360 – how often is too often?

Posted on August 02, 2013 at 07:48 AM

Once people start to use a 360 questionnaire and realise the value of gaining the insight into how others see them, it’s sometimes easy for them to make the (incorrect) leap in thought process that the more 360s they do, the quicker they’ll develop and acquire the skills and behaviours they’re looking for.

So how often should we be utilising this tool?

Based on the experience both of our Head of Psychology and the feedback from customers as to what works for them, we’d recommend this to be every 12-18 months as a minimum. Any more often than this and you may start to see a less effective 360 feedback emerge.

Why is this?  Two main reasons.

  1. People tend to get ‘rater fatigue’ when they're constantly being asked to fill in 360- degree questionnaires.
  2. You need to allow sufficient time between reviews for people to make the behavioural changes identified or to plan and engage with any personal development which comes out of the 360 feedback session. 

There’s likely to be little shift in the behaviour and therefore the ratings in just, say, 3 months. But even if it isn’t the time to complete a full 360 degree feedback questionnaire, it’s worthwhile gathering on-going, regular feedback at critical points.

For this reason, both our Talent Performance® and Talent Advance® modules from our on-line talent management Talent® system include a ‘Get Feedback' function. This enables people to get more informal, immediate 'pulse' feedback on things that have just happened or on areas they're developing. This is usually shorter, qualitative, aimed at a small number of people and related to one or two specific questions, which doesn't create the rater fatigue that 3 month full-360s would.

To talk about this more, why not get in touch.

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