Remember your purpose
Remember why you are asking employees to go through the 360 evaluation process. If your mission is employee development, make sure feedback is provided in a confidential, non-threatening manner. If participants feel threatened by getting feedback, they will be less open to receiving it.
Don't provide feedback
in a vacuum
Assuming your 360 evaluation program is focused on development, do not provide feedback in a vacuum.
If feedback is negative, it can be demoralizing and counterproductive.
Often, feedback includes indications of both strengths and weaknesses, and it is easy for a recipient to focus on the negative, even if he or she is generally doing a good job.
Employees should have access to a neutral person who can help them understand their feedback and create a plan for development.
A professional coach or HR representative can help employees identify their strengths & weaknesses and create a development plan that helps the employee become more effective.
Consider hiring professional outside consultants who are experienced at delivering 360 feedback and coaching employees to improve.
If consultants are not in your budget or the scope of your project, make sure employees have a trusted HR person available.
The 360 evaluation process and feedback should lead to developmental goals. These goals should be tailored to each participant, and they need to fit with your organization's vision, mission, and strategy. Remember that developmental goals need to be measurable and achievable. Ideally, a participant should focus on about 3 to 5 goals in key areas that need improvement. Be sure you have a process in place to hold people accountable for achieving their goals.
How are you going to know if your 360 program is working if you do not follow up? Plan to follow up with another round of feedback anywhere from 6 to 12 months after the initial feedback is collected. This is the only way you will be able to see if employees are benefiting from the feedback they received. Also, be sure to communicate to participants that they will be getting follow-up feedback. This will help create a sense of accountability. In order to ease the burden on respondents, you might want to consider an abbreviated version of the original 360 for the follow-up feedback that focuses on those competencies related to the participant's developmental goals.
Ready to launch?
Double check that you have thought through the entire process before you start collecting feedback. Careful planning and communication are essential to a successful 360 evaluation program. Timely delivery of the data is also important, so do not wait until the data are in to think about what you are going to do with them.