Using Technology to make a difference with 360 Degree Feedback

by | Sep 7, 2009 | Articles

We’re seeing learning technologies being applied in many different creative ways across businesses, large and small, and in all sectors, public and private. This white paper + case study, from Track Surveys, provides insight into how technology is being used effectively for 360 degree feedback and why this approach is better than the alternatives.

What are the benefits that technology brings to 360 Degree Feedback?
Whilst 360 Degree Feedback has been used as a learning and development tool for a number of years, recent improvements in online technology and increased access to broadband make the completion of feedback much easier for participants – they simply log in and go.
From an administrative perspective, distribution, management and collation of feedback is also much more efficient and cost-effective than paper-based methods.
For the organisation, especially where there are multiple employee sites, the use of internet-based 360 Degree Feedback is essential: there are no software downloads and all employees can access the 360 Degree Feedback from anywhere, securely, with their unique username and password.
The technology also provides a practical way to provide multi-language versions of the 360 Degree Feedback to employees in different countries, thus ensuring consistency for the 360 Degree Feedback for global learning and development projects, appraisal and talent management. Each employee, whether they are receiving feedback or providing feedback to colleagues, can see the 360 Degree Feedback statements in the default language for their country, and also have the option to change this to another language if they prefer. They will also receive their 360 Degree Feedback report in their chosen language. This aspect helps employees in different countries to buy in to the 360 Degree Feedback and demonstrates the commitment of the organisation to their needs. This would be much more difficult to achieve with a paper-based 360 Degree Feedback tool.
360 Degree Feedback: An overview
360 Degree Feedback, also known as multi-level or multi-source feedback, is a process whereby feedback on an individual’s skills, behaviours and effectiveness is obtained, in a structured way, from a number of colleagues with whom that individual has worked, and with whom they may have different working relationships.
The people providing feedback to the individual can include team members, people who report to him/her, peers, and managers and in some cases clients, suppliers or other stakeholders. The key underlying idea behind 360 Degree Feedback is that we have an effect on everyone we work with, not just our bosses, and understanding our impact on others, and how they see us, is critical to changing where we need to be, and building on our strengths.
360 Degree Feedback is most frequently provided based on a consistent set of criteria through responding to a set of statements or questions, generally using a rating scale.  There is also an opportunity to provide free-style comments and examples to support the ratings given. Normally, the individual also completes a Self-review which allows them to reflect on, and assess, their own performance by responding to the same statements or questions as the people giving them feedback and such statements or questions are normally related to key behaviours and skills which are valued in the organisation.
360 Degree Feedback is not an opinion survey – it should be based on observable behaviours and concrete examples and as such can be a valuable tool. However, ultimately it is still a subjective exercise and needs to be used accordingly.  It is not a psychometric test.
What follows is a case study into the effective use of 360 degree feedback in a multinational organisation and you’ll gain an insight into:
  • how to address inconsistencies in people manager capability and improve skills
  • how to change the behaviours and enhance the skills of the people manager population
  • how to involve stakeholders in the process
  • how to evaluate the impact
Overall you’ll gain an insight into adopting learning technology in another aspect of learning & development.
If this subject is of particular interest to you then Track Surveys would like to extend an invitation for you to join their new 360 Degree Feedback discussion group on the Training Zone forum. It’s a place where people can discuss all aspects of 360 Degree Feedback, Appraisal and Coaching, from a training, HR or strategic point of view.
You can register to join the group at the following link:

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