360 degree surveys are used by most HFL clients to track leadership performance of leadership cohorts. The surveys get a rounded view using multiple raters – the manager, the managers’ manager, peers, reports, and sometimes external stakeholders such as customers or suppliers – are all asked to complete a 15 to 20 minute survey. The results are compiled, and combined with free text additional comments, are presented back to the principal.
The advantages of executing 360 degree surveys are:
• A more comprehensive view of current performance and development opportunities - provides a basis for identifying and discussing different expectations across respondent groups;
• More likely to cause behavioural change - when faced with the evidence, most people resolve to make changes to the way they work;
• Increases understanding of performance expectations - a common reason why people do not perform in the most effective way, is that either they don't know what to do to be more effective, or they fail to appreciate the affect of their behaviour on others;
• Powerful lead into self-directed learning and development - development happens that is based on real need, rather than only an individual's self-perception;
• Provides organisation-wide insights - offers a range of cross-group or organisation wide insights to understand individual and group strengths and development needs;
• Brings a competency framework to life - competencies are made directly relevant to the person's day-to-day work.
This last point is important, because a well designed 360 degree survey helps not only the principal (the person being assessed), but also exposes the other raters to the leadership behaviours that are expected to be consistently displayed by leaders in the organisation. Most 360 surveys are comprised of questions that closely correlate to a success profile or leadership competency framework. Usually, the HFL team ether builds the 360 survey from an existing framework, or we build a leadership capability framework for the client. A variety of globally benchmarked 360 degree surveys are also available to clients, and HFL advocates their use in particular situations, particularly where break through insights are required for senior executives. HFL’s expanded team are accredited in these external surveys.
These surveys can also be executed as 180 degree surveys, where the rater group is more limited and only comprised of the principal’s manager, and the principal’s reports.
HFL has had 20 years experience of building and executing 360 and 180 degree surveys for our clients. In that time we have developed a polished service, that includes many small details that significantly affect the positive outcome – i.e., a principal embracing the results and wishing to improve their leadership performance – of such surveys.
HFL’s 360 survey process includes getting the length of the survey just right, developing a relevant and balanced rater group, executing a comprehensive and carefully messaged communication plan, providing professional feedback (usually via an experienced coach from HFL’s network), and ensuring development follow up is documented and executed. HFL also provides support for the managers of the executives being surveyed.
HFL often suggests, when 360 degree surveys are executed as a starting point for coaching assignments or leadership development programs, that they are combined with cognitive tests and a personality profile. This extra data further enhances the overall view a principal gets of how they leadership style shows up in the organisation, and what aspects of learning style and personality contribute to their current settings.
Recently, HFL has developed interview-based 360 degree surveys for senior leaders or teams, which provide even richer data, feedback, and a stronger base for development planning, and succession planning.
HFL also has a standardised 360 degree survey for front line leaders (FASTLEAD 360), built to be a very inexpensive addition to our FASTLEAD program.