360 Degree Feedback Tool: The Definitive Guide


Are you planning a 360 Degree Feedback program in your organization? (Assuming you are already a big fan of 360 Degree Feedback – check here why we know you are one)

Now, if you are really organized, you must have defined

  • What are the different stakeholder categories that will provide feedback? i.e. Seniors, Juniors, Peers, etc. Can External stakeholders participate, like, Customers etc?
  • How many from each category can participate? Will there be a minimum & maximum limit?
  • What is being measured and how will these be measured? Do we measure the competencies, behaviors or values of individuals?
  • Again, everyone can’t measure everything, like a Junior won’t be in the best position to judge specific competencies of a Manager. So, who rates or measures what?
  • Who will decide who reviews whom? Will employees set unilaterally, or will Managers have a say? Or, will Managers set on behalf of employees?

So, if you have defined the process, the workflow, and the questionnaire, you must be all set to launch the program. But are you really ready?

How are you going to administer the 360 Degree Feedback program?

Most use a survey tool, like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, but do you just want a form?

How about if the tool allowed you to design the workflow, set the controls, release the form but more importantly analyze the feedback and provide automated analysis. Now, that’s what we are talking about in a great 360 Degree Online Technology Partner for you.

What does a 360 Degree Feedback Software do?

How is it helpful for the individual and the organization?

In this post, I will be discussing all the aspects of 360 Degree Feedback Software, right from its use, features to benefits and implementation.

So before we get started learning about different aspects of the 360 Degree Feedback Software, let’s get a very basic idea about the 360 Degree review process.

What is 360 Degree Feedback?

To put in simple terminology, the 360 Degree Feedback is a form of a review process wherein employees receive feedback from their senior managers, people from the peer group, subordinates and sometimes even from external sources. It also includes self-evaluation from the employees themselves. The 360 Degree Feedback analyzes the employee’s performance, competencies and also includes the skills and behavior displayed while pursuing their jobs.

A diagram showing different participants of a 360 degree feedback system including peers, customers, top management, immediate superiors, subordinates and self-assessment

Organizations most commonly have implemented the 360 Degree Feedback to assist their employees in mastering their working skills and behaviors. It helps them to identify their weaknesses and strengths and work on it. 360 Degree Feedback is, therefore, a positive developmental tool that is beneficial for both, the individual as well as the organization.

In order to successfully implement this remarkable review process, you need a robust tool, and that’s exactly what we will be discussing in this blog- 360 Degree Feedback Software Tool.

In spite of the increasing popularity of the 360 Feedback Software, some reluctant players question the need for it. So let’s begin with understanding the need for the software tool in organizations.

What is the need for a 360 Degree Feedback Tool?

A 360 Degree Feedback Tool allows you to-

  1. Design a Feedback questionnaire customized to the respondent type – so a Junior can respond to a different set of questions as compared to a Senior for an employee.

    The most important aspect of the 360 Degree Feedback program planning phase is the design of the questionnaire to get feedback on.
    The most important aspect of the 360 Degree Feedback program planning phase is the design of the questionnaire to get feedback on.
  2. Set controls on what and how feedback can be given – even include a moderation layer to screen out explosive feedback that may do more harm than good.
  3. Generate automatic analysis based on the feedback parameters and provide detailed reports that can be handed over to employees.

and more. …

The question is not really about automation but how else can a tool enhance the 360 Degree Feedback process to make it more valuable for the organization and the employee.

That’s exactly what a 360 Degree software does for your organization!

The 360 Degree Feedback software provides a more effective evaluation method as it involves a range of raters and therefore presents a comprehensive report. The feedback survey is beneficial for the employee, team and the entire organization. Moreover, the feedback is not just meant for the employees, but also for the management and leaders of the organization.

Most of the times, the employees are reluctant to review their managers directly. The 360 Degree Feedback tool guarantees to generate an honest and reliable assessment, by ensuring the anonymity of the raters. The feedback and the knowledge gathered through the review process is then used by the leaders to ascertain ‘what’s working’ and ‘ what isn’t working’ for the organization.

