Today, many 360 Feedback companies are popping up overnight and creating 360 surveys with little experience in the field. Such companies do not offer sound products and services, which can result in a poor ROI and a bad impression of 360 Feedback.
However, the purpose of 360 Feedback is to generate positive change within an organization by focusing on confidential career development of its leadership talent.
Choosing a 360 vendor should be a deliberate and well-researched step. To help you avoid choosing an inadequate vendor we have put together the below criteria. Whether you are looking at TBC or another 360 vendor this criteria will ensure that you and your organization will have a successful 360 program.
An organization should make sure that it is doing 360 Feedback for the right reasons. It should be used for developmental and not appraisal purposes. The two purposes are incompatible.
All questions are not alike
Survey questions should be clearly focused and specific around a particular set of skills, competencies, or behaviors. Competencies can be improved through proper training and coaching; personality attributes can be changed only through long-term counseling.
Rater anonymity is key to the success of 360 Feedback. Ensure you are choosing an instrument that guarantees confidentiality (including the open-ended comments). Anonymity will lead to more honest and open feedback from the raters.
Reliable and valid
Without a doubt, the 360 instrument needs to be tested for reliability and validity. This means the 360 should measure what it proposes to measure, consistently and accurately. A well-researched instrument will also be normed against a statistically valid database.
Don’t choose on cost alone
Low-cost is a false economy when purchasing a 360 Feedback instrument. It takes years to develop a good one. There are many instant “experts” on 360 Feedback that generate custom questionnaires overnight. Learn to view 360 as an investment in the organization’s future performance.
Training and development
Make sure that follow-up training programs accompany the 360 program. This can be done through one-on-one coaching or group facilitation. 360 Feedback without training is seldom, if ever, successful. A good training program will guarantee a strong ROI.
Don’t limit yourself to an instrument created for a one-time use. As valuable as it is to take a 360 the first time, it’s the second and third times when one can also measure progress. Choose a 360 program that allows you to compare scores over time, knowing that continuous improvement requires constant measurement.
Picking the right 360 Feedback vendor is a critical decision, so make sure you do your homework.
Heather Caliendo is the Marketing Coordinator for The Booth Company (TBC), an international provider of 360 Feedback and survey hosting solutions. She is responsible for coordinating and researching marketing efforts across multiple mediums including traditional marketing and social media. She writes original articles for TBC’s blog, which was recognized as one of the top 10 blogs of 2010 by Toolbox for HR.