How HR Teams Can Use 360-Degree Feedback for Development
Go Beyond Just Measuring Leadership Competencies With 360s
For decades, organizations have relied on 360-degree feedback assessments to support leadership development. The surveys help individuals build self-awareness, determine their strengths, and understand where they need to improve.
Organizations can use 360-degree feedback for leadership development by gathering feedback on a leader’s performance from peers, direct reports, bosses, customers, and others who have seen the individual in action. Leaders can build self-awareness by comparing how they see themselves to how they’re perceived by others. This new understanding can crystallize what it is to be a more effective leader and guide the development of important new leadership competencies.
But that’s just the beginning of what feedback data can do. When you step back and view the results you’ve gathered in new and broader ways, your HR team can elevate its role and get much more out of its feedback investment by using the 360 assessment data to produce transformative results for your business.
3 Ways 360 Assessment Data Can Help Your Business
1. Benchmark your organization’s leadership competencies.
Thousands and thousands of 360-degree assessments have been administered over the years. And that means assessment providers have a lot of valuable data they can aggregate, analyze, and share with you.
Beyond just measuring your people’s strengths and opportunities for development, 360s can also be used to benchmark your leaders in the most critical leadership competencies against those of other leaders at other companies around the world. You can drill down and review results by country, job function, business sector, or other points of comparison. You can even determine which leader behaviors are most likely to derail a career.
What can you do with this information? Compare it to assessment data from your own company to see how your leaders stack up. Are they lagging behind others in your industry in key competencies? Are there areas where they are outperforming their peers and giving your firm a competitive advantage?
Use these new insights to craft a more meaningful development roadmap for your organization and to build top-down support for investments in leadership development.
2. Identify hidden barriers holding your business back.
To be an effective HR business partner, you sometimes need to play detective. For example, when the HR team for a high-tech company administered a 360-degree feedback survey for the CEO and his direct reports, one result stood out — while other scores were stellar, the entire executive team got rock-bottom marks for its ability to remove barriers that impeded effective teamwork.
Nobody understood the discrepancy. What barriers were getting in the way of teamwork? And what wasn’t being done to remove them?
Though the feedback was submitted anonymously, HR specialists were able to analyze the results by job title. They found the negative ratings came from division directors reporting directly to the executive team. They decided to do a bit of sleuthing and conducted confidential interviews to see what they could uncover.
They quickly found the issue. A new billing system the executive team launched and loved was proving to be a real nightmare — actually making it difficult for clients to pay the company for its products and services. Instead of getting important work done, directors were spending many hours on the phone trying to keep angry customers from jumping ship. Everyone blamed the executive team for an unworkable process that was causing nothing but grief.
The information uncovered led to a rapid course correction and solidified HR’s position at the leadership table.
Are there issues in your own company that are hiding in plain sight? Look closely at cumulative 360-degree feedback data to see where it might lead you. You may develop insights that benefit your business in unexpected ways. It’s possible that people analytics could help revolutionize your organization.
3. Build a leadership funnel to take your company into the future.
There is no doubt that 360-degree feedback can be invaluable to individuals. But the same assessment data can make an even broader impact. It can show you which leaders are best equipped to bring your company’s strategic goals and objectives to life.
An important first step is to work with your executive team to identify the competencies and behaviors most critical to future success. You can use what you learn to build your bench strength, guide future hiring decisions, identify and retain high potentials, and begin to determine which leaders might be ready to step into a broader role.
We support a global consulting firm that routinely uses assessments in this way. HR executives administer 360-degree feedback surveys as part of a development program for managers on the partner track. The company pays special attention to scores on key competencies vital to its future — especially those impacting the development of long-lasting client relationships.
The survey itself plays an important role in setting direction: Managers know which competencies and behaviors they need to master to move up because they see them again and again on the survey. It telegraphs and reinforces corporate values and what is seen as the talent profile needed for future success at the organization.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
We can partner with you to craft an initiative that strategically uses 360-degree feedback for development at your organization. Learn more about our leadership assessments, including the industry-leading Benchmarks® 360 assessments suite, and the straightforward and simple-to-use Skillscope® leadership skills assessment.