A 360 Degree Feedback Software is a powerful tool that helps employees identify their shortfalls, work on it and eventually overcome it in the long run. It is much more like a self-revealing process, something you couldn’t have discovered otherwise.

The two essential components that directly attribute to business growth are feedback and evaluation. All employees in an organization, from time to time, need to evaluate their performance levels, including their strength and weaknesses. A feedback provides them with a prospect for identifying and working on the areas of improvement. The 360 Degree Feedback software very much does that and gives better results when compared to traditional evaluation methods.

Using a 360 Degree Feedback tool gives you a valuable insight into the team and current leadership which, proves beneficial for the overall health of your organization!

How Beneficial is the 360 Degree Feedback Software?

The technology industry has witnessed a rapid boom, and companies are implementing a large number of software solutions to grow business as well as boost employee satisfaction. With more and more Tech companies emerging at the forefront of entrepreneurship, software tools are getting refined and modernized. Traditional Performance Reviews remained inefficient and ineffective ever since they were introduced in the 1950s. Technology giants like  Abode and Dell introduced the Agile Performance Reviews and unsurprisingly they showed positive results. Gradually many companies started implementing the 360 Degree Feedback tool to get over performance review deadlocks. According to the current survey, a substantial percentage of the Fortune 500 organizations are using the 360 Degree Feedback Tool.

A humourous cartoon about how one on one annual reviews are not good for employees or company culture. 360 degree feedback is the way
Not the kind of feedback anyone deserves. The only feedback you need is 360 Degree Feedback. Credit: Dilbert by Scott Adams.

In spite of its increasing popularity, you might come across someone asking “What is a 360 Degree Feedback?”.  There could even be reluctant participants with their own set of reasoning: “Why do I need it? Why can’t I just go and ask instead of taking a survey?” or even this “I know all that I need to, I am just fine even without it?”.

Even with all those ‘whys’, ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’, the fact remains unchanged that 360 Degree Feedback tool is here to stay and is beneficial at all levels of the organizational hierarchy. Here I outline the benefits of implementing the 360 Feedback software in your organization. Hop on, and enjoy the ride!

Benefits of the 360 Degree Feedback Software 

  • Accuracy

360 Degree Feedback in itself implies gathering feedback from all possible sources. Hence the software generates feedback from managers, peers, suppliers or even customers. This gives HR professionals the upper hand in analyzing the competencies from a broader perspective. Effective communication is crucial for developing trust within an organization and ultimately impacts productivity. In his research paper, Ph. D. Scholar, Anchal Luthra clearly stated that “effective Leadership is all about communicating effectively“. A 360 Degree Feedback Software is a tool to help leaders achieve effective communication.

  • Better Analysis of Performance

The feedback generated through the 360 Degree Software comes from different levels of the organizational hierarchy and is, therefore, more meaningful. An employee can use the feedback to access how his/her performance is perceived by different groups. A feedback given by a manager alone cannot be used to appropriately judge performance and this is why the feedback from colleagues and subordinates becomes invaluable in the performance review process.

  • Fosters an Open-minded Working Environment

This is one of the most insightful benefits of using the 360 Degree Feedback Software in your organization. The 360 Degree tool helps to foster communication between employees and managers, something that traditional performance reviews could never do. Earlier team members were uncomfortable when asked to review their co-workers. However, a recent survey showed that 72% of employees thought that the feedback can be used to improve performance. Also when a feedback is constructive and honest, it implies that actions are being reviewed and not the person.

