For the month of February, we will be running a series of articles on the topic of 360 Degree Feedback. We're kicking the series off today with the introduction to a Research Study that we recently conducted into the soundness and reliability of 360 Degree Feedback projects.
It only seems natural to start at the beginning: To define what a 360 Degree Feedback process is.
Best practice in 360 degree feedback
Results and experiences from practice
“The concept of 360 Feedback makes a lot of sense and, if used well, should have a great deal to offer. It seems to suit the move towards the less hierarchical, more flexibly structured an knowledge based organizations of the future” – Dr. Clive Fletcher
Companies are shaped by the goals they have, the people they work with and the contemporary texture in which they are embedded. Several decades ago, organizations were modeled upon hierarchical frameworks which, inevitably, rendered a very clear and precise organizational model. With the wave of lean management came the toppling of organizational hierarchies and the installation of more interlaced, dynamic organizational settings focused upon cross functional and project based corporations. These new organizational settings have proven to be more conducive to a setting in which projects and goals arise and are tackled by team based structures rather than hierarchical ones. Within these new frameworks, team oriented goal setting flourished, in part, because of the dynamic relationship between managers and subordinates. These structures create a broader span of control for leaders making it indispensable for them to use more systematic leadership instruments like MBO processes and performance feedbacks. Besides the evaluation of productivity and the reaching of certain goals, the so called “social and networking skills” of employees gained a once unnoticeable relevance. It has been found that these, “social skills”, can be measured through 360 degree feedbacks. Behind this assertion lies the assumption that both personal and operative competencies contribute to the success of a manager and that these competencies are vibrant enough for assess
In the meantime there are a wide array of studies and experience reports proving the effectiveness of 360 degree feedbacks for both individuals and companies alike.
I: Definition: “What a 360 Degree Feedback really is”.
A 360 degree feedback is based on several opinions about the contributions and behavior of an employee as well as his or her own assessment through a structured procedure. A proper 360 demands that third party evaluations come from groups with a variety of relationships to the focus person: i.e. peers, managers, subordinates external suppliers and customers. The various viewpoints of the different feedback groups within 360 degree feedbacks contribute to comprehensive and authoritative results based on average values.
360 degree feedbacks are methodologically diverse and can, according to what is ultimately sought after, point to an equally diverse range of goals. Nevertheless, there is one guiding principal involved: good feedback should be precise and behavior focused and that focus should be value neutral. Assessments should yield positive change and depict relevant behavioral alternatives that the focus person can implement. Besides the goals deducted for the company setting, a good multi-perspective feedback instrument is especially instructive for the personal development of employees.
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In February, we will be putting up many more posts on this topic as part of our "360 Degree Feedback Month".
PLEASE NOTE: On February 20th 2009, the President and CEO of HR-Meter International, Christina Dietzsch-Kley, will be hosting an informative Webinar on the topic of 360 Degree Feedback implementation and follow-through.
To attend this event or to request a copy of our 360 Degree Feedback study: