Raters
 Line Manager feedback: 1 to 5 Raters
 Customer feedback: 3 to 20 Raters

Educational Institutions:

 Student feedback: 5 to 50 Raters (questions about classroom presentation, student relations,


etc.)
 Peer feedback: 3 to 10 Raters
 Principal/Dean & Department Head/s feedback: 1 to 10 Raters

(The above are examples only, as any number of raters per Rater Group and 360 can be assigned)

The number and types of Rater Groups will depend on who you want feedback from, and can
therefore be different combinations for your employees (feedback recipients).

Also consider this: because of their context-targeted focus, fewer questions need to be asked per
Rater Group, minimizing rater resistance to complete their 360 questionnaires.

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Who should have access to the 360 feedback reports?


Consider this: if the Appraisee is not guaranteed that the results will remain confidential, they will tend
to experience anxiety about the purpose of the scheme and the use of the data.

The safest and most desirable option would be to only allow the Appraisee and a neutral feedback
facilitator access to 360 feedback reports. Also read the next FAQ in this regard.

At most, the direct line managers of 360 Appraisees may also be allowed access. Employees will
most likely fear the process if their line managers are given access to their feedback reports, unless
both parties have been properly informed and trained in their respective roles in the process.

Managers should, as a rule, not be allowed to interpret the results and handle the feedback and
development discussion with employees themselves. However, they should have access to the
resulting Development Plan so that they can assist employees in achieving their development goals,
and act as ongoing coaches. In this regard, management training in coaching skills is highly
recommended.

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How should 360 feedback results be presented to employees?

The effective feedback of 360 appraisal results is crucial for the process to succeed.

VERY IMPORTANT: Do not provide feedback in a vacuum by just letting employees get their 360
appraisal results in the form of printed or even online reports.

The feedback should be interpreted and presented by professionals who are experienced in delivering
360-degree feedback, and coaching employees to improve. This could be a suitably competent
Human Resources staff member or an external consultant.

If feedback is negative, it can be very demoralizing; so it is important that employees have access to a
neutral and experienced person who can help them understand and internalize their feedback.

It is common for feedback recipients to focus on the negative, even though they are generally doing a
good job. A professional feedback facilitator and coach can help employees identify both their
strengths and weaknesses, and create a Development Plan that encourages them to build on their
strengths and eliminate or reduce their weaknesses.

It speaks for itself that a Development Plan without the necessary support mechanisms and resources
(funds, training courses, on-the-job coaches, etc.) will not only be a waste of time, but will certainly
also do a lot of harm to the credibility of your 360 program.

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When should 360 feedback results be communicated to employees?

This should be done as soon as possible after all the Raters have completed their respective 360
questionnaires (the latter also to be done in the shortest time span possible).

This will ensure that the feedback is still relevant when Appraisees receive it, and that their motivation
to receive it is still high.

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Should 360-degree feedback be linked to performance appraisal and


compensation?

If 360 feedback is linked to performance appraisal and compensation, it loses its power as a
development tool. Especially with peer feedback, the danger arises where individuals may quickly
learn how to play the game: "I'll scratch your back, if you scratch mine."
Appraisees are also likely to become unduly defensive during the feedback process to protect their
income levels and prevent poor raises and bonuses.

Rather adopt a positive and optimistic mindset that performance WILL improve as a result of stress-
free learning and development, based on valid 360 feedback.

For the same reason, do not place undue emphasis on comparing the 360 results of employees,
except for confidential consideration with promotion and succession planning decisions.

The 360 feedback process as a performance appraisal tool should only be considered if there is a
very strong existing performance appraisal system in place, as well as an open and mature
organizational culture where constructive feedback is readily given and accepted in a spirit of
continuous improvement and non-blaming.

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What employee training will support the implementation of a 360-degree


feedback scheme?

The following training should be considered to ensure a successful 360 program implementation:

 Line Managers: Training in coaching skills, and how to assist employees with implementing
their Development Plans, and giving ongoing feedback on progress.
 Appraisees: Training in how to constructively accept feedback and effectively manage their
own Development Plans.
 Raters: Training in how to provide useful positive and constructive feedback.

EVERYBODY should be informed about the concept and practice of 360-degree feedback, and how
the process will work in the organization. Cover the following during such information/training
sessions:

 What 360-degree feedback is


 Its benefits
 How it works (the process)
 Who will see the feedback results (self? manager? HR? others?)
 How and when the results will be communicated
 What the results will be used for (development only, or also performance appraisal?)
 Who will need to participate (is participation mandatory?)
 The role of the raters, and how they will be selected

If employees do not trust your intentions, they will most likely sabotage your 360 initiative through
their resistance to participate. So let them know that they are not going to be dismissed, demoted, or
penalized in any way based on the results.

While receiving 360 feedback from others (especially one's peers) can be extremely intimidating, the
providing of feedback can be equally daunting for raters, as they may fear identification and even
victimization. People have to have the right mindset and skills to do it well - i.e. receiving AND giving
feedback.

The more information and training you provide upfront, the more willing everybody will be to
participate fully and appropriately.

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How important is top management support?


This is most crucial to ensure the success of your 360 initiative. Consider the following:

 Let them participate as 360 feedback candidates themselves, thereby setting a "visual"
example for others to follow.
 Ask them to support the process in writing (e.g. in a memo to all staff), and verbally (by
opening the 360 information and training sessions).
 Ask a senior manager to be the guardian of the program, and to sit on the 360 steering
committee.

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For more details on Smart360, click here