One way 360 Degree Feedback affects and helps everyone involved is by starting conversations. It vastly improves communication but formal and informal. Credit: Dilbert by Scott Adams
One way 360 Degree Feedback effects and helps everyone involved is by starting conversations. It vastly improves communication but formal and informal. Credit: Dilbert by Scott Adams
  • Strengthens Company’s Culture 

    Use 360 Degree Feedback to create a strong company culture that promotes self-awareness and creates transparency in communications through foundations of trust and clarity towards the mutual goals needed to sustain the benefits it brings.
    Your 360-Degree Feedback system is as good as the culture you want to create and implement it in. Credit: Working Daze by John Zakour and Scott Roberts

Implementation of the 360 Degree Feedback Software in an organization conveys the message that employee satisfaction and morale is important for the leaders. This helps to strengthen the company’s culture. Also when everyone is invited to give feedback it builds a sense of trust and transparency in the workplace.

  • Autonomy 

Feedbacks are important and beneficial when they are given at a right point of time. Ever wondered what’s the use of making presentations and holding discussions before taking a strategic decision? Well, the feedback that you get can help you improvise and eliminates any chances of going wrong. Much in the same way, a 360 Degree Feedback tool helps employees to collect feedback from multiple sources to identify their strengths and recognize shortfalls. The 360 Degree Feedback software gives autonomy to employees to request feedback from colleagues, as and when required.

  • Adaptability

Organizations use the 360 Degree Tool to not only generate feedback but also utilize them for performance reviews, recruitment of new employees, tapping potential areas of development and promoting a cohesive work environment. The feedback software is highly versatile.

  • Ease of Use

Easy of use and scalability are another added advantage of the 360 Degree Feedback software tools. Most of the software can easily be integrated into the current organizational processes, without any hassles. employees do not have to undergo any formal training sessions before using the 360 Degree Feedback tool.

The pointers stated above highlight the benefits of a 360 Degree Feedback tool at different levels of organizational hierarchy. Some of the 360 Degree software solutions provide a mobile-app making it easier for the employees to access and review it. The app-version can also be used when traveling and gives ample time for employees to review the feedback at any point of the day.

Remember that 360 Degree Feedback software is a magic bullet. You just need to roll it out carefully to hit the Bull’s Eye!

Must-have Features of a 360 Degree Feedback Tool 

A lot has been said about the effectiveness and benefits of using the 360 Degree Feedback Software. I am sure after reading all this, you must be keen on implementing this strategic business tool. But before you are ready to launch the feedback tool for your team, it is important to understand the features that are associated with it.

So here I present you with the list of essential features that you must look for in the 360 Degree Feedback Software.

  • Flexible Questionnaires

The best 360 Degree Feedback program allows the respondents to answer relevant questions about the employee. So, the 360 Degree Feedback tool should be flexible to allow Juniors to respond to different parameters as compared to Seniors for the employee.

  • Should Include the Anonymity Option 

Sometimes it becomes an unpleasant situation for employees to give an honest feedback from their managers face-to-face. The anonymity feature in the 360 Degree Feedback software enables the employees to freely present their views about the current leadership without the fear of being sacked. With anonymous feedbacks employees feel more inclined to participate, especially those team members who are hesitant to voice their opinion aloud.

Funny Dilbert cartoon about feedback that isn't honest when you're always out to please people. 360 Degree Feedback ensures anonymity and thus is essential for constructive, unbiased feedback
Only anonymous 360 Degree Feedback can lead to any real honesty.
Credit: Dilbert by Scott Adams.
  • Perceptive Analytics

The 360 Degree Feedback software works on the principle of ‘actionable feedback‘. The 360 Degree Software is not merely a tool to generate reviews from multiple raters. Using the feedback gathered is imperative to the success of implementing the 360 Degree software. The feedback collected from multiple sources should be critically analyzed and presented in the form of a personalized report. The employee can then compare this report with his personal ratings and perceive how his contribution is viewed by the team members. This enables them to identify their strengths, work on their shortcomings and discover blind-spots.

Reports can make or break a 360 Degree Feedback process. Credit: Dilbert by Scott Adams
Reports can make or break a 360 Degree Feedback process. Credit: Dilbert by Scott Adams
  • A Friendly Interface & Easy Implementation

The crucial features that should be included in your 360 Degree Feedback software is an interactive interface, flexibility and should be easily customizable. GroSum offers customizable business solutions for your company that is robust, flexible and cost-effective. Their 360 Degree Feedback software gets easily implemented, the design template is flexible and supported by reporting and analytics.

