In this post we’ll talk about the what, why and how of “360 Degree Feedback Surveys” (aka “Multi-Source-Feedback Surveys” / “MSF Surveys”), and how they differ from “Performance Reviews”.
“360 Degree Feedback” or “Multi-Source-Feedback” (MSF) is a process designed to give a leader (the “ratee”) feedback from specific groups of individuals – usually their manager(s), peers and direct reports (the “raters”).
The input from these multiple sources can give insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the leader, and can help in creating a leader’s development plans.
“Performance reviews” on the other hand are processes in which an individual’s performance is examined with an eye toward determining their level of success in obtaining stated goals within a certain review period.
Some organizations do supplement the performance review alongside, or within, a 360 degree process – but best practice suggests that 360 reviews and performance reviews are best administered as separate and distinct processes.
One component of a 360 Degree Survey that further differentiates it from a Performance Review is the discovery of:
If the 360 degree feedback process is new to your organization you’ll need to prepare leaders and employees in advance – making sure that everyone understands the process, what is expected of them, and how it will benefit them.
This includes explaining:
Clearly you need to have as large a group of raters as is possible in order to:
That said, you obviously don’t want to be asking the opinions of individuals who do not interact with the leader at a sufficient level that they can provide meaningful input.
Leaders/ratees should not try to communicate with respondents/raters after the survey is completed, but respect their anonymity and make no effort to identify individuals.
Survey questions should be clearly focused and specific on the set of skills, competencies, or behaviors that matter to the organization and to the leader’s role.
Again, the 360 degree process is not designed as a performance review, but rather as a way to provide an individual with feedback on their leadership competencies and skills in order to create development plans.
(For tips on HOW to ask and structure the survey questions themselves, you can refer to our other Employee Survey Pro Tips, such as Pro Tip Series 20 – “Double-Barrel” questions – what are they and how do I avoid them?
Assistance should be provided to help participants learn how to:
This can be provided internally or through external leadership coaching.
Leadership skills are learned and developed over time, and organizations should consider repeating this process every 12 to 24 months so that participants can:
As a result development plans should include both specific activities and timing.
Hope this was of help, but as always give us a shout if you would like to discuss!
Next up– the first of our 4-part series on question scales: Pro Tip Series 24 – What question scales should I use, Part 1 – Odd or even?
Thanks for reading, and if you’re interested in discussing a survey for your organization call us at 1-604-219-7876, email us at [email protected], or just book a discovery call for a one-on-one chat.
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Maureen Simons is a senior human resources and communication consultant with over 25 years of experience helping clients achieve their business and organizational objectives through their people. (Linkedin)
Adam Hunter has a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering, an MBA, and 35+ years of technical and programming experience, resulting in a broad mix of analytical, statistical, project-related and business skills. (Linkedin)