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Let’s Get Real About 360 Feedback


Jenny Smatt, MSc.

Helping you understand how to accelerate your career growth by gaining good quality feedback. It’s the key difference between high-performing individuals and those who are just “ok.”

There is a great debate taking place within organizations as it relates to performance and development: can obtaining feedback help or hinder? At Ontru, we believe there is no better way to accelerate your career growth than gaining good quality feedback. It’s the key difference between high-performing individuals and those who are just “ok.”

Obtaining feedback is an essential part of professional growth and development and 360 degree tools and assessments can be quite useful. Constructive information about what you’re doing well, thoughts on what you might want to focus on and just overall impressions can be a valuable element to “upping your game”.

Here are a few key elements to keep in mind when proposing 360 degree feedback:

Define the Intention

360 degree feedback works best when both the participant and the stakeholders in the process

understand the drivers behind the undertaking and the purpose of the exercise.

Tone and Structure

The tone should be set from the person who is initiating the process, underscoring that the exercise is for development purposes and that the highest levels of professionalism should be applied. In addition, the structure of the assessment should be competency and behavioural-based, leaving no room for subjective or inappropriate commentary that can be harmful to the organizational culture or relationships.

Process Integrity

“How” the assessment gets completed is critical. Done poorly, the quality and integrity of the feedback can be compromised. It is important to select participants who have working knowledge and can support their views with relevant examples to enhance learning. In addition, giving thought to who delivers the feedback is important. We recommend an objective, trained coach or external resource who has been training in the process and has expert knowledge in delivering feedback effectively.

Positive not Punitive

Ultimately, the process of gathering and integrating feedback should be frequent and non-threatening . There are several ways that this can be achieved;

  • Avoid a direct link to compensation

  • Use it as an input to development planning that lives outside of the appraisal process

  • Use a narrative rating scale instead of numbers

Performance Integration

Extracting the themes from the feedback can be useful to creating measurable performance goals

to support the performance appraisal process. An example of a goal could be: “To increase the

frequency of communication to (group) by x% by (timeframe)."

Pinch of Salt

Finally, take the feedback with a pinch of salt. Gather themes and trends and remember that the views of others are for you to determine whether or not you integrate or dismiss. Embrace the

humanness of the process and accept that most people are cheerleaders and only want to see you


Ontru offers several 360 degree feedback tools and supporting coaching services at varying price points. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss which may be most appropriate for you or your organization.

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