Choosing an appropriate 360 Degree Software vendor should be a well-researched process as too many companies are creating feedback surveys with little experience. The services rendered by them are poor and thus results in the negative interpretation of the 360 Degree Software tool.

360 Degree Feedback tool has turned out to be an important software tool for companies and the testimonials prove that a larger section of employees is receptive towards these contemporary feedback procedures!

Things To Keep In Mind Before Buying the 360 Degree Feedback Tool

What is exactly that determines the success or failure of this software tool? While there are no strict rules you need to adhere to guarantee a successful implementation of 360 Degree Feedback tool, you should consider these pointers, stated below, before pushing the launch button!

While searching for a reliable 360 Degree software providers, you will be overwhelmed with the choices given. To make the online search process easier for you, I have compiled a list of things that you need to consider before buying the 360 Degree Feedback tool.

Things to keep in mind before buying a 360 Degree Feedback Tool Infographic

  • Simplicity

The foremost criterion for choosing a 360 Degrees Feedback software is a simple and easy-to-understand interface. Added complexity to the working scenario can be unwelcoming. The 360 Degree tool that you choose must be easily understood by all the employees, and should not require specific training. Most of the 360 software providers offer a free trial. You can therefore easily try them out and allow your employees to interact with the software available and then finalize the most befitting software tool for your company.

  • Easy Customization

Organizational needs can vary. So when buying a 360 Degree Software from a vendor you can either choose their standard feedback software or opt for a software that can be easily customized to suit for the company’s requirement. 360 Degree Software vendors like Grosum provide added flexibility to their clients by enabling them to decide on the choice of raters and feedback questions. All the processes are automated and can be seamlessly integrated into the software without any technicalities. Their easy-to-use control panels allow you to administer your own projects by setting reminders, assigning assessments and monitoring progress, as and when required.

  • Support and Assistance

When selecting a 360 Degree software for your company you need to bear in mind that organizational needs can vary subject to time. After-sale support then becomes extremely critical. When implementing a new software, the provider must introduce it in a way such that the entire process seems hassle-free. Opt for a software that provides easy user documentation, is customer-friendly and is receptive to your organizational needs. The software vendor must also offer phone and email support (free of cost) to ensure smooth and uninterrupted operation.

  • Security

The 360 Degree Feedback review may include some information about the employees and company that should remain confidential and should be accessed by only authorized personnel. Security, therefore, become an important feature to consider when buying any software tool. Before making the final purchase ascertain the security of the data and information stored in the software.

Information Security laws are different for every country. Hence ensure that the software you select adheres to the security rules of your country. 

Just ensure to checklist these simple measures before buying the 360 Degree Feedback tool and there will be no chance of misfire. Your team will readily embrace this developmental tool and the organizational growth you will witness in a span of a few months will be phenomenal.

In the recent times, many HR managers are contemplating the use of 360 Degrees Software tool for performance appraisals. The use of 360 Degree reviews for appraisal is still debatable and there is still an ambiguity regarding the effectiveness of its use for the same!

Mistakes People Make While Implementing a 360 Degree Feedback Tool

360 Degree review process is a powerful learning and development tool for your organization. But if it goes wrong, the consequences can have a long-lasting impact on the employees as well as the organization. A report published in the Psychological Bulletin stated that nearly 1/3rd of the 360 Degree feedback cases lowered employees performance.

Craig Chappelow, a senior faculty at CCL(Center for Creative Leadership) stated that the failure of the 360 Degree assessment products can be attributed to predictable reasons. The good news is that these shortcomings can be avoided if carefully looked out for.

So what are the critical mistakes that you should avoid to ensure the success of your 360 Degree Software? Read on to know about the 8 most common mistakes that people make while buying the feedback software tool.

