The 4 steps PI is using to implement 360 reviews within the organization
As the spring season arrives, we are all reminded of spring cleaning. Along with clearing the clutter from our desks, it is also a good time to tidy up your employee review process. Most employee reviews have occurred between November and January, so the downtime during spring presents a good opportunity to look back and evaluate that process.
No one knows this better than Jackie Dube, VP of People Operations at The Predictive Index (PI). Jackie spoke with me about her personal experience with 360-degree feedback and how PI is using it for the professional development of their employees. Jackie first started using 360-degree feedback with a free, online form builder that took her about 10 hours per project just to configure.
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As her review needs developed, her company outgrew the free tool and she was forced to re-evaluate her review process and software needs. Jackie and her team turned to EchoSpan to create and run their 360 review process more professionally last year. During our conversation, Jackie told me moving away from the online form and to a professional 360 feedback tool was simple because the EchoSpan tool allowed her to easily “make it feel like it was made specifically for our company.” Through her ongoing efforts to improve her review process for PI, Jackie has developed a framework for continual improvement in their process.
1. Assess your current review process
A first important step in improving your review process is to take a look at what you’re doing currently. When was the last time you evaluated how effective and efficient your review process is? How easy is it for employees to complete their reviews? How many hours does it take for you to get those reviews setup and send out final reports? Do managers debrief the results with their employees and create a development plan? Jackie explained “currently takes about three weeks to get through our entire process” from setup to reviewing results.
Whether you are using a brand new online platform or still using pencil and paper, the review process can always be tailored to better fit your company’s needs. Take a look at your entire process. Is there a workflow step you could automate to save yourself time? Are there new competencies you can use to better evaluate new employees or those in management positions?
2. Prioritize your company’s needs
Now that you’ve found a handful of areas of your current review process that could be improved, work to prioritize your needs based upon the areas that are most vital for your organization. Perhaps a large number of employees were dissatisfied with the way the final report displayed results. Do reports clearly show areas of strength for employees? Could it be easier to show employees where exactly to focus on areas of improvement? Was setting up the review process easy and flexible for your HR team?
According to Jackie, PI “is used to giving feedback to each other, so there is a lot of value in the comment section of each report.” PI also highly values company culture, so it was important for them to have a customizable tool where they were “able to add [their] own cultural factors in the review.” Be sure that these areas of importance stand out in your reports. Another important factor for Jackie in choosing a vendor was the ability to tailor things such as how many blind spots and hidden strengths appear on a report, so as to not overwhelm an employee who has many of them.
3. Start with a small group to test the new process
Once you have assessed your current process, prioritized your company’s needs, and implemented your changes, you are ready to test your newly improved process. Starting out by testing a small group will allow you to fine tune steps before rolling out the process to the rest of your employees. It also gives people a chance to offer honest feedback about their review experience. Jackie explained that they started the review process with [PI] CEO Mike Zani, who shared his feedback with everyone. Mike told his people that “everyone has something to develop,” which helped people understand that the 360-degree review process could be beneficial for them too.
4. Continually adjust your approach
The most important of all of these steps is to consistently update your strategy for your employee reviews. “My team is constantly working on whittling down items and competencies,” Jackie told me, in order to ensure that PI’s content is relevant. For your first few rounds of reviews, managers and employees may do an informal debriefing of the report, but as your process gains efficiency you could explore using a built-in development planner to your review process.
The employee review process does not have to be painful. Methodically evaluating your company’s needs and employing a tool that is autonomous and flexible is essential to simplifying the process. This also makes it much easier to implement gradual changes in your process as Jackie does with her team. Also, keep in mind that completely overhauling your review process all at once can be burdensome for you and your employees, but taking it one step at a time should ease the stress. Testing with a group of influencers, soliciting feedback about the process from your employees, and continuing to refine your approach are critical in ensuring a successful review process for your company.