FAQs – Welcome
The purpose of this section is to provide answers to the typical questions people ask about
- 360 degree feedback systems generally, and
- the unique my360plus four-in-one online 360 degree feedback tool with development plan and ongoing social feedback.
We hope you find it useful in your leadership and talent development planning, and for developing high-performance behaviours at an affordable cost for your whole team.
If we’ve missed out the question you want answered, simply email us at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to answer.
What is 360 feedback?
360 feedback is input given about a leader or manager from above (‘the boss’), self-review from oneself, or input from colleagues and direct reports.
In some cases technical and other leaders (e.g. ‘thought leaders’) don’t have direct reports and feedback in this way is often referred to as ‘180 feedback’.
The key element of 360 feedback (or 180 feedback) is that it is anonymous, so that the person being fed back to (in my360plus we call this person the participant or delegate) focuses on the feedback, not who is saying it. Now, in the case of self and ‘boss’ this is impossible, but these two elements of the 360 feedback serve a different purpose.
- Boss’s feedback – if constructive and open – gives a sense of the strategic perspective on the delegate. The boss will probably have experienced 360 feedback themselves and so will know and understand its value.
- Self-feedback – this helps to see whether the delegate rates themselves in line with others. Some people are too modest about their abilities. Others the opposite.
In my360plus the people who give feedback to the delegate are called the observers. In other systems they are known as ‘raters’. We have two major issues with the 360 degree feedback ‘rater’ terminology:
- To rate someone (e.g. on a scale of 1-5 or 1-10) the ‘rater’ needs to understand the behaviour or competence being rated.
- Rating is often really just someone’s current opinion about another person’s behaviours – that is, unspecific and highly open to bias.
By contrast, the my360plus feedback survey asks observers to think about whether, and how much they’ve observed a clearly defined behaviour.
So they’re not ‘rating’ someone, they’re answering a more objective question. This reduces bias and gives more constructive feedback.
What is a 360 survey?
A 360 survey is the questionnaire, typically digital and online in today’s world, that asks questions about the delegate, to the leadership behavioural framework or competency framework used by the organisation.
If the organisation doesn’t have its own framework the my360plus is an easy, affordable and quick way to assess the leadership competencies within an organisation.
A survey collects a number of viewpoints into one feedback survey report, this means that it takes time to assign the observers and a survey process will take place over some weeks.
How does 360 feedback work?
360 degree feedback works by compiling viewpoints, to objective and constructive questions.
The online survey software collates the responses and assigns a report based on the amount of observed behaviour across the group. What it is not is an average of averages.
Some 360 degree surveys, like my360plus, include ‘free form’ or open text questions, which allow for descriptive answers, where observers can add their own comments.
Paper surveys are an option where online surveys are not possible.
The responses from the participant and observers are put together to form a series of pictures or profiles.
Here’s what my360plus offers as standard:
- Compares what the participant says about themselves to what others say about them. (‘Self versus Other’)
- Compares the participant with a much larger sample of other leaders/managers in the same position as them (‘Benchmarking’)
- High-performance behaviours in order of strength
- High-performance behaviours ordered by ‘cluster’ (the four behaviour clusters are ‘Think’, ‘Involve’, ‘Inspire’, ‘Do’)
The my360plus feedback also includes an explanation of the high-performance model and approach and gives coaching tips.
Some organisations supplement the my360plus written report with 1—1 or group feedback sessions with trained coaches or mentors.
Why use 360 feedback?
360 degree feedback is a fairer way to assess the presence of high-performance behaviours. My360plus presents this information in the most objective way possible.
My360plus is often used as part of a wider leadership development programme, which will also include
- A feedback discussion on the my360plus report
- The setting of development goals – we recommend one development goal each 3 months, but some people want to achieve more in a shorter space of time, while others want to develop at a slower pace.
- Ongoing coaching: the my360plus service is an annual subscription to the online platform with the option of setting development goals over the 12 month period, using the coaching tips in the report, getting social feedback from observers and, in some case, re-taking the survey to assess progress over the year.
Why and when do organisations use a 360 to develop people?
HR and L&D departments see a good 360 tool as critical for discovering and growing their talent pool, and for developing their people. A 360 might be the start of a development programme, or a one-time intervention.
My360plus includes a year’s subscription for the individual participant, plus a development plan, a way to set development goals and get ongoing feedback from their network. 360 degree feedback provides more objective evidence of behaviour than a single point of view.
Employees trust them as tools to further their careers – because the feedback is coming from all around them (hence the ’360’ tag). Nobody gets to the top of their game without some help and that help often comes in the form of constructive feedback. Asking for help can be a challenge, and being offered a 360 feedback report, often backed up with professional feedback from a qualified coach, is seen by staff as highly supportive.
Why is 360 feedback important?
360 feedback is important because it’s more objective and less biased.
People mean well but often the feedback we get is full of what’s known as ‘unconscious bias’. If they like you, they’ll speak well of you. If they don’t they may not give you the feedback you need to hear.
My360plus prides itself on being the most objective 360 tool out there. We make sure the questions are clear and the way the questions are asked removes as much opinion and bias as possible.
The way the feedback is reported back to you matters too. My360plus offers clear visuals and benchmarks you against the best – not the average at your level of management.
Why is it called a “360 survey”?
