Using 360 Performance Appraisals for Productivity and Engagement Gains

How Employees and Employers Connect with 360-degree Feedback

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K·Coe Editorial

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Banking is certainly at a critical juncture in the evolution of the industry. There are so many tech tools, social media, and innovative practices, but with a need for people drive it all. Are your “people practices” as forward thinking as the new banking app you just rolled out? A critical component to a business’ growth and survival is its culture. How does your culture stack up?

In his book “The Culture Code,” Daniel Coyle defines culture as “a set of living relationships working toward a shared goal.  It’s not something you are.  It’s something you do.”

The Importance of Goal-Setting

Surveying for feedback has been part of the business world since the 1950s.  But, how to gather this feedback and deliver it has evolved over time. We are seeing a rise in the use of software for multi-rater feedback, commonly known as 360 feedback.  360 feedback is a tool that allows an employee to receive performance feedback from their supervisor and multiple other peers with an integrated self-assessment. This provides a comparison of their observations to the feedback of others – all to better understand their strengths and areas for growth.

If your business wants to work toward a shared goal, then 360 feedback can be a useful tool to that end.  360 feedback can help struggling employees blossom into valuable contributors, and help make your star performers even better. Because, when done well, the aggregate information from a 360 feedback is very predictive.  You can deliver important messages in a way that has impact.

The Power of a 360 Transformation

Through a successful implementation process, including buy-in from senior management, 360 feedback can guide and inform your people on their progress and development.  Here are some things to think about when implementing a 360 feedback process:

  • Measure the right skills.
  • Explain the ‘whys’ of the 360 feedback and what the results will be used for in development.
  • Ensure confidentiality.
  • Create a survey that is thorough and timely to complete.
  • Use a 360 feedback tool to discover strengths, not deficiencies.
  • Tailor the results to help the specific person.
  • Present the results in a constructive manner.

The 360 feedback process is a great tool to build a culture that makes employees feel safe and connected.  It allows them to share information without feeling vulnerable to judgement, and ultimately provides more accurate feedback overall.

Of equal importance are the giving and receiving of feedback.  Best practices for 360 feedback include:

Giving Feedback

  • Be honest, be tactful, and be professional in your comments. The feedback isn’t helpful if it doesn’t ring true. The important thing is to get the right information out in a way that provides for constructive development of the person.
  • Don’t say something that you wouldn’t say face-to-face or in person. When providing feedback, imagine you are sitting across from the person, looking them in the eye, and speaking to them in the spirit of improvement.
  • Speak for yourself; say what you think – not what you think other people Honesty is the best policy, so refer back to that honesty topic above with an emphasis on tactful and professional.
  • Don’t focus on the negative. Not all players are short stops, or outfielders, or designated hitters. But we need them all. Talk about what your team members do right. People like to be recognized for what they do well. Feedback should never be negative. It should be constructive.  Think about how your comments will help a person grow and improve.
  • Answer every question. The open-ended questions take a bit more thought, but often provide the most insight and value. In the spirit of getting the most out of 360 feedback, be sure to make the time to get all the questions answered thoroughly.
  • Make any positive or negative comments specific. Don’t say: “He/She is a great leader.” Talk about an initiative or committee, or effort, branch, or team that the individual moved in the right direction, and how they influenced people. A general comment like “doesn’t finish tasks on time” doesn’t help. But if an individual is always late on a particular assignment or task, say that.

Comments on feedback that are experiential in nature help the person receiving to link them back to experiences.  This ensures that the person will then formulate new ideas for the situation they are in at the time based on those past experiences and what was learned from them.

  • Start the process early. Good evaluations take some thought. You would like others to take some time with your evaluation. Be sure you are reflecting that in your efforts to evaluate others. To deliver the best feedback, make sure you schedule adequate time and be thoughtful and mindful about your responses. You want the same courtesy from others, so keep in mind how important this is for the person receiving it.

Receiving Feedback

  • Appreciate the effort it took to give the feedback and take the feedback seriously. Be sure to thank or acknowledge those who gave you feedback with an email or hand-written note.
  • Look for trends in the comments and don’t worry about outliers. Reach out to the person who provided you with feedback if you need clarification or additional information on their responses.
  • Identify and Commit to Change
    • Identify something you’d like to work on and discuss it with your evaluator. What should you do and how will you know if you’ve done better? Even “World Series Champions” take batting practice. George Brett showed up 60 minutes early for every pregame practice to take extra swings.
    • Set goals and work toward them. When setting goals based on the feedback you receive, make sure you use the SMART approach:  Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Results-Oriented.  Timely.

Keep in mind that 360 feedback does not take the place of a performance management system.  Rather, it integrates into a complete performance management system.  As with anything new that is integrated into an organization’s structure and functions, 360 feedback should be implemented using your organizations change management guidelines.  Done right, your team members and organization can experience real gains in productivity and commitment.

Information about the authors:

Bart Nichols is a Talent Advisor with KCoe People, the outsourced services arm of K·Coe Isom.  Bart works with businesses to improve the Human Resource and Talent Development performance of organizations through strategic planning, talent acquisition and management and management consulting.  He is a certified career coach and Franklin Covey facilitator.

Chuck Marshall is a Manager and Banking Consultant with K·Coe Isom. Chuck’s background and expertise is special as he has served as a consumer, real estate, and commercial lender, ATM network manager, credit card portfolio manager, and in various management positions. This multifaceted experience allows him to wholly understand and assess your banking operations, provide strategic opportunities, and facilitate team building. He assists community banks in compliance, marketing, succession planning, operations, policies and procedures, internal controls, and capital planning.

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