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360-degree assessments – growth starts with self-awareness

Feedback is key for personal and professional development, but the reality is that many employees do not get much feedback in their normal work environments. If you can create a culture of feedback and openness in your organisation, your employees will be more effective and engaged in their jobs.

Conducting 360-degree assessments is a process in which employees receive feedback from the people who work around them on expected behaviours or competencies. 360s (As they are knows in short) are typically used as a development tool to help people identify their strengths and development areas related to the respective behaviours and competencies.

The assessment usually includes the employee's manager, peers, and direct reports but can even include internal or external customers depending on the role of the person, the type of culture and how comfortable people are to give and receive candid feedback.

Employees also complete self-assessments so that they can compare their own perception of themselves with those of others to identify their blind spots. Different parties often have vastly different views of who we are. It is these various insights that are often extremely powerful in helping us understand how our actions play out from the many points of view other than our own.

To know what we look like in another’s eyes provides a strong enabler for personal development and growth. These reviews are all about creating self-awareness in individuals that opens the door to them making real changes in their behaviour and becoming better contributors.

How to use 360 assessments
  • Leadership development
  • Team development
  • Service delivery
  • Value reviews

What to keep in mind when doing a 360 assessment
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  • Organisational readiness – compile a clear communication strategy to ensure everyone is ready and they know what to expect. It is critical to ensure that everyone understands the purpose of the assessment and how the feedback will be shared and used within the business.
  • The questionnaire – this is one of the most important elements of a successful 360 assessment. Start with a properly constructed framework, then develop questions for each competency or dimension. Remember – a badly worded questionnaire can break down the credibility of the entire process. It is critical that the questions are written in a clear manner, with no element of ambiguity at all. It’s always helpful to include open-ended comments, as these often provide excellent insight into the reason for the answers given as well as giving the participant a chance to add their own views.
  • The process – conducting the assessment is just the start. Make sure that your plan includes analysing results, giving feedback, coming up with action plans to address the outcomes and check-ins to monitor progress.
  • The system and reporting functionalities – when choosing a system with which to conduct your assessment, ensure that:
    • The set-up is easy and flexible.
    • You can monitor progress and send reminders.
    • The reports clearly highlight strengths and development areas.
    • Reports for everyone as well as consolidated reports on an organisational level are available.

Doing a 360-degree assessment can be extremely valuable. However, it must be handled correctly. If handled poorly, it can seriously damage the morale and productivity of a team. That is why it is important to tackle these processes with care. If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything in more detail, feel free to contact me.

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