There are 360 degrees in a circle and a 360 degree survey describes the ‘circle’ of people giving a candidate (sometimes called a ‘participant’ or ‘delegate’) feedback. This usually includes the participant’s own self-assessment; feedback from their boss or line manager, from colleagues/peers and from direct reports.
If a participant doesn’t have any direct reports – for example, they are seen as having the potential to grow into a supervisory or management position – this is called a ‘180 degree survey’.
A typical 360 degree survey asks a set of questions and asks the person responding to the survey to rate the participant. My360plus asks about peoples’ behaviours and how often the respondent observes these. For this reason the survey respondents are called ‘observers’ in the my360plus system.
My360plus asks about the high-performance behaviours needed by managers and leaders in today’s complex and rapidly-changing world.
Typical 360 surveys also include open-ended (‘free text’) questions; these give observers the opportunity to add comments. These questions can be tailored.
The my360plus survey offers the following range of surveys:
- 180°: Boss + peers only or direct reports only
- 540°: 360 plus additional external group
- 720°: the 360 degree survey repeated
Can the 360 survey be tailored to meet my organisation’s needs?
At my360plus we often get asked for non-standard groupings, so if you need a tailored service, tell us what you need and we’ll show you how we can help.
Examples of ‘tailoring’ in the my360plus survey include:
- Account Support Contact (client contact for participants and observers that appears in surveys and emails)
- High-performance behaviour names and descriptions
- Free form questions, their number and composition
- The number and mix of nominees
- Addition of extra groups of nominees (e.g. clients, external)
In the my360plus service these above tailored items are included in the fee.
Additionally, clients can request – for a fee – changes to the:
- Email wording
- Survey Questions
This latter item can accommodate client terminology but cannot change the evidence-based high-performance behaviour or the report accuracy.
More complex changes, which require a stand-alone system to be developed include coding changes to:
- Survey contents language
- Report language
- Pdf report
If you would like to discuss tailored changes to my360plus, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is 360 feedback effective?
360 feedback has been shown to be highly effective when –
- The participant is committed to their personal and professional development
- Participants receive good communication about the my360plus system and process
- Participants ask for feedback from a wide range of sources
- Feedback is neutral, supportive and based on the report, rather than subjective bias.
However, the feedback needs to be meaningful and this relies on the evidence foundation of the ‘multi-rater questionnaire’. If it’s based on peer-reviewed evidence for the competences and behaviours it’s asking about, it’s valuable. Questions need to be relevant both to the person being asked, observed behaviours, and the context. If it asks about those behaviours in clear non-jargon ways, it’s even more valuable.
Development challenge My360plus benefit
Low budgets for development More people can access development at low cost
Managers have little time Quick, easy and can be done at a time that suits
Facing change, leaders ill prepared Improving quality of leaders, preparing for new challenges
Complexity of doing something Easy start, immediate and automated
Poor view of where talent is Identify talent, know where it is
Lack of development culture Quickly builds development culture
Persuading internal stakeholders Strong evidence based model, data driven
Why do people say 360 feedback can change your life?
It’s a common saying in the world of leadership development and high-performance that there are two types of people: those with a fixed mindset and those with a growth mindset. Successful leaders and managers are those with a growth mindset: not just because they are committed to their own career growth but because they’re committed to growing the people around them too.
A growth mindset means that feedback, for example from a 360 tool, helps prioritise learning and development. We suggest four stages:
1. Start with any areas of limitation. Fix those first.
2. Look at the role and identify any strengths or developing strengths, that will enable the role to be more successful.
3. Then pick a strength – and make it stronger, more consistent and help embed those behaviours in the organisation too.
4. Finally, find a challenge. Go for something new or different. Stretch your thinking and grow into new high-performance behaviours.
360 feedback can change your life, particularly if you’ve got that fixed mindset, or you find yourself coasting in a job. Getting feedback from your boss, your colleagues or direct reports can jolt you into a whole new career route. This means a faster route to success, with more fulfilling roles and the pay and benefits to match.
When does 360 feedback not work?
Here at my360plus we get to hear some great success stories from our partners and customers about how 360 feedback has worked for participants and made a difference to their career and their earning potential.
Avoid these traps and your 360 degree feedback is more likely to succeed:
- Organisations try to cut costs by using a survey format, making up their own questions, or buying in a cheap questionnaire not backed up with evidence.
- Participants aren’t prepared or briefed on 360 feedback and how to make best use of the process.
- Observers don’t understand the importance of their role
- Questions are biased
- Reports are too complex or give numbers instead of clear explanations.
- Feedback is too subjective.
This is why at my360plus, we recommend pre-project communications; we provide customer training, particularly for the project administrators.
For customers running bigger projects we provide a dashboard to help keeping track of multiple participants easier. The dashboard also helps you plan your development programme: monitoring development goals and using coaching, mentoring and other development interventions.
We can provide trained, accredited coaches to give better, more independent and objective feedback.
Our goal is to provide an easy experience for administrators, participants and observers alike, so everyone’s happy.
How does a 360 fit with executive coaching or leadership development programmes?
We will work with you to support the integration of my360plus with other development programmes.
- Many HR or L&D departments use my360plus, alongside on-going coaching.
- The my360plus system supports talent management with the portal giving a dashboard view of what everyone is working on.
- We support you to embed continuous improvement and achieve lasting change and transformation