10 Tips for Successful 360s (science backed)

Introduction

This is part of our quick reads series; helping you stay informed without hogging your precious time.

This post summarises a peer reviewed academic paper on 360 degree assessments (360DAs), published the journal ‘Medical Teacher’.  The paper considers the literature on 360DAs in the context of health professionals.  However these learnings are transferable to other sectors.

Background

360DAs (or multi-source feedback as they are called in the scientific literature) vary in the questions, the number of assessors, whether the assessors remain anonymous, as well as other factors.

When done effectively 360DAs enhances teamwork, productivity, communication and trust.  Ninety percent of managers find such tools useful and most top companies use them as a matter of course.

360DAs are undertaken for a range of different reasons e.g. insights on individual strengths and weaknesses, understanding group or company performance or enhancing culture change.

Interestingly self assessments tend to be higher than others’ assessments within 360DAs.  Ouch!

10 tips for great 360DAs

  1. Use only in a positive culture: 360DAs could be more damaging than beneficial in a negative or toxic culture.
  2. Be clear on purpose: using 360DAs as development tools is probably more sensible than linking them directly to career decisions.
  3. Go win-win: use 360DAs as a time to make desired behaviours clear and explicit to the organisation.
  4. Keep the number of questions as short as you can: more is not necessarily more from an accuracy perspective.
  5. Keep the scale (for answering the questions) simple and fit for purpose.
  6. Use 6 – 10 raters (if possible).
  7. Compare to self assessments for useful insights.
  8. Handle feedback carefully: feedback should be given my trained individuals and linked to development plans to close gaps.
  9. Involve assessees and assessors in the development and implementation of the tools used.
  10. Assessors and assesses should also work together to improve organisational performance from over all findings .

Your thoughts?

We’d love to hear your experiences with 360DAs.  Drop us a note below.

Yours as ever,

The Wellbeing at Work Dr (nearly).

Links, References etc.

Wood, L., Hassell, A., Whitehouse, A., Bullock, A., & Wall, D. (2006). A literature review of multi-source feedback systems within and without health services, leading to 10 tips for their successful design. Medical Teacher, 28(7), e185-e191. doi: 10.1080/01421590600834286

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