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Choosing the Right 360-Degree Feedback Tool - Tips & Tricks

Learning and Development | 10 Min Read

How to Choose the Right 360-Degree Feedback Tool: A Detailed Guide

Introduction

A 360-degree feedback tool is a revolutionary method of offering consistent feedback, support and growth opportunities to employees. Also known as the 360-degree review, this system is a holistic upgrade from conventional L&D approaches and annual performance analyses in organizations.

This guide details the parameters that provide an edge to the 360-degree feedback system compared to the rest. It outlines the benefits of using a 360-degree feedback tool and explains everything you need to know about choosing it to gather reliable information about your employees’ behaviors and performance.

 


What Is a 360 Feedback Tool? Basics and Benefits

A multi-rater or 360-degree feedback tool is an instrument that enables organizations to collect, quantify and report coworkers’ observations about an individual in a shared workplace. The data allows a holistic analysis of behaviors, perceptions, performance and several other criteria relevant to the employer, helping formulate effective strategies on:

 

An efficient 360 degree feedback tool helps formulate effective strategies in key areas

360-degree feedback mechanism is playing a vital role in organizations through its ability to provide a structured, in-depth information about current performance and what will be required for an individual in the future to be competent enough and relevant strategic developmental plans to be formulated.

360-degree feedback mechanism: a tool for managing employee performance

A 360 feedback tool helps simplify the process of acquiring feedback from multiple sources, including peers, superiors, subordinates and even clients. The process also enables individuals to identify their strengths and weaknesses by gaining multiple perspectives from several sources. Besides, 360 feedback helps:

 

Choosing the right 360 feedback tool will help you enjoy several benefits

 

In the backdrop of an evolving global workforce, you must implement a futuristic evaluation system that helps manage knowledgeable employees better. And an efficient 360-degree feedback system can enable it seamlessly, in an unbiased manner. However, you must consider several factors before choosing a 360-degree feedback tool.

For starters, such a tool must be simple and easy to use for all stakeholders- administrators and employees alike – which is a prerequisite for utilizing all its benefits and potential optimally. We will cover this in detail in the later sections of this blog. First, let us delve into the essentials that make a 360 evaluation tool ideal.

 


Features to Consider in a 360-Degree Feedback System

It is not easy to select a 360-degree feedback tool that suits your organization. You need a solution that integrates seamlessly with your workflow while letting you efficiently manage your performance management process. Therefore, when looking for an ideal 360 assessment tool, the following features should take center stage in your decision-making criteria.

Ease of use

A 360 feedback system should be simple, easy to understand and quick to implement. A 360-degree feedback software is not ideal if it requires significant training, effort and time. The goal is to initiate a smooth and seamless review process without unnecessary complications. Therefore, the system you choose should be:

 

Consider these features when choosing a 360 degree feedback system for your organization

A customizable question bank and competency model

Organizations should assess the degree of customization it offers while choosing a 360 assessment tool. The tool should support easy tweaks tailored to the precise requirements of your review and feedback process. The flexibility of adding to or changing the tool’s preset 360-degree feedback questionnaire, and modifying the competency model, are simple customizations that benefit immensely in measuring specific parameters relevant to a specific group of respondents.

Automation

Automation is one of the most coveted 360 feedback system characteristics. Such a feature is essential to ensuring a seamless experience for all stakeholders- administrators, HR professionals and respondents or employees. Automated reminders, autosaved responses, and automatic nudges to fill any overlooked responses are a few significant highlights to consider when selecting a 360-degree evaluation tool.

Online availability

A proficient 360 review software helps save time with easy online availability. Ensure you choose a system that is:

a.  Hosted online

b.  Adapts to fluctuating bandwidths

The best 360-degree feedback tools are designed to eliminate the hassles concerning installation and intensive learning. With reliable internet connectivity, an efficient web browser and an email ID, administrators and respondents could use the tool without any glitches. Thus, a 360-degree feedback tool that requires massive updates to your system isn’t a good choice.

