Talent Management

Why online 360-degree feedback is the only sustainable way forward

Understand why paper-based 360 degree feedback is not sustainable, secure, accurate or convenient. Move online for 360 even if working with few people.

Back view of businesswoman holding papers in handsYou'll already know the huge benefits that a 360 review can bring:

  • Insights into strengths and improvement areas for the individual.
  • Input for development plans.
  • Information for determining training needs.
  • Benchmarks for leadership programmes – and a demonstration of commitment to your workforce that you are committed to their development

And you know the process.

The individual invites feedback from their managers, peer group and direct reports – and sometimes external stakeholders too (such as customers or suppliers). A standard questionnaire is used and each feedback provider (typically) rates the person and (usually) offers some additional sentences about the strengths and areas to focus on. Then all the ‘scores’ and comments get combined, a profile created and a feedback session held with the individual to explore the results.

For decades, sheets of paper were passed around organisations getting people to complete 360s and then returned to the, typically, HR team to manually score and combine responses into something meaningful.

Clearly technology changed all that. It would be hard to imagine carrying out a 360 exercise on paper even on a small group of, say, senior leaders.

Do the maths. If each of 10 people asks 7 people to rate them, that’s 70 forms to keep track, chase down, keep safe and work through manually. The time spent doing this is one concern, but the scope for manual error in scoring is great and the scope for loss of professional and personal data significant. And, if you’re using paper, what image does this give of you as an organisation?

And yet, we still hear about organisations choosing to take what they think of as the easy route, i.e. using paper with what they see as a small, one-off group.

Here are the top five reasons why you need to move online for 360:

#1  Sustainable and scalable

Paper versions of 360-degree feedback are simply not scalable. Administering paper forms to more than a handful of people and manually scoring each one is time-consuming and inefficient. An online system easily scales to accommodate any number of participants, with no additional admin or scoring required.

Of course, from an environmentally-sustainable perspective, reams of paper passed around the office is not a good look.

#2  Accessible and convenient

An online 360-degree feedback system enables accessibility and convenience for everyone.

Individuals choose who to invite – and the emails get sent out with their specific link to the specific questionnaire. Feedback providers complete the online questionnaire at a time that suits them. Questionnaire completions are tracked and chased when needed – automatically. And when, everything is complete, visually appealing and meaningful profiles are created at the click of a button alongside an in-depth report ready for the discussion session.

#3  Accurate and reliable

Running a 360 online increases the accuracy and reliability of any scores or profiles it generates. It eliminates the possibility of human error in transcribing or interpreting feedback data.

#4  Secure and confidential 

Paper-based feedback systems pose risks to security and confidentiality. They can be lost or misplaced and it's difficult to control who has access to completed forms.

Online feedback systems provide enhanced security measures to protect data, such as encryption and user authentication. Also, online systems enable HR leaders to control who has access to the feedback data and when.

#5 Rapid and powerful

Some online 360 assessment platforms have powerful data analysis and reporting capabilities. Patterns and trends can be seen across the workforce and, over time, employee progress can be tracked.

Ditch the paper and move online.

Book a call with us to talk about how to make the move.

If you think that moving online means an enterprise-wide system which is too much for you to handle right now, consider outsourcing the management of 360 online to Head Light.

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