360-degree assessments are powerful tools for learning and — most importantly — for development. Understanding a leader’s potential, along with their current effectiveness, is the beginning of success for both individuals and organizations.
Integrating 360 assessment into talent management can help identify what’s most important for an organization in order to attain the strategic goals. Done correctly, implementation can improve the financial performance of organizations, strengthen their talent, and enhance the talent pipeline.
Plan for success by ensuring you’ve addressed the following:
1. Purpose & Strategy
Be able to clearly articulate why the 360 initiative is important: how does it connect to the business strategy and the talent strategy? Making strategic decisions about what you want to accomplish with 360 will enable you to tell if your investment made a difference. Your organization will need to be clear about the reason for the initiative. Be sure to answer these questions:
- Why do you need this? What business problem are you trying to solve and how will the 360 help you?
- Why right now? What’s made this a priority?
- Who is it for? Who will be receiving the 360 feedback? Why is it critical that this targeted group be included to best solve your business problem?
- What outcomes do you expect?
Consider carefully the “when” and the “who.” Timing for rolling out a 360 implementation is of upmost importance to ensure its success. Avoid rolling out during the yearly talent review. Make sure that you’ve considered major holidays and meetings.
Also, having senior management support will be invaluable. In fact, these key stakeholders can add to a successful implementation if they agree to be the pilot group. Sharing the experience throughout the organization will set the proper tone. If senior management isn’t part of the target population, be clear on why you’ve chosen to start with the group who is.
An organizational culture of trust and openness is another key to success. You want to be sure that people feel secure in providing authentic feedback. It’s important to create clarity from the beginning. Ensure that the outcomes are clear, and that you’ve defined confidentiality and anonymity. Avoid the unnecessary dilemma about who will “own” and “see” the feedback data. Doing this will significantly enhance the success of the initiative.
In addition to working closely with an assessment vendor to choose the right 360 assessment, ensure that the assessment aligns with your organization’s competency model and business outcomes.
Target people who will appreciate it and see it as an opportunity. Don’t set up unnecessary processes or rules for everyone to safeguard against that single employee who might be resistant.
As you plan to roll out your 360, remember that implementing the initiative requires a strong communication plan. Desite technological advances in data collection and reporting, a lot of human beings have to do what they’re supposed to do for this to work well.
Ensure administrative roles and processes are clear, create a realistic timetable, and communicate. A thorough communication plan will create a positive, sustainable impact.
Be sure that everyone involved knows that assessment isn’t development. Receiving, evaluating and discussing a 360-degree feedback report is assessment. Development is what happens afterwards — and development is what matters most to organizations. For the organization and the individual to maximize the effectiveness of a 360, there needs to be a process for creating a development plan, support, and follow-through.
Ongoing support the organization will provide for developmental planning is crucial for success. CCL’s Compass product, for example, can help individuals and organizations move from assessment to action – building a framework for setting and achieving development goals. This important step is essential to long-term, sustainable results.
Tips for 360 Success
You greatly improve the odds for implementing a successful 360-degree initiative when you:
- Make an investment in the process.
- Align the 360 with business needs.
- Get senior management buy-in.
- Plan carefully.
- Communicate widely.
- Select the right vendor.
- Measure the right things.
- Use the process to leverage developmental activities.
With careful, strategic planning, your organization can leverage the full strength of a 360 assessment tool.