Email compatibility

Human resources professionals can spend significant time drafting and scheduling appropriate emails for various purposes. Hence, a new 360 feedback review system should not add to the chore. The best 360 feedback tools usually come equipped with several email templates that can be utilized for appropriate scenarios. This feature enhances the efficacy of the process, further simplifying its implementation.

Mobile-friendly interface

A 360-degree feedback system should not be limited to one kind of device. Respondents should be able to fill the survey on the go at their convenience. Hence, you should choose a tool that is mobile-friendly and adapts to multiple devices, such as phones, laptops and tablets.

Actionable reports

The reports generated by 360-degree feedback software should easily translate into employee development plans, which can happen only when they offer rich insights into all relevant aspects, laying the foundation for actionable guidelines. Ideally, a typical 360 feedback report should include data related to skill gaps, highest-and-lowest-rated areas, ratings and potential blind spots, to name a few. The idea is to have a collective understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of every employee, facilitating personalized growth plans.

24x7 support

Candidates may need guidance while filling in 360 feedback surveys, and you may not be available all the time to help them. That is where 24×7 support comes to the rescue. A comprehensive 360-degree feedback survey should be easily accessible through a phone call or email. Employees should be able to send emails or make calls on toll-free numbers whenever they need assistance with the tool. Subject matter experts can help employees overcome the challenges with round-the-clock support.

Affordability

You must choose a 360-degree feedback system that offers maximum value for your money. It does not make sense to invest excessively in a tool that lacks one or more features explained above. Hence, you must assess the various 360 feedback tool providers on the market and compare them across significant parameters. We have consolidated this information in the following section for your understanding.

 


Top 5 360 Assessment Tool Providers in 2021

Finding the right 360-degree feedback system with the appropriate and relevant features can be overwhelming. Therefore, we have curated a list of the best 360 assessment tool providers to help you make an informed choice.

 

Mercer | Mettl

 

Mercer | Mettl is a global leader in talent assessment and offers holistic online assessment tools for corporates and academic institutions. With a team of psychometricians and dedicated experts regularly offering its insights and reviews, the company has maintained a highly refined 360 feedback platform.

Tool: 360 View

Mercer | Mettl’s 360 View is among the best 360 feedback tools and the best 360 leadership assessment tools on the market, known for its employee-friendly interface and consideration for every stakeholder. The platform is extremely smooth and fully customizable to ensure exceptionally high engagement and survey completion rates. The reports’ unique structure also helps identify perception gaps between feedback seekers and their peers. The platform combines the best by incorporating impeccable automation features, flexible templates, seamless setup, personalized development plans and more.

Mercer | Mettl 360View: The Most Employee Friendly Cloud-based 360 Degree Feedback Tool

 

Key features:

  • A seamless and mobile-friendly user interface
  • Research-backed exhaustive competency models
  • Question libraries curated by world-class psychometricians
  • Flexible customizations
  • Email templates
  • Actionable reports with personalized development plans
  • One-click data download and reports distribution
  • Impeccable 24×7 support
  • Automation: Autosave, auto-schedule, auto-reminders and more

 

SurveyMonkey

 

Specializing in survey software, SurveyMonkey believes in empowering local communities using technology. The company creates software for online polls, mobile questionnaires, quizzes, customer experience feedback, web application management and employee engagement.

Tool: Engage

Designed to lend a voice to all employees, SurveyMonkey’s Engage is an employee engagement tool that can be tweaked to match various 360 feedback requirements. SurveyMonkey 360 feedback is easy to set up and offers visibility into high-level engagement metrics, helping build trust within the workforce.

Key features:

  • Pre-built surveys and automated deployments
  • Powerful data analysis tools
  • Actionable insights
  • An open channel for round-the-clock feedback

 

SurveySparrow

 

SurveySparrow specializes in chat surveys. The company’s product portfolio includes NPS software, website chatbots, APIs and 360 assessments.

Tool: 360 Degree Feedback Software

SurveySparrow’s 360-degree feedback tool adheres to the conversational style of chat-like surveys. It lets you evaluate your employees and understand their level of involvement, job satisfaction, rapport with other employees and the current status of relevant skills and knowledge.

