360 Feedback Software can be used as a highly valuable development tool for nurturing self-awareness. Generally, when we start out in the workplace we see things from our own perspective and have little understanding of how our actions are viewed by others. Receiving constructive behavioural feedback, particularly if there are consistent themes across respondents, gives staff the self-awareness to choose to adjust this behaviour and perceptions should they wish. This can be a powerful, positive experience if handled well using 360 Feedback Software and managed by an experienced facilitator in a safe, developmental context.
Another great use of 360 Feedback Software is as part of management or leadership training or as part of an executive coaching programme (which we offer as part of Actus Learning). Again, this is because any development insights can be captured as part of a training or coaching plan for the individual to work on. By repeating the process 18 months to two years later, the individual can see how they have progressed (hopefully). In fact, using a 360 tool at the beginning and end of a development programme can be a helpful way of showing impact and potential return on investment for training and development.
360 Feedback Software can also highlight differences in perception between different groups of people and may provide useful evidence for an individual who feels their manager’s opinion of them does not reflect that of others.
The challenge with 360 feedback is that it is generally communicated in writing and can take some interpretation. Unlike verbal feedback, you cannot ask for clarification or further examples to better understand it. The best 360 Feedback Software Tools require respondents to provide some commentary to expand on their ratings as this tends to give context for the respondent. However, the quality of this from others can vary according to the levels of trust within a culture, so having a neutral coach to support the interpretation of a report is essential.
Just because you are gathering feedback from many, does not automatically mean that the results are without bias. It could be less accurate using 360 or peer feedback to generate ratings that link to reward than ensuring that line managers have the skills and capability to manage performance directly using their performance management system.
Consider the maturity of your organisation/business. Do people trust that any feedback that they give about someone will be treated anonymously? If you are rolling out a programme of 360 feedback within an organisation it is worth ensuring that potential respondents understand the following as it can make a big difference:
In this blog we have covered some of the pros and cons of using 360 Feedback Software. The key point to take away is that using 360 Feedback Software is a great option if your organisation is committed and skilled to making the most of it. You do however need to ensure that your culture is ready for it as it is not a panacea or a quick fix. Why not take a look at our White Paper: The Pros and Cons of 360 Appraisal.
If you are considering 360 Feedback Software, you can read more about the solution that Actus can offer, watch the video ‘What is Actus 360’ or get in touch below.