I have an increasing number of clients interested in moving forward with 360 feedback projects – especially now that we are starting off a new year. It’s a great time for many and provides them information needed to develop training programs of value to their employees. For each one of them, I have focused on the need for socializing the initiative prior to starting; especially since for many of these clients this is the first time they are launching such a comprehensive 360 project. And let’s face it – you want it done right the first time around or there may not be a second change.
360 feedback projects are worrisome for nearly everyone in the organization. Concerns are focused on what happens if someone provides negative feedback, why are employees allowed to evaluate their managers, what if someone finds out what someone else said about them, how is the information used, etc. In some cases, the concern is that it just seems like a whole lot of work effort when there is already much going on. All of these concerns are easily addressed by spending just a bit of time socializing the 360 project before you start sending out surveys and gathering feedback.
Take these best practice steps to socialize your 360 initiative:
- Develop a communication plan for the initiative so that you have a starting point for discussions on the initiative. Include:
- Why a 360 is being done (e.g., to understand individual employee skills and development areas)
- What is entails (e.g., surveys, interviews)
- How the information will be used (e.g., to develop comprehensive training programs)
- The value/benefit to the organization as well as the individual employee
- A timeline for the initiative
- Arrange for a variety of ways to share information about the initiative to ensure that you reach the largest audience:
- Email/internal newsletter/portal site
- Lunch-time sessions (provide pizza!)
- Coffee sessions in the morning (provide coffee and pastries!)
- Department meetings
- All-staff or all-hands meetings
- One-on-one conversations (such as at the coffee machine in the morning or during lunch in the cafeteria)
- Keep sharing information! Just because the initiative is launched doesn’t mean your work socializing the initiative is done. Keep people updated on the initiative. Reach out on occasion to check in and see if there are any questions to be answered or concerns that need to be addressed.
Find champions – individuals throughout the organization who are excited about this initiative (preferably from outside HR) – and ask them to help spread the word.