Imagine if your ongoing employment in a company was contingent on receiving positive feedback from your peers and subordinates. Imagine if your business took feedback so seriously that management were not just held accountable to the feedback they received, but their continuation in their leadership role depended on it.
Would it change the way you behave?
That’s the way organisational changemaker Ricardo Semler ran the business he took over from his father in 1980. It was a form of “corporate democracy”, an approach which saw employees design their own jobs, select their own supervisors and determine their own salaries.
In this TED talk, Semler discusses how when he was CEO, everyone in the company was evaluated anonymously every six months by both peers and subordinates, to determine if they should continue in their position. If the rating they received in a particular area was deemed unsatisfactory, they were moved on.
Today, Semler helps other companies re-write the rule book when it comes to building an engaged, committed and satisfied workforce.
The importance of 360-degree feedback
Performance evaluation is critical to many aspects of business; it can be used to determine employee satisfaction and engagement, assess board effectiveness, and is a key part of measuring employees against KPIs.
Many businesses collect this type of information through 360-degree reviews – a process in which feedback is gathered from an employee’s manager, peers and direct reports to provide a holistic view of their impact on the organisation.
Not only does this provide a broader perspective than a one-dimensional manager to direct report performance review, it allows businesses to assess employee performance through a forward-looking lens, by evaluating strengths, weaknesses and areas for development.
360-degree feedback evaluations can help you assess things like leadership, vision, communication skills, teamwork and collaboration, remuneration and reward, opportunities for growth and much more.
A quantitative online survey is the best way to conduct a 360-degree review. It removes any interviewer bias and allows employees to speak their mind in a safe forum.
People will hesitate to provide negative feedback if they feel it could impact their future with the company, so it’s important to assure respondents that their opinions are anonymous and let them know their honesty is essential.
If you’re thinking about conducting 360-degree research, here are some tips to bear in mind:
- Make sure everyone in the organisation is involved and understands the purpose of the survey
- Ensure you gather sufficient responses to make it representative of the organisation and its individual employees’ views
- Make sure the feedback comes from the bottom up and the top down
- Each employee should also do a self-assessment on the same aspects that their peers, subordinates and managers are being asked to rate them on
- Identify patterns and trends in perceptions of employee behaviour and what this is telling you about your organisational culture
- Share the collective organisational insights with your staff, and make it clear what action will be taken on to address their feedback
- Share the individual employee insights with each employee, and consider including any development areas identified into future KPIs
- Do something with it; don’t let the feedback gather dust on the shelf. Use the learnings for the benefit of your company and your staff.
There's nothing worse than feeling like the feedback you took the time to give has fallen on deaf ears, so if you're going to implement 360 degree reviews or culture surveys in your business, make sure you are serious about making any necessary changes to 'the way we do things around here'. Recognise the positives, but don't shy away from the negatives, and to do that well you need to have the right structures in place to not just collect and analyse the information effectively, but also to embed the process of 'what happens next'. The individuals involved in sharing the results of the 360 degree reviews need to be trained on how to deliver performance feedback effectively, and prepared to take action where the insights gained clearly show that someone is persistently underperforming, is a poor cultural fit with the business or is generally exhibiting behaviours that are not in keeping with the organisation's values. While these exercises should never turn into a witch hunt, it's important to distinguish between individual perceptions that may not be reflective of the majority view, and themes identified that offer a well balanced view on how an individual is perceived by their peers, direct reports and superiors.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kristen is a highly motivated and passionate researcher with eight years' experience in the market research industry. As Director of CoreData Western Australia, she is based in our Perth office and responsible for business development, client relationship management and project management across a diverse client base.
Kristen has a deep understanding of the financial services industry, strong client engagement skills and is a regular media commentator. Her Perth client base spans aged care, banks, super funds, not-for-profits and utilities.
Before relocating to Perth to establish the WA business, Kristen was Head of Financial Services in CoreData’s Sydney office. Prior to joining CoreData in 2009, she was a financial journalist for seven years.
Kristen has a Master of Business Administration (Exec) from the Australian Graduate School of Management, a Bachelor of Arts, Journalism (with Distinction) from Curtin University of Technology and is a fully accredited member of the Australian Market and Social Research Society of Australia.