Why use online 360-degree feedback tools?

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Organisations across the globe frequently use 360-degree feedback processes to provide employees with an opportunity to gather information from a variety of internal and external stakeholders on their work-related behaviour. While some organisations restrict the use of 360-degree feedback to personal development purposes, others are employing the practice to support performance evaluation processes and to inform decisions relating to hiring, promotion and remuneration of employees.

Thornhill Associates has been partnering for more than a decade with organisations to facilitate an online 360-degree feedback process. Some of the benefits that our partner organisations have realised include assisting business leaders in becoming more effective in achieving organisational goals and equipping leaders at all levels with insight into what they are doing well and what they still need to do to improve their effectiveness in both the social and technical aspects of work.

Research in the field of psychology has shown that we do not fully understand the impact that we have on others. While a significant aspect of most jobs requires employees to be competent in dealing with technical tasks relating to the work, interpersonal effectiveness is equally significant and determines how successful we will be in communicating, collaborating, inspiring and holding others accountable for task execution.

Because we really don’t know what we don’t know, 360’s have the potential to provide us with insight into our interpersonal impact and consequently the effectiveness of our leadership behaviour. The Thornhill 360-degree feedback system allows people to gather information about themselves online, through a self-questionnaire and a questionnaire sent to raters which is managed both anonymously and professionally.

Typically, 360-degree feedback involves a self-assessment in addition to assessment by at least three other raters, who may be direct reports, same-level peers, line managers and external stakeholders. The participant is rated on the impact of their behaviour which provides an indication of how others experience them. “An advantage of the multi-source approach is that it directly acknowledges differences across sources in the opportunity to observe various aspects of an individual’s performance” (Day, 2001).

The different categories of raters help the participant in contextualising the ratings and feedback received and serves to enhance the reliability of this feedback. Based on insights gained from the feedback, the participant can plan what actions/changed behaviours are required so as to be more effective and fulfilled at work.

The Thornhill process is conducted entirely online, enabling a quick and convenient feedback process. It ensures anonymity which encourages more honest and constructive feedback is received. It is a cost-effective solution, saving both money and time.

What about the critics that claim that 360-degree feedback processes will do more harm than good? It is true that 360-degree feedback processes could have the potential to cause a lot of harm when they are ineffectively and unprofessionally managed. This is why Thornhill Associates not only takes full responsibility for the administrative processes required for accurate confidential 360’s, but partners with clients to provide the necessary pre-briefing and debriefing sessions as well as optional team and individual coaching based on participant profiles.

In addition to online 360-degree feedback solutions for groups or individuals, Thornhill also provides online, team feedback reviews, online surveys, online selection/admission screenings, online integration into other systems and online customised questionnaires and reports.

For more information on online 360-degree feedback and additional online services, please contact us: admin@thornhill.co.za

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