You’ve launched a 360 degree assessment – congratulations! Now you just need to deliver the 360 degree feedback. Easy enough, right? Delivering 360 degree feedback, in fact, is easy. Delivering it effectively – that’s a different story. Indeed, delivering 360 degree feedback can get difficult and messy. But when done right, 360 degree feedback provides a course for personal and organizational development.

So consider these tips for delivering 360 degree feedback:

  • Start at the starting line, not the finish line. If you come out of the gate by just “getting to the point,” you don’t allow the recipient time to become comfortable with the 360 degree feedback process. Start by sharing the group averages. This helps recipients feel less threatened (which reduces defensiveness) and more comfortable about the 360 degree feedback. Then work through the recipient’s specific results.
  • Join the S.W.O.T. team. S.W.O.T. analysis is a great structure for delivering 360 degree feedback.
    • Strengths – Acknowledge and celebrate the areas where the recipient received positive 360 degree feedback.
    • Weaknesses – These are challenge areas that surfaced in the 360 degree feedback. Identify the lowest scored items and uncover the root cause(s). This is a good place to reflect on the comments shared by the raters, or discuss situations or projects that have revealed these weaknesses.
    • Opportunities – Look for themes to make their opportunities more targeted so they can use what they learned from their 360 degree feedback.
    • Threats – Identify any barriers and options for overcoming them. Recipients will have gaps between their current and ideal states. Your role is to help them see these and discover ways to move forward.
  • Make a plan, live the plan. One big pitfall for assessments is when 360 degree feedback is swiftly forgotten. A development plan provides an avenue for the 360 degree feedback to escape the junk drawer, but only if you provide follow-up guidance on the 360 degree feedback. Identify the purpose for the action plan by pulling out themes within their challenge areas. Then draft goals for improving in those areas. And stay in touch, offering accountability as they execute against their plan.
  • Add style to 360 degree feedback substance. How you say things matters. When giving 360 degree feedback, display courtesy, respect and compassion, and avoid judgments. Recipients are more receptive to 360 degree feedback if it is delivered in a positive way. Also, nudge the recipient toward acceptance. When the 360 degree feedback reveals blind spots, recipients can act defensively. Don’t let participants off the hook, but avoid preaching to them. Ask questions that lead them to realize they exhibit the negative behaviors. When they reach conclusions on their own, they’re more likely to accept the truth.
  • Time the timing. 360 degree feedback loses its power if it’s not delivered in a timely fashion. So communicate 360 degree feedback as soon as possible. This gives the assessment ongoing organizational presence and allows for quick implementation of development plans. Also, choose a good day of the week and a good time of day to deliver 360 degree feedback. Your company’s culture can determine the best time to give 360 degree feedback. If employees usually are in meetings in the mornings, that’s probably not a good time. If your culture supports “relaxed” Fridays, that’s also probably not the best time, since most people will be more focused on fun than on 360 degree feedback conversations.

These tips should help you successfully deliver the 360 degree feedback for your next assessment. As you look toward the future, envisioning the spectacular results of your next 360 degree assessment, visit 36 Dollar 360 to discover the industry’s most affordable 360 degree assessment tool.