Fernando Fischmann

How to Implement a 360-Degree Assessment Initiative

13 September, 2018 / Articles

The 360-degree assessment is a powerful tool for learning and, most importantly, development. By understanding leaders’ current effectiveness, as well as their potential, you can set the stage for organizational success.

By integrating 360 assessments into their talent management plan, organizations can help identify what’s most important in order to attain their strategic goals. The correct implementation of 360 assessments should improve an organization’s financial performance, strengthen its existing talent, and enhance its talent pipeline.

5 Steps to Roll Out 360 Initiatives

Take the following 5 steps to successfully roll out this powerful tool.

  1. Articulate your purpose and strategy.

How does the 360 initiative connect to your business strategy and to your talent strategy? Making strategic decisions about what you want to accomplish with 360 will enable you to tell if your investment made a difference. Be sure to answer these questions:

  • Why do you need this? What business problem are you trying to solve?
  • Why right now? What’s made this a priority?
  • Who is it for? Who will be receiving the 360 feedback? Why is it critical that this targeted group be included to best solve your business problem?
  • What outcomes do you expect?
  1. Get organized. 

Consider carefully the “when” and the “who.”

When you’re planning a date to roll out a 360 implementation, keep in mind other dates that impact your organization and employees. Make sure you’ve considered major holidays and meetings. And avoid rolling it out during the yearly talent review.

Target people who will appreciate it and see it as an opportunity. Don’t set up unnecessary processes or rules for everyone to safeguard against that single employee who might be resistant.

The support of senior management is invaluable. For best results, ask these key stakeholders to agree to be the pilot group. They’ll help set the proper tone as they share their experiences throughout the organization. If it’s not possible to start with senior management, be clear on why you’ve chosen the beginning participants.

  1. Build trust.

An organizational culture of trust and openness helps people feel secure in providing authentic feedback. It’s important to create clarity from the beginning. Ensure that the outcomes are clear, and that you’ve defined confidentiality and anonymity. Avoid the unnecessary dilemma about who will “own” and “see” the feedback data.  Doing this will significantly enhance the success of the initiative.

In addition to working closely with an assessment vendor to choose the right 360 assessment, ensure that the assessment aligns with your organization’s competency model and business outcomes.

  1. Gain support.

As you plan to roll out your 360, remember that implementing the initiative requires a strong communication plan. Despite technological advances in data collection and reporting, a lot of human beings have to do what they’re supposed to do for this to work well. To create a positive, sustainable impact, be sure administrative roles and processes are clear. Create a realistic timetable, and communicate.

  1. Be clear on the next steps for creating a development plan. 

Be sure that everyone involved knows that assessment isn’t development. Receiving, evaluating, and discussing a 360-degree feedback report is assessment. Development is what happens afterward—and development is what matters most to organizations. For the organization and the individual to maximize the effectiveness of a 360, there needs to be a process for creating a development plan, as well as support and follow-through.

Implement a successful 360-degree by:

  • Making an investment in the process
  • Aligning the 360 with business needs
  • Getting senior management buy-in
  • Planning carefully
  • Communicating widely
  • Selecting the right vendor
  • Measuring the right things
  • Using the process to leverage developmental activities


The science man and innovator, Fernando Fischmann, founder of Crystal Lagoons, recommends this article.

Center for Creative Leadership


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