  • Vagueness in the Use & Implementation

360 Degree Software is surely creating waves in the marketplace, but that does not mean you need to pursue it blindly. The goals cannot be accomplished if you do make a strategic decision for the same. Most of the companies do not have a clear picture about –

          Why they need the tool?

          Would any business objective be resolved using the 360 Degrees software?

           Is it a priority for your business right now?

           Who will and for whom is the feedback required?

           What outcomes do you expect from the software tool?

If you have not figured out the answers to these questions before buying the software tool, the chances of failure are quite high. The 360 Degree Feedback should hold relevance in meeting your company’s ambitions and goals.

  • Poor Communication

Proper communication in the workplace is an important criterion for implementing new changes. Employee engagement is crucial for the success of feedback software. Why some of the 360 Degree software fail to give the desired result is because the team members had little or no knowledge about the software tool, its benefits, and usage. If the employees are not enthusiastic about its use, the feedback will not be honest and there will always be some discrepancies associated with it. Use the GroSum’s check-ins feature to keep the review process open and ongoing.

Feedback needs to be honest, constructive, multi-source with an adequate number of reviewers and anonymous to be effective. Credit: Dilbert by Scott Adams.
Feedback needs to be honest, constructive, multi-source with an adequate number of reviewers and anonymous to be effective. Credit: Dilbert by Scott Adams.
  • Improper Questionnaire

 The sole purpose of 360 Degree software is to collect feedback for an employee from managers, supervisors, colleagues and some external sources. The feedback thus generated is accessed by the employee to work on the areas of improvements and excel in professional and personal front. However if the questions devised in the software template does not yield the purpose, it does no good to the employee or the organization.

  • Implementing the Software against Organizational Readiness 

360 Degrees is definitely a developmental tool but sometimes it could just not be the right time to implement it in your organization. The probable signs could be –

         If the management is competitive or unclear.

         A senior manager isn’t on-board.

        The feedback culture is unwelcoming in the organization.

        If the scars of earlier mishandled 360 Degree software are still fresh.

  • The Raters are Untrained 

    All participating parties need to be coached to give and receive feedback in the best way possible.
    All participating parties need to be coached to give and receive feedback in the best way possible.

Giving feedback is not just asking a set of yes/no questionnaire. Giving a responsive and constructive feedback is an art. If the raters, especially the ones not in a leadership position, are untrained the feedback generated by them will be personal and less instructive.

  • Replacing the Feedback tool for face-to-face conversations 

This is the most common mistake that companies make while implementing the 360 Degree software. The 360 Degree is indeed a tool to gather feedback from one’s working environment but it should never replace the real conversation between team members. Face-to-face conversation is more engaging and yields better results.

Elephant in a therapist's couch saying that sometimes even in the middle of the room no one acknowledges it. It's a joke on the the proverbial use of "the elephant in the room" which means any issues too important or striking not to ignore. Just like 360 degree feedback is!
360 Degree Feedback is too important to ignore. Credit: Pinterest
  • Lack of Follow-ups

The ultimate aim of implementing the 360 Degree software is not just to collect feedback for a working member of the organization. The process should not come to an end after giving the feedback and this is another mistake that some companies do. The 360 Degree feedback evaluations need to be accessed through open discussion between team members to ensure that constructive measures are undertaken. Remember that “Follow-up is everything”. 

  • Compromising Confidentiality

Before implementing the 360 Degree software, the employees should have a clear picture of what’s confidential and what’s isn’t. Not sticking to it can result in failure and the breach of distrust can leave a negative impact on your organization for a long time.

These were some of the common mistakes that companies do unintentionally resulting in the failure of the 360 Degree feedback tool. While you need to avoid these pitfalls to get desired results, I also recommend that you follow these simple yet effective tips to ensure 100% success in implementing the 360 Degree software.

Tips for Successful Implementation of 360 Degree Tool

  • Make sound investment (time & money) in the process
  • Link 360 Degree software with business goals
  • Ensure Upper management buy-in
  • Plan & Communicate wisely
  • Set Realistic Expectations
  • Choose an appropriate vendor
  • Use the review process to influence developmental activities

The knowledge in this blog gives you a full insight into the use, benefits, and pitfalls of the 360 Degree Feedback Software. 

