We've been providing and using 360 degree feedback for more years than I would care to remember.
Over this time we've been involved in complex 3rd party tools with reams of data, bespoke 360 which is framed around existing organisational competencies, and generic tools which look at factors common to most people in the work environment.
Of course, each has its place. Generally, my personal preference is for a generic tool with plenty of room for comments by those who are giving the feedback. And this is why:
- True to the experiential value, reality is better than theory (that's my personal view!). 360 is about what our colleagues actually perceive. Keeping the questions and scoring simple, whilst giving more room for colleagues to provide feedback in their own words greatly increases the depth and relevance of the information.
- Whilst at times valuable, a 360 tool linked into an organisation's competency framework can be costly to develop, can raise concerns and questions which limit receptivity, and limits the use of the tool for a wider range of development opportunities. A generic tool is quicker and cheaper to implement, is more readily accepted by learners, and can be applied easily to a range of learning programmes.
- Usability is absolutely key to successful implementation. Keeping it simple makes the tool easier to present to users, to administer, and to interpret. We've often had feedback from clients who have found our implementation of 360 a breath of fresh air after the mire of their previous experience.
Anyway - sermon over.
We've just completed a project where we've used our generic online 360 to deliver feedback and development coaching to some middle/senior managers for one of our private sector clients. We combined the 360 with MBTI and delivered the feedback in 1:1 coaching sessions.
The experience was received really well by participants, and the client was also happy with the implementation and delivery of the project.
Credit where credit is due though: We were very struck by the amount of good quality feedback given by colleagues to each other. The managers who received this feedback found it extremely revealing and as a result were highly motivated to do something about it!