The Importance of 360 Degree Feedback

July 10, 2019
6 Min Read
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Honest communication is a key component of every successful business. In order to keep the team operating at peak efficiency, crushing goals, and working collaboratively, it’s important to continuously gather regular feedback from each person in your organization.

Sometimes this can be a stressful or uncomfortable process, but it doesn’t have to be! In fact, when done correctly, 360 degree feedback can be both rewarding and beneficial for everyone involved.

Proper 360-degree feedback has a consistent format that involves pre-selected, carefully thought out questions that aim to allow everyone in the organization a chance to be heard and give proper feedback. Each person has the opportunity to share the great things they’re seeing in the team’s work, and voice their concerns or point out areas that could use improvement.

In addition to receiving feedback from others, participants also have the opportunity to perform a self-assessment. They use this to see how their own ratings compare to how others perceive their competencies, which leads to greater self-awareness and opportunities to grow.

When everyone is involved, each individual has the opportunity to get clear feedback from multiple angles, allowing them to adopt a growth mindset and become the best they can be.

Benefits of 360-Degree Feedback for Professionals and Teams

The most productive teams are enthusiastic about the application and inclusion of 360-degree feedback in their organizations. They understand that to become the best they can be, they need to work together on continuous improvement and growth. 360-degree feedback provides a number of benefits that leads to more effective and collaborative teams.

1. Better Understanding of Strengths and Opportunities for Growth

Ambitious professionals appreciate knowing where their strengths are and where they have the opportunity to grow and improve. While most professionals have a general understanding of their skills, 360-degree feedback often illuminates additional strengths and areas of growth that they may not have been aware of before. This allows everyone in the organization to be more confident in the skills they have, and also have the opportunity to work on the things they may not have known they could improve on before. The first step to a growth mindset is awareness, and that’s the most important benefit of 360-degree feedback.

2. Grow Your Abilities with Tips from Your Peers

Not only does 360-degree feedback help professionals become more aware of their strengths and growth opportunities, but it also includes specific advice and tips from peers on how to actually improve and grow on their abilities. The best 360-feedback includes suggestions even on the skills and abilities the professional excels at, and everybody should come away with some areas to focus on for their continuous growth.

3. Gather Feedback from Multiple Angles

In many organizations, team members only ever receive feedback from their boss or manager. This isn’t always optimal, as the boss or manager isn’t usually the person who works closest with the professional. It’s generally more beneficial to gather feedback from the people who are working closest with each person on a day-to-day basis. 360-degree feedback is the perfect tool for gathering feedback from every angle to get a more complete picture of how a team member is performing and how they can continue to grow.

Why 360-Degree Feedback Is Important for Leaders

At Matter, we fully believe that the strength of every company is in the people. Our main focus is on helping each individual person in an organization become the best they can be, and in doing so help the organization as a whole. However, most organizations have a manager-employee structure, and many professionals currently rely on the managers to identify and provide feedback on strengths and growth opportunities.

The reality is that anyone can be a leader in an organization, and hopefully, that leadership is not siloed in managerial roles. One of the best ways to cultivate leadership is to provide 360-degree feedback to everyone and to cultivate a growth mindset in each individual. In addition to the above benefits for individual professionals and teams, there are additional benefits for managers, or more appropriately, the leaders in organizations.

1. Share the Responsibility of Feedback

Company leaders are already bogged down with so many responsibilities that it’s difficult for them to give their teams the attention they need to grow. In this way, 360-degree feedback allows teams to take more responsibility for themselves, and apply their own leadership and collaboration skills to help their team become more efficient and productive. It’s also a powerful way for leaders to stay in tune with their teams through the regular gathering of feedback, and to get feedback on their leadership themselves.

2. Create a Company Culture Built on Communication and a Growth Mindset

In every company, the leaders set the tone for how the company thinks, acts, and behaves. The best teams create a company culture that’s built on communication, and the continuous effort to grow and improve.

As a leader, implementing and managing a 360-degree feedback program can help shape the company culture to create a powerful growth mindset. Not only can leaders lead by example, sharing the things they’re working on and allowing the team to provide feedback for them, but it also gets the entire team into the habit of respectfully sharing ideas without the fear of offending or overstepping.

3. Demonstrate Accountability

One of the most important roles of any leader in an organization is to keep their team responsible and accountable for their quality of work. When a 360-degree feedback routine has been implemented, leaders have the opportunity to stay accountable to their teams on a continuous basis and reciprocate that expectation with team members. Combined with a growth mindset, a culture of accountability drives growth and efficiency within the team and organization.

How to Implement a 360-Degree Feedback Program

While any 360-degree feedback is positive for an organization, there are definitely some best practices that can help you get the most value from your feedback routine. 360-degree feedback should always feel like an opportunity for growth and support, and proper procedures and organization are vital to ensuring that this is the case.

1. Discuss the Importance of Feedback with Your Team

The only way any 360-degree feedback routine will work is if your whole team is bought in. A mutual understanding of why feedback is important and how a regular feedback system provides powerful opportunities for self-awareness and growth is absolutely vital to the success of such a routine.

Discussing the need for feedback and presenting the idea as a way to stay in a growth mindset and support each other in your personal and career growth, as well as help move the company achieve goals gets everyone on the same page. At this point, you also have the opportunity to resolve concerns and objections upfront, instead of running into them later down the road.

Once the team has agreed that a regular feedback routine would be a positive practice for everyone, you can begin to work on organizing your program in the appropriate way for your team.

2. Decide on Feedback Timing

An effective 360-degree feedback routine operates on a frequent and continuous basis, but should also allow time for effort and growth in between. This may look different between organizations, or even between teams in the same organization. Some teams may decide that a shorter feedback practice more frequently is optimal, while others might spend a little more time with a more robust feedback practice less frequently. This should be discussed and agreed upon within the team.

3. Decide How Feedback Will Be Gathered

When it comes to sharing feedback within a team, especially when there are sensitive topics to discuss, it’s important to have a procedure that helps each team member feel safe and supported with both the feedback they share and the feedback they receive.

Because feedback is coming from everyone around each team member, pulling each person into an interview setting can take a lot of time, and still siloes the team members to only communicating directly with a supervisor or designated leader. If this is agreed upon as the best way to gather and share feedback, then this is a totally reasonable method.

Many companies have found that gathering feedback can be a lot more effective when using a tool or platform like Matter that manages the process for them. Matter has a ton of built-in features that make the management of a 360-degree feedback that makes gathering and receiving feedback easier than ever.

  • Automatically request feedback on your agreed-upon timeframe. Each team member gets reminded to provide feedback at the appropriate time but can provide that feedback when they’re available rather than interrupting or taking too much time out of their day.
  • Request feedback from anyone, not just the people in your organization. Easily request feedback from everyone you work with, including your team, partners, clients and customers, and vendors.
  • Focus on specific areas by choosing skills and abilities to emphasize. Matter can adjust feedback questions to focus on those areas, allowing you to track your progress over time.
  • Work toward specific goals with Matter’s goal-setting tool. Matter will measure your progress each time you receive feedback, so you can really dive in and get where you want to go.
  • Keep your feedback documented, so you can always refer to important advice and tips, and track your performance and growth.
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