So, you've started to see the merits of 360 degree training, and your organization is now embarking upon a path of using this training method.
You understand its benefits and are beginning to enjoy them in your company.
However one of the benefits that’s not often considered is that 360 degree training can be instrumental in aligning the performance goals and values of your employees with those of your organization.
How does 360 degree training do this?
First, let’s take a quick look at 360 degree training and what it does before delving into how it aligns goals and values within an organization.
What is 360 degree training?
360 degree training is the process of using multiple stakeholders to provide broader, higher quality feedback than what is offered by just one source. The traditional model of employee evaluation is for feedback to come from the top down as the supervisor or manager gives feedback to subordinates, without the feedback ever flowing in any other direction. This yields a limited and possibly biased view. In order to have a broader, more thorough perspective, you must incorporate feedback from all sources.
With 360 degree training, garnering feedback from supervisors, subordinates, colleagues and sometimes those customers who interact with the employee are obtained. From there the employee – with the assistance of a supervisor – can develop a growth plan that involves this feedback from all the stakeholders.
This sort of training comes with many types of benefits. One of the key benefits of 360 degree training is that it aligns the goals and values of employees with each other and with the organization. The way in which it aligns goals and values isn’t always straightforward. It aligns goals and values through other agents such as improved communication and by empowering employees.
How 360 degree training improves communication within an organization
One key benefit of 360 degree training is that it improves the quality and amount of communication within an organization. After this training is introduced, communication typically increases and improves within a team. Both formal and informal communication increases in a substantive manner.
How does this happen?
When you implement 360 degree training with openness, fairness, a focus on growth and without the threat of retaliation for their evaluation of others, employees feel free to truly open up and share their thoughts. As these workers feel free to provide feedback on the performance of someone they’d usually not be allowed to evaluate (such as a peer, colleague or supervisor) without negative repercussions or consequences, they start to feel empowered and begin to open up to more communication.
Additionally, if you train your employees to share their insights in a constructive, positive fashion, then the ones receiving the feedback, whether peers, supervisors or subordinates, grow open to more communication. Thus as feedback is given and received in a positive, “growth-focused” manner, the level of communication grows as well.
With 360 degree training, all employees on either end of the feedback, whether the giver or the receiver, learn to communicate more with each other in an open manner.
This open communication turns issues and concerns that were previously difficult to broach into topics of frank conversations out of which much growth can occur. It's in these frank conversations that goals and values are shared and aligned.
Increased communication aligns goals and values within an organization
This improvement in communication aligns goals and values within an organization. The more open and fluid the communication in both directions, the more the goals and values of everyone get articulated. Workers get to hear different views and interpretations of the organization's goals and values; and they have opportunities to flesh out their own position as they talk and share with others.
360 degree feedback gives leadership an opportunity to share the goals of the organization with employees in a non-threatening, non-controlling way and in exchange the employees have the opportunity to share their perspective. This exchange leads to buy-in for all parties, particularly those who tend to feel disinterested or disconnected. This buy-in will lead to an acceptance of, and alignment with, the goals and values of the organization.
360 degree training leads employees to feeling empowered and valuable
To have a say in the performance of a micromanaging supervisor or to be able to evaluate that coworker who never seems to pull his weight helps employees feel as if they have a voice.
Alternately, to weigh in on the manager who is an excellent supervisor or to give kudos to a colleague for a job well-done is also empowering. Employees who feel that they have a voice and are being heard feel as if they are an integral and valuable part of the organization.
Conversely, workers who feel as if they’re invisible and not heard tend to have no real stake in the organization. In fact, over time they grow increasingly more distant and disconnected from the company.
Such disconnectedness leads to a dissonance between the organization's performance goals and values and those of the employees. Workers must have a voice and feel valuable before they embrace the values and goals of an organization.
Having a voice aligns goals and values within an organization
One of the key components to aligning performance goals and values is ensuring that your employees feel valued and heard. That won’t happen unless they have a true, formal voice. Employees need to have a voice that is codified in the evaluative practices of your organization.
Once they have a true voice, you’ll notice an increase in their sense of investment and belonging to the organization. When it becomes “their” organization, they will begin to align their values and goals with that of the company.
360 degree training aligns performance goals and values
Aside from positively influencing communication and increasing your employees’ sense of empowerment, which in turn helps to align the goals and values within your organization, 360 degree training bears a direct impact on the alignment of goals and values within your company.
The 360 degree training process offers those employees performing the evaluations more insight into the values and goals of those they’re rating. To be involved in the process of evaluating others encourages employees to reflect upon their own values, goals and performance and how they align with those of the organization and with other employees.
When goal-setting and goal-attainment is tied into the 360 degree evaluation process, a greater improvement in performance and behavior is seen than if there isn’t a 360 degree feedback process occurring. Further, this process spurs employees to set higher performance goals without being instructed to do so.
Use 360 degree training to improve your organization
Clearly, 360 degree training is highly beneficial to any organization because it helps to improve those variables that are key to a successfully functioning company: communication, employees feeling empowered and valuable and an alignment of goals and values. These work together to improve your team's performance and productivity, which is necessary for the successful operation of your organization in the long term.
Continued Reading: Why You Should Not Use 360 Degree Performance Feedback For Appraisals
To learn more about the benefits of employee development, contact Edge Training at 800-305-2025.