You are all set to kick-start your new 360-journey right away!

Much like science where every theory needs to be validated with suitable examples and illustrations, the same is applicable for HR world. Much has been said about how successful implementations of 360 Degree feedback software tools have allowed businesses to grow, boost employee satisfaction and uncover potential areas of development. To validate all these, given below are the successful implementation of this genuine feedback tool worldwide. Take a look here:

Most Popular 360 Feedback Tool in the U.S.A 

COMPANY

URL

CONTACT

Impraise

https://www.impraise.com/

(917) 877-0998

Trakstar

https://www.trakstar.com/

1 (877) 489-5651

CustomInsight

http://www.custominsight.com/

+1 (650) 577-9604

GroSum

https://www.grosum.com/i/

+91-9830092829

Saba Software

https://www.saba.com/

+1 (877) 722-2101

Most Popular 360 Degree Feedback Tool in Canada 

COMPANY

URL

CONTACT

Primalogik

https://primalogik.com/360/#!home

+1 514-360-1918

7Geese

https://7geese.com

+1.800.280.2967

GroSum

https://www.grosum.com/i/

+91-9830092829

Explorance

https://explorance.com

+1 514-938-2111

Grapevine Evaluations

http://grapevineevaluations.com/

1-888-668-6162

Most Popular 360 Degree Feedback Tool in the UK 

COMPANY

URL

CONTACT

ETS

https://www.etsplc.com

+44 (0) 1932 222700

Spidergap

https://www.spidergap.com

+44 20 3290 5432

GroSum

https://www.grosum.com/i/

+91-9830092829

PeopleGoal

https://www.peoplegoal.com

Assess Team

https://www.assessteam.com

+44 1223 655410

Most Popular 360 Feedback Tool in India

COMPANY

URL

CONTACT

GroSum

https://www.grosum.com/i/

+91-9830092829

Synergita

https://www.synergita.com

+91-95437 63279

Ascendus Technologies

http://www.ascendus.com

+91-80 2342 8720

Baryons

http://www.baryonssoftsolutions.com

+91-80 4175 9582

Keka

https://www.keka.com

+91 40 4137 1111

Most Popular 360 Feedback Tool in Australia

COMPANY

URL

CONTACT

PeopleStreme

https://www.peoplestreme.com

+1-300-889-548

Cognology

https://www.cognology.com.au

+61 3 9001 0848

Practice Five

https://www.practicefive.com

+617 3123 5577

GroSum

https://www.grosum.com/i/

+91-9830092829

Culture Amp

https://www.cultureamp.com

+61 3 8657 4115

All Said and Done 

This blog gives you a detailed info about the 360 Degree Feedback tool. You must have understood why organizations need goal setting, the benefits for the same and the features you should take into account while selecting a 360 Degree Feedback software for your organization. The blog also highlights the reason why some organizations fail to successfully implement the 360 Degree Feedback software. Take a quick overview of what you read so far:

  • 360 Degree Feedback tool is a review process to rate employees performance by both internal and external sources.
  • 360 Degree Feedback software is a positive tool that is beneficial for the employee as well as the organization.
  • 360 Degrees Feedback tool is not the same as Performance Review.
  • Choosing a right 360 Degree Feedback software is critical for its successful implementation.
  • 360 Degree Feedback software aids organizational growth.
  • Select 360 Degree Feedback software that can be customized to suit your organization’s requirements.
  • Implementing 360 Degree Feedback software in your company is a strategic decision.
  • 360 Degree Feedback software must never replace the real conversation in any workspace.
  • Know about Popular 360 Degree Feedback providers in the U.S.A, Canada, UK, India,  and Australia.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the different aspects of the 360 Degree Feedback Software. Did you find any useful information on the blog? Do let us know in the comments section.

360 degree feedback demo grosum


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