Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Finding Your Way Around 360 Feedback (Part Two)

In the first part of my post on 360 Feedback, I discussed general policies and ideas.  In today’s post, I am going to focus on some more specific ways to optimize your gains from feedback.  Let me know other ways you have found to help ensure quality feedback and outcomes.

Not All Behaviours Are Of Equal Importance
Not all the behaviours that are measured or of equal importance. As a result have you taken the time to have the feedback receiver understand, before she or he gets the feedback, which of the specific behaviours are most relevant to achieving their objectives?  No one will demonstrate all the behaviours all the time so why not help them focus before reading the report on those critical few, no more then ten, that are essential to be demonstrated with consistency, to successfully accomplish one’s desired results.
Move From Strength To Strength
By doing this you avoid the focus from being negative.  Human nature is to look at one’s ‘lowest’ feedback when many of those scores are low because that behaviours is not one you in your current role, over the last 12 months, had a chance to demonstrate. It should be low, that is all right. You need to focus on those behaviours linked to you success. Often they are the behaviours that you demonstrate more frequently then not.  Here is the trick, unless you are consistently demonstrating it in every opportunity you have to demonstrate it, you have room for improvement. Meaning the real objective of 360 is to motivate one to demonstrate the desired behaviours more frequently and unless they receive perfect scores there is room for development. 
Written Comments That Provide Insight
The comment section is a serious issue.  Too often people provide shallow or meaningless feedback. Meaning, they say things that are focused on only the positive or conversely only on the negative but do not include insight as to what the person needs to do to be perceived as demonstrating the desired behaviours.  Comment providers need training on how to give meaningful and insightful feedback that shows a path to the desired actions. Too often comments are also about things not covered in the questionnaire and are coming out of context and out of left field.  Feedback providers need training on how to provide comments that reflect the concepts of “I statements”.
Confidentiality And Anonymity
Feedback providers always ask as to the confidentiality of the feedback and who has access to their individual feedback. Data security is a key issue.  We have learned that feedback providers are more likely to eliminate false positives when they know that the person who is the focus of the feedback are the only people to see the feedback. The feedback receiver controls the results.  When the feedback in integrated into activities like performance management and succession considerations people tend to begin to give slightly increased feedback.  When it is for the feedback receivers eyes only people, especially their closest friends, will say what the person needs to hear not what they want to hear.
Length Does Matter
Much research has been conducted on the quality of the feedback associated with the number of questions. Plus the longer the feedback the longer the hidden cost. If a survey of 40 questions takes 25 minutes to answer and you have 100 people receiving feedback at the same time with an average of 10 feedback providers each you do the math. You just took 333.33 hours of your employees time. Based on one person’s time at work you just took out of your system more then two months of productivity for one person. Now complicate this with feedback questionnaire which are usually over 45 questions.  So be aware of the number and also aware of what I call “feedback provider fatigued’. This syndrome happens about question 40 – 45 when people just get tired of giving the feedback. So keep the time to complete the feedback questionnaire to no more then 25 minutes, including time for comments.

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