Ten mistakes that cause a 360-degree feedback program to fail

Ineffective Assessment Items

If you are not asking the right questions, how can you expect to get good data? You need to consider organizational expectations as well as job-specific competencies. Moreover, your assessment items need to be well written to gather the data you are looking for. Poorly written items will yield useless data. Garbage in – garbage out…

Lack of Alignment with the Organization’s Vision, Mission, and Strategy

If the things you are measuring are not important to the organization’s vision, mission, and strategy, then employees will not be developing competencies that are aligned with the direction of the organization.

Lack of Senior-Level Support

If the leaders of your organization do not vocally support and encourage participation in the feedback program and express their belief in the benefits it will provide, your 360 initiative will never get off the ground.

Lack of Communication

You MUST communicate with both the people receiving feedback and the people getting feedback. If you do not tell them what, why, how, and when, they will not be comfortable with the program. You must get buy-in at all levels of your organization to make it work.

Fear / Lack of Trust

If participants are afraid to get feedback or if respondents are afraid to provide feedback, you will be fighting an up-hill battle. Communication helps reduce fear. One of the most effective ways to reduce anxiety is to use a neutral third party to administer your feedback program.

Poor Planning

If your feedback program is not well thought out, it will not run smoothly. There are many logistical issues to consider before launching a feedback program. If your employees perceive that the program is not well planned, your credibility will be undermined.

Inappropriate Delivery of Feedback

The idea of a feedback program is to help employees perform better. Negative feedback can be demoralizing and counterproductive. If feedback is not provided in an appropriate manner, your program could backfire. We recommend using professional, neutral coaches to deliver feedback.

No Development Plan

So what if you run a smooth 360 program? If you fail to do anything with the data, you have wasted your time as well as the time of both participants and respondents. Every person who receives feedback needs to create some developmental goals based on the feedback he or she received – and remember – those goals need to be both measurable and achievable.

No Accountability

Developmental goals are meaningless unless people are held accountable for achieving them. Make sure your employees and their managers understand how to create S.M.A.R.T. goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

No Follow-Up

How will you know if your program has been a success if you do not follow up? How will participants know if they are improving without follow-up feedback? Plan to solicit additional feedback six to twelve months after the initial data are collected.


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 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 the results.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *