Feedback is a powerful thing. It can help to shape a powerful team of brand ambassadors ready to go to work every day and constantly improve. But on the other hand, it can also lead to employees that are frustrated, disgruntled, disengaged, and unhappy at work. As most managers know, feedback can feel like a fine line to walk – one where you gently correct issues in an employee’s performance while also maintaining a high level of engagement and motivation, especially with 360 feedback. Most common mistakes that managers make can be easily avoided, however, with a little forethought and care. Here are the top eight 360 feedback most common mistakes that we see and the fixes for them.
Top eight 360 feedback most common mistakes
1. There is no point to it.
360-degree feedback is a cool new trend in the human resources world, so we don’t blame you for wanting to jump on the train, but if that’s as far as the thought has gone, it won’t offer the results that you’ve read about big-name companies having. 360-degree feedback needs to be linked back to your organization’s goals and ambitions. If not, then any feedback an employee receives could lead her in the wrong direction. Yikes!
Quick fix: avoid using pre-made 360-degree assessments and construct one of your own, taking into account organizational goals, job performance requirements, and anything else that might matter to your business.
2. You zero in on the weaknesses.
No only is wholly good at their job or wholly bad at it, but if you only discuss weaknesses with an employee during their feedback, it’ll come across like you can only see their flaws. This can be really easy because of course, feedback is designed to help employees become better versions of themselves, but receiving only negative feedback, even to the most open and accepting employee will demotivate them.
Quick fix: heap praise on your employees when praise is due. Research shows that employees that were praised within the last seven days are overall better, safer employees. Harness that power. Make sure your employees know that you see the contributions they bring.
3. You haven’t trained the raters.
Giving feedback is an art and not everyone will necessarily know the ins and outs of offering constructive, actionable feedback, especially if that employee isn’t in a leadership position. Oftentimes, in 360-degree feedback situations where the rater hasn’t been trained on the appropriate way to give feedback, you’ll get responses back that are more personal and less instructive.
Quick fix: give raters a quick training session outlining the type of feedback you’re looking for.
4. You’re offering 360- degree feedback to newbies, the old guard, or entry-level employees.
360-degree feedback tends to not be too accurate in cases when the employee being reviewed has either been with the organization for less than a year or for more than five. Basically, for newbies, their coworkers don’t really know what their performance is yet and therefore can’t review them accurately.
With employees that have been with an organization for a long time, they’ve likely set certain expectations for their performance – even if they’re not meeting those expectations. This can also give a rose-colored picture of an employee’s strengths and weaknesses and not an accurate one. With entry-level employees, they won’t have any direct reports and might lack peers that can accurately offer feedback.
Quick fix: unless your employee is in that two-to-four year sweet spot, consider employing a different kind of feedback – perhaps just 180-degree feedback between you and the employee.
5. You don’t have the buy-in.
You need both upper management all the way up to the CEO as well as all the employees to buy into the 360-degree feedback process or it’s dead in its tracks. If employees sense that the C-suite doesn’t see the value in this process, they won’t be interested either. It is, after all, another thing you’re putting onto their already full plate. And if the employees don’t trust the process, the results won’t be useful.
Quick fix: find a leader in the upper management that could benefit from a 360-degree feedback process and use them as your guinea pig because you jump in with both feet. See how it goes and adjust as needed to earn the trust of both management and the employees.
6. Compromising confidentiality.
Of the 360 feedback most common mistakes to make, this is the one you can’t come back from. Make sure that you’re explicitly clear that all responses are confidential and anonymous and then stick to that. You do not want to violate your employees’ trust under any circumstances because that will be hard to impossible to ever earn back.
Quick fix: consider adopting something like emplo where you can design custom surveys and employees can safely send in their responses at convenient times for them.
7. Linking feedback to compensation or negative consequences.
360-degree feedback isn’t a replacement for the annual review. This kind of feedback needs to be used in a supportive manner designed to encourage employee growth. If you link compensation to the results of the review, you’ll find a group of employees that will fight the process the entire way. Worse yet, firing someone based on the results of 360-degree feedback means that you’ll never be able to effectively do this process again because your employees will be terrified of the outcome.
Quick fix: use 360-degree feedback as a safe space for employee’s to explore and grow in their careers without fear of repercussion. Perform an annual review for compensation purposes.
8. No follow through.
360-degree feedback is for employee growth, but what does that mean if the manager doesn’t schedule regular meetings to discuss that employee’s growth? 360-degree feedback can’t live in a vacuum. It needs to be a part of a larger, employee performance management plan to ensure that your employees are living up to their fullest potential.
Quick fix: set regular follow-up meetings with employees to create goals and track their accomplishments. Feedback can be a powerful tool for an organization when approached with the right mindset and with 360 feedback, most common mistakes can be easy to make, but also easy to avoid with a little foresight.
Are there some 360 feedback most common mistakes we missed? Let us know in the comments.