360 Review Process

The 360 review process is a great tool used by organizations worldwide to help individuals grow in their position. The 360 degree review process helps identify behaviors that need to be changed by the person being reviewed as well as strengths that the individual has that may otherwise not be known to the manager. When implemented properly, the 360 review will lead to behavior change which can have a tremendous (positive) impact on the team and therefore the organization in general. As we have discussed in previous blog posts, just because the 360 tool can be a an effective tool doesn’t always mean it works for every individual or organization.

Common pitfalls related to improper 360 feedback utilization include:

1. Use of the 360 review process for an event rather than development

  • Using the 360 process as an event leads to wasted time and normally no behavior change because there is no follow through.

2. Looking for a reason to terminate an employee

  • This is where 360 feedback has gotten a bad rap. 360 reviews were never intended to be used as a method for terminating employees but unfortunately managers have misused the 360 process for this. By and large, this is not the case anymore but there certainly is a lingering sense by many that this is their purpose.

3. Lack of follow through

  • While intention might be good, not enough thought went into the purpose and the follow through after the 360 review process is completed. Unfortunately, this leads to limited behavior change and a 360 feedback report that sits in a file cabinet.

It is important to remember the reason for doing a 360 review process to begin with. Normally the need is derived from one of the following situations:

  • Leadership decides more focus needs to be made on development of the leaders of the organization
  • Career development
  • Special need for a high potential employee
  • Performance Appraisals

All of the above are great reasons to implement 360 reviews. The objective is always the same – to create positive behavior change for the person being reviewed. So how do you make sure the process you implement at your organization will work or has the best chances of being successful? We wrote about the 7 steps to a successful 360 process which was from the companies perspective. Now let’s take a look at the 360 review process from the focal participants perspective.

5 Key qualifications to a Rock Solid 360 Review Process From the Focal Leaders Perspective

Not all focal participants will realize the same gains out of participating in a 360 review process.  The goal should be to get as many focal participants engaged in the developmental process.  Those participants that will realize the biggest gains will be the ones that have the following 5 characteristics.

1. Is the focal participant open to change?

  • If the answer is no, the 360 review may not be the best tool to use. The focal participant must be open to change and show a willingness to do better.

2. Is the focal participant an agile learner?

  • Agile learners typically have a better response to 360 feedback than others who aren’t. In other words, agile learners are willing to quickly unlearn the old and learn the new. This is because they show a propensity to change from previous experiences. The 360 feedback experience will greatly benefit those who see this as an opportune time for change.

3. Does the focal participant understand why they are going through the process?

  • It is imperative that the focal participant has a good understanding of what the review is for and what they should expect to get from it once it is completed. If they have been provided this information and have shown an eagerness to be involved – that is typically a good sign.

4. Does the focal participant have a good understanding of the 360 feedback report?

  • Another critical element of success is determined by the focal participants understanding of the feedback report. There is a lot of good information contained in a 360 review report and it is critical they have a good thorough view of where there baseline is and what are the next steps to get to where they need to be. This is made easier with a good, simple, and easy to understand report.

5. Is the focal participant coachable?

  • Is the focal participant coachable? The answer should be yes. If they are coachable, then the development plan becomes much easier. Remember, the development is what brings about the positive behavior change so don’t invest too much money on someone who isn’t willing to listen and learn from their coach.

Going through an assessment of any kind can be a stressful event for anyone, especially when it is for your job. Be empathetic with the person going through the 360 review process and how they might feel about it. Do your best to make them feel comfortable and even bring some excitement into the conversation about how the 360 process will kick-off a true developmental process for them. At the end of the day the process should be good for the company and good for the employee.

Related Resource: 360-Degree Feedback – Your Complete Guide

Related Blog Post: What is 360 Degree Feedback And How To Do It Right