360 feedback tools can enable honest and actionable feedback to be shared between coworkers. This feedback can also inform learning and development initiatives. Feedback given on a day-to-day basis is essential and valuable, but a more structured approach is required to nurture development over time.
Typically during a 360 process, an individual's strengths and areas for improvement are evaluated. This feedback is then commonly reviewed by people in HR, a manager or coach. In some situations the process is part of performance appraisal, but it is becoming more common to use 360s as a development oriented tool.
To find an effective employee 360 feedback tool, look for these five things.
1. Centered Around the Employee
People are taking more ownership of their own career and development. Employees should be able to ask for feedback when they’re ready and select who will review them. An employee-centric feedback tool allows the individual to take the same survey as their reviewers. This way, they can compare their self-assessment with the feedback given from their peers.
2. Short Survey and Concise Questions
Effective feedback at its most basic level can fall into two categories: reinforcing or redirecting. In other words, what someone is doing well and what they could do better. A survey with concise questions helps to replicate an actual conversation between two people. Rather than priming the person providing feedback with a list, starting with open-ended questions ensures that the feedback is more honest, relevant and provides context. A shorter survey provides people with a manageable amount of feedback, rather than overwhelming them.
3. Focuses on Strengths But Doesn't Ignore Opportunities
We’re predisposed to focus in and fixate on negative comments. Focusing on strengths starts the process towards reinforcing productive behavior. If a tool is solely focused on strengths people may miss opportunities for learning. If it's purely evaluative, people may be overwhelmed or upset. A combination of strengths and opportunities allows people to respond most effectively to feedback and be motivated to act.
4. Moves Beyond Numbers
Comparative scores and ratings can become an unnecessary focus during the process of learning through feedback. They don't motivate people to change their behaviors or develop. Ratings also don’t provide specific examples: telling someone they’re a 3 out of 5 on approachability doesn’t give them anything specific to change or reinforce. Employee feedback tools are focused on individual micro data rather than organization wide macro data. With a small sample size (i.e. the individual) feedback tools focus more on qualitative data.
5. The Intention is Development Not Evaluation
When choosing a tool it's important to understand what you're using it for. The needs for performance evaluations are different from those of 360 feedback tools. Feedback tools are different from traditional performance reviews in that they are employee-centric, and move beyond numbers.
Culture Amp Employee Effectiveness 360 feedback tool has been crafted by psychologists to ensure that it meets all of the above criteria. It's quick and easy to use the tool to uncover areas to focus on for learning and development. Find out more about Effectiveness here.