Traditionally, human resources (HR) leaders have used 360-degree assessments to solicit input for individual performance reviews, but this use of the tool often proves to be ineffective. However, in the last few years, HR and learning and development (L&D) teams have used 360s to assess their organization’s developmental needs. 

When Can a 360-degree Assessment Benefit You? 

So, when are 360 assessments an appropriate solution and match for your organization’s needs? Let’s explore the situations in which a 360 assessment can provide benefits for your organization. 

If You Work in a Large Organization 

If you are a large organization with many employees who perform similar jobs, 360 assessments can be useful. With a large pool of data, you can explore behavioral patterns and skill trends. Moreover, when more than 150 employees participate in the process, not only will you gain insights from aggregated data, but you will also be able to explore demographic cuts and target your improvement initiatives. 

During a Business Transformