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Why is the 360° assessment still feared?

eye 21 Published on 25 Jan. 2023
Why
tag #HR advice

Those who have tried it swear by it, while others are still hesitant to try it. The 360° assessment tool that has revolutionised the evaluation landscape, still raises fears among participants and professionals alike.

Of course, it is not a classic tool, but that is its strength. Even today, no tool is better than the 360° assessment for its ability to objectively identify an individual's current and potential skills. And that's not all; it can ingrain the desire to improve their skills within an individual..

The 360° assessment is loaded with benefits for the employee and is rich in spin-offs for companies. Those who have adopted it see that is it beneficial, while others fear it. Why do they fear it? Let's look at the most commonly held fears, and solutions to dispel them. 

1. For participants: fear of the unknown

Two main fears are often noted among participants who have to "live" through a 360° process. 

The first fear is not knowing what the evaluation will reveal or of them not having any strengths within their feedback. This reaction is normal and human. Everyone wants to be recognised and valued for what they are. If employees have doubts about the confidentiality of the appraisal, or if they feel threatened by and unsure of how the results will be used, it can naturally lead to anxiety and mistrust.

The solution? Before the assessment phase, it is essential to clearly communicate how the results will be used and taken into account for the employees' professional development. Then, help them understand the competency framework. The HR or the manager involved must reassure each employee that these are cross-cutting competencies which can be improved and that they are defined in very rewarding language.

2. Fear of being criticised by those around you

It may seem anxiety-provoking to receive comments on one's skills and behaviour. Obviously, the 360° Feedback is a mode of evaluation that is strong in emotion and puts into perspective the self-centred understanding that we usually have of ourselves. Surprises, sometimes pleasant and sometimes destabilising, can occur at the feedback stage.

The solution? On one hand, choose assessors from various backgrounds to get a multi-faceted view of the individual’s skills. This variety of experiences will provide favourable and constructive comments, which will help the individual question themselves to improve. On the other hand, it is suggested to choose a qualified coach or facilitator to conduct the presentation. This professional should adopt a professional and benevolent posture to accompany the participant, enabling them to understand the various perspectives. The objective is always to remain positive in order to make the most of the information in the 360° report.

Le 360°, un outil agile pour le développement des compétences

3. For organisations: a process that can seem complex and costly

The first concern raised by companies or career management agencies is that the set-up of the process is sometimes seen as long, expensive and complex.  
Indeed, at one time, the process requires time, particularly to choose and define the competencies measured or to go through the questionnaires and summarise them. 

The solution? Test publishers now offer turnkey evaluation solutions, with a choice of setting benchmarks, sending questionnaires in a few clicks and receiving an automated report that organisations can use immediately.

4. The other fear concerns feedback: how to return and exploit the results accurately.

Many companies feel uncomfortable giving feedback to the individual being reviewed, especially when there is a strong emotional charge. Those who have experienced a 360° Feedback tool can testify that the feedback stage is generally rich in emotion and requires quality support in order to make this evaluation a springboard to bring out the best in oneself.

The solution? One solution is to set up regular follow-up meetings with employees to discuss their progress and professional development needs. It may be wise to call in an external professional for this whole phase of feedback and exploitation of the results. They are qualified to conduct such an interview and can help the individual take ownership of their results to become aware of their strengths and areas for improvement. Moreover, the candidate will be likely to open up to someone from outside the company, without fear of information being leaked.

Conclusion

These four fears are the most common ones reported by employees and companies. Perhaps you may have other fears that make you hesitant about the usefulness or performance of the tool as well. Several psychometric test publishers are proposing unique offers that enable you to experience the benefits of the 360° Feedback tool in a meaningful manner. So, we encourage you to get rid of the fears associated with this tool by trying it out and experiencing it yourself. 

Helen Simard

Consultant psychologist

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