Improving your 360 reviewer response rate may be key to ensuring you get the feedback needed to make 360 activity valuable.
Typically ‘lack of time’ is the main reason that 360 reviews are not completed by a reviewer as ‘filling in questionnaires’ is often not high on the list of ‘things to do’ for anyone.
Based on our experience though there are a number of practical steps that can be taken to ensure reviewers understand the importance and give this assessment the priority it needs to make a difference to inform development and action planning.
1. Position the assessment
Positioning the assessment as merely a ‘filling in of a questionnaire’ downplays the role of the 360 in the development of your people. By using this ‘questionnaire’- type language suggests a tick box, compliance exercise. 360 degree feedback can be a collaborative and culture-changing process – but when you ask someone “Can you just complete this questionnaire?” it fundamentally diminishes the importance of the activity - and it changes the context of your project into something that can be dismissed as a low-priority. Instead think about: “We’d like you to go online to a website to provide constructive, structured feedback”. Ensure that how you describe the process, is aligned with your overall objective.
2. Set realistic deadlines
Allowing reviewers sufficient time at the outset of the project is the initial step to getting reviews completed on time. Coupled with this, avoid times which are particularly busy for the organisation or when many may be away from work. This includes holiday seasons but also internal conferences, end of year reporting, annual review or budgeting periods or other business-driven busy times.
3. Remind those who are ‘slow’ to respond
Research has shown that direct reports are the quickest at completing a review: they usually have plenty of observation to draw on for comment. However, line managers are the slowest to respond – and you may need to remind participants that they too need to complete a self-assessment.
4. Keep the assessment short and focused
Keeping the 360 assessment length to a minimum by including only the important questions and tailoring 360 assessments to the respondent groups can help to maximise completion rates.
5. Avoid bottlenecks
Within any business, there are people who touch a large number of people across the organisation and who tend to be in demand as a reviewer when 360 review time comes around. Be sure to select software that enables to you to identify these people, and then ensure they don’t get overloaded by setting a maximum number of reviews they can perform, and encouraging people to be selective and considerate when inviting their reviewers. Speaking with the prospective reviewers initially and inviting them to give feedback provides busy reviewers with the opportunity to spot potential overload, or difficulties in adhering to the timetable and giving feedback due to holiday periods or other obstacles.
6. Tailor your online 360 system to support the briefing of reviewers
Where possible, look to your 360 on-line system to issue an e-mail to the reviewer before the invitation to take part is issued formally from the system. This then allows for separate conversations to take place or changes to reviewers invited before the final invitation is sent. Take a look at our Talent 360 tool.
7. Customise, timetable and issue reminders through your system
Decide these at the start of the review programme and then monitor the completion and submission rate of the reviews as they are completed.
Of course, as well as wanting to improve 360 reviewer response rate, you’ll also want to improve the quality of the review – and you can read about that in other blog posts. You may also like to take a look at our Good Practice Guide.