Frequently Asked Questions
What is 360 Feedback?
Also known as multi-rater feedback, 360 feedback involves collecting perceptions
about a person's behavior from those around them. The feedback can come from the
person's manager, peers, direct reports, and even external stakeholders such as
customers, suppliers and board members. The feedback can then be used as the starting
point for action planning, or to plan training and set development goals.
What are the benefits of 360 feedback?
A 360 program provides benefits for both the individual and the organization. The
broad scope and fairness of the feedback provides an accurate and well-rounded view
of how others perceive an individual's efforts. Getting a clear picture of performance
helps identify weaknesses that need to be improved as well as strengths that can be
leveraged. Knowing the skills that need improvement is the first step toward creating
a plan of development for the short and long term.
In an organizational setting, 360 feedback can renew focus on goals and objectives,
encourage constructive feedback, and clarify the roles of managers, leaders and individual
contributors within the organization. This facilitates an environment that encourages
self-development, which leads to job satisfaction, minimizing turnover and the costs
associated with replacing employees.
How do I choose a 360 vendor?
Choosing a 360 vendor should be a deliberate and well researched step. Today many 360
companies are popping up overnight and creating 360 surveys with little experience in the
field. Such companies do not offer sound products and services resulting in poor ROI by
your organization and a bad impression of 360 Feedback. This is unfortunate because 360's
were created to generate positive change within an organization by focusing on confidential
career development of its leadership talent.
To help you avoid choosing an inadequate vendor we have put together the below criteria.
Whether you are looking at TBC or another 360 vendor the below criteria will ensure that
you and your organization will have a successful 360 program.
- Confidential development
An organization should make sure that it is doing 360 reviews for the right reasons. It
should be used for developmental and not appraisal purposes. The two purposes are incompatible.
- All questions are not alike
Survey questions should be clearly focused and specific around a particular set of skills,
competencies, or behaviors. Competencies can be improved through proper training and coaching;
personality attributes can be changed only through long-term counseling.
Rater anonymity is key to the success of a 360-degree feedback program. Ensure you are
choosing an instrument that guarantees confidentiality (including the open-ended comments).
Anonymity will lead to more honest and open feedback from the raters.
- Reliable and valid
Without a doubt, the 360 instrument needs to be tested for reliability and validity. This
means the 360 should measure what it proposes to measure, consistently and accurately. A
well researched instrument will also be normed against a statistically valid database.
- Don't choose on cost alone
Low-cost is a false economy when purchasing a 360-feedback instrument. It takes years to
develop a good one. There are many instant "experts" on 360-feedback that generate customs
questionnaires overnight. View 360 as an investment in the organization's future performance.
- Training and development
Make sure that follow-up training programs accompany the 360 program. This can be done
through one-on-one coaching, or group facilitation. 360-degree feedback without training
is seldom, if ever, successful. A good training program will guarantee a strong return
Don't limit yourself to an instrument created for a one-time use. As useful as it is to
take a 360 the first time, it's the 2nd and 3rd times when one can also measure progress.
Choose a 360 program that allows you to compare scores over time, knowing that continuous
improvement requires constant measurement.
What are centiles?
Also known as percentiles, centiles are a method of statistical measurement that
refers to the percentage of people whose score falls at or below a certain value.
A centile tells you what percent of the norm population is estimated to score at or
below a given value. In the feedback report, raw scores are converted to a percentile
scale. At the 30th centile, for example, it is estimated that 30% of the norm group
would score at or below the raw score.
What are norms?
Rather than relying completely upon raw scores when analyzing feedback, a combination
of norms and centiles is used. Norms can be thought of as performance benchmarks to
help interpret results of the feedback more effectively. Viewing the feedback in the
context of a larger population of managers is essential for a full understanding of
What is the Task Cycle®?
The Task Cycle® theory is the architecture for all Clark Wilson surveys. It is a validated
model of successful management and leadership practices for each individualized role.
Its intuitive logic about where to find leverage as a leader provides an easy transition
from feedback to performance improvement. See more on the Task Cycle® >>
What role does coaching or follow-up training play in the 360 process?
Coaching or follow-up training is an essential part of any feedback program. 360
feedback without one-on-one coaching or group facilitation is seldom, if ever, successful.
A good training program will guarantee a strong return on investment. See more on coaching >>
What is the purpose of having role specific surveys?
Survey questions should be clearly focused and specific around a particular set of
skills, competencies or behaviors. Surveys designed for a specific role in an organization
will effectively measure competencies relevant to the role.
What is 720® degree feedback?
720 Feedback® provides a comparison of a participant's results over a period of time,
often 12-18 months. This comparison informs participants of their developmental progress
and gives them an opportunity to update and change their action plan. Tracking progress
over time has been a "best practice" common to high-performing leaders.
How are surveys validated?
Validation of an instrument means that individuals and organizations can make reliable
strategic decisions, based on survey results, about where to focus their development
In order for an instrument to be valid it needs to be compared to another measure. In
most cases the other measure is internal performance within the organization such as
rate of promotion, bonus as related to salary, etc. If there is consistent high correlation
between an assessment measure and the performance measures internally then the instrument
Why is confidentiality and anonymity so important in 360 feedback?
Rater anonymity is a key part of a successful 360 feedback program. An instrument that
guarantees that answers will remain confidential will lead to more honest and open feedback
What is an action plan?
An action plan, also known as a development plan, is a plan for developing or improving skills that have been identified
as being an area of improvement. Action planning involves identifying areas for improvement,
defining indicators for success and necessary resources, and setting out actions and a
timeframe to meet the improvement goal(s).
What is a group report? How it is useful?
Group reports, also known as aggregate reports, present a "macro" view and analysis of
performance across a group of feedback participants. Group reports compile data from a
set of people, identifying the strengths and development opportunities of the group as a
whole, as well as tracking improvements from the previous 360 assessment process. Organizations
often use this data to aid in creating a training needs analysis for the group.
Is creating a custom 360 survey difficult?
We can easily adapt our instruments to meet your organization's unique needs. If you wish to
modify an existing Clark Wilson Task Cycle® survey, our development team will work with you
to design a custom survey that meets your expectations, while preserving the reliability of