Key features:

  • Adapts to various work ecosystems
  • One-click data imports
  • A readily available portal to track employee activities
  • Automation

 

Typeform

 

Typeform is an online form-building platform. The company focuses on creating forms and templates for a gamut of surveys and quizzes worldwide. The easy-to-use platform offers a library of digital media and designs to enhance the appeal of typical forms.

Tool: 360 Degree Feedback Form Template

Typeform’s ready-to-use 360 feedback template is a quick alternative to an elaborate 360-degree feedback software. You can make the template as unique as you want by utilizing the various customizations and design elements on the site.

Key features:

  • Entirely customizable interface
  • Supports multiple templates and integrations
  • Offers several question types, ratings and free-form text

 

Qualtrics

 

Qualtrics Experience Management is a software platform offering solutions in design, operating systems, product, platform security, branding, customer experience and employee experience.

Tool: 360 Degree Feedback and Performance Review Software

The 360 feedback system offered by Qualtrics offers pre-built action plans and insightful reviews to encourage collaboration within teams and outline the specific tasks they need to complete.

Key features:

  • Real-time progress updates
  • Individualized reports
  • Actionable development reviews
  • Automation

 


Factors to Consider Before Choosing a 360-Degree Feedback Tool

You must know what to expect when using the tool before you decide on a 360 feedback platform. This awareness allows you to take an informed approach to the process.

Points to remember:

  • The 360-degree feedback tool is a part of the performance management system and not the system itself. Sometimes people begin over-expecting, and that’s where things can go haywire. 360 evaluation is a facet that needs to be well-integrated into the system and should not be expected to replace the system altogether.
  • It is not about focusing on a person’s shortcomings and negatives. The 360-degree feedback system is about promoting good performance and making improvements wherever needed. Solely focusing on the downsides and disregarding the good aspects of the reviewee’s feedback is a mistake that many companies make in the feedback process. The positives got the employees where they are; this needs to be considered.
  • The 360 evaluation tool does not focus on job-specific skills or technical expertise. It is not a tool to check whether the person is meeting the job requirements.
  • It is not a standard questionnaire that can be used in all companies in the same manner. Each company has different requirements, and the questions need to be custom-crafted according to those requirements.
  • It focuses on subjective areas such as teamwork, attitude, leadership and management. So, the 360 approach is highly recommended if you seek a holistic tool that empowers your employee development plans.
  • The program needs the involvement of all professionals throughout a company’s hierarchy. Hence, it must be ensured that the leadership is actively engaged in the feedback process.

Considering the expectations and principles mentioned above, let us delve into the 3 key factors you need to remember before choosing a 360-degree feedback system.

 

An apt competency model

 

Ideally, you should think about competencies in four dimensions- knowledge areas, functional skills, leadership skills and behaviors. Either some or all these competencies define almost every role in the corporate world. Hence, you must base all your strategies around them.

For a company-wide 360-degree feedback program, you may want to spend some time developing a competency model that incorporates:

a.  Your organization’s leadership model

b.  The company’s core values

c.   Functional and job-specific competencies

d.   The behaviors and performance standards that are expected of all employees

Do read our handbook on 360-degree survey templates for detailed insights into competencies that make a 360-degree feedback system effective.

 

Leadership engagement

 

You should remember that the success of a 360 feedback system largely depends on how it is implemented in an organization. No matter how good your tool, it will not give you the desired results if you do not implement it correctly, which depends on extensive leadership engagement.

For it to be worthwhile, the process has to be implemented in a way that engages leaders, so they are compelled and motivated to become better at their job.

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman
What Makes a 360-Degree Review Successful?. Harvard Business Review

The senior-level professionals in any organization need to communicate with the 360 feedback respondents, encouraging them to share their candid observations. The goal is to have an open dialogue for honest yet anonymous feedback for every individual irrespective of the hierarchy. The purpose of a 360 evaluation serves its maximum potential when leaders also receive their personalized development plans and the context to understand data.

When a leader improves their effectiveness, it doesn’t just benefit them or their direct reports. Other people throughout the organization benefit, too.

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman
What Makes a 360-Degree Review Successful?, Harvard Business Review

The overall approach

 

The ultimate 360 approach needs to be growth and development. Hence, you must choose a tool that has been developed on those lines, considering the two. The purpose of a 360 system is to understand how one professional’s strengths, weaknesses, behavior and performance affect others and team productivity. Utilizing a 360 feedback survey’s information helps:

a.  Raise self-awareness in the workforce.

b.  Realize how improvement at an individual level propels the company toward success.

c.  Build tolerance for constructive feedback in the longer run.

d.  Address specific problem areas and work on solving them in a structured manner.

There is also an increased likelihood of positive change being readily accepted in a company when the feedback exercise’s approach is humane, holistic and future-ready.

 


How Mercer | Mettl Can Help Choose the Right 360 Feedback Tool

Mercer | Mettl can help you connect with a team of subject matter experts known for its authority in the 360 feedback domain. Our rich library of question banks created as per relevant competency frameworks is yet another distinguishable suit. Our powerful utilization of automation technology, the ability to scale and deep analytical rigor set us apart.

 

Mercer | Mettl’s solutions empower you to:

 

  • Identify vital competencies required to succeed in critical roles and nominate candidates.
  • Assess candidate readiness on critical competencies using valid and reliable tools such as psychometric and aptitude assessments, assessment and development centers, etc.
  • Plan customized reports to shortlist suitable candidates for advanced roles.
  • Act for the growth of selected candidates.

 

Why 360 View

 

Mercer Mettl’s 360 View is designed for all stakeholders’ convenience. On the one hand, employers, administrators and HR professionals benefit from its easy setup and insightful features.

Conversely, the mobile technology and autosave functions enable employees, i.e., the survey respondents, to engage with the process and complete the feedback whenever or wherever it suits them.

Learn how 360 View makes life easier for all stakeholders:

A seamless experience for administrators and employees

Choosing Mercer | Mettl’s 360 View as your 360-degree feedback system provides you with:

  • Exhaustive competency frameworks customized to each job level and role.
  • A team of subject matter experts who can choose from existing comprehensive question banks or customize them to your organizational needs.
  • A hassle-free and intuitive platform which requires no training.
  • Analytical dashboards to track the project’s success.
  • Bulk upload of employee details.
  • Pre-built email templates to expedite survey completion.
  • Auto-scheduling of ad-hoc reminders.
  • One-click data download and report distribution.
  • Mobile-friendly interface to fill out the survey anytime, anywhere.
  • Autosave option to ensure no data loss.
  • A consolidated email with all the required information to fill the survey.
  • Reports with actionable insights and a personal development plan.

Customer Success Stories with Max Life Insurance for 360View [Client Testimonial]

 

 

Learn more about 360 View: The most employee-friendly 360 feedback tool

 


Conclusion

A 360-degree feedback system is a digital platform that simplifies acquiring 360-degree feedback. However, with a plethora of 360 tools available on the market, organizations must be mindful of the key features and factors that lend greater efficacy to one tool compared to the others. Let us know how this guide helped you choose a 360-degree evaluation tool and how you implemented 360 feedback in your organization.

 


FAQs

Does 360-degree feedback work?

What is a 360 assessment tool?

How do you conduct a 360-degree assessment?

Originally published June 24 2018, Updated August 3 2021

D'ipanjenah Ali

Written by

D’ipanjenah is a writer and marketing professional associated with Mercer Mettl since 2020. Her working style thrives on a balanced approach towards standard insights and novel trends. She utilizes creative content and digital strategies to help brands start important conversations. When not reading/writing, she enjoys art and parents a calico.

About This Topic

360 degree feedback is a method of collecting anonymous feedback about an employee from multiple sources - manager, peers, subordinates - for appraisals and organizational planning. 360 degree feedback empowers organizations to make better people decisions.

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