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Conducting Effective 360 Reviews

The 360o Review, if managed properly, is one of the most powerful diagnostic tools for a manager’s professional development and for upgrading management practices in general. The question is how to establish credibility and trust in the process. Here are some tips based on our years of experience in successfully conducting 360s:

  • DON’T link the reviews to performance evaluations and therefore dollars. You’ll damage the integrity of the process.
  • Build the rationale entirely around professional development.
  • Emphasize the need for the individual’s responsibility to work with the findings and the availability of resources to support these efforts.
  • Use external consultants to assure reviewers and reviewees of independence and confidentiality.
  • Communicate effectively. Tell the reviewees why you’re doing it, the process, the respect for anonymity and the opportunity to learn.
  • Give sound guidelines to the reviewers, indicating the need for objective and constructive feedback.
  • Ensure the review instrument is designed to address management style issues specifically relevant to your organization and culture.
  • Address the major issue of who gets the results. In some organizations, it’s only the reviewee. In others, higher levels of management and HR also get the results. (PSG takes a middle course. We believe there is mutual accountability and recommend the reviewee’s manager receives a one-page summary of results by competency category with relevant themes and is accountable for managing the direct report/reviewee through his or her professional development needs.)
  • Make sure feedback is prompt and preferably given through an independent coach, typically from the consultants conducting the 360s.
  • Ensure the reviewee provides the manager with a summary of plans to address issues raised for discussion about the “how.”
  • Ensure you get a consolidated report by line item to identify training needs of your organization.
  • Ensure that 360s are conducted for coaching assignments. The perceptions of the coachee are precisely the wrong way to go! The whole point is what others think!

Follow these tips and with our help, if you need it, you’ll be well on the way to a successful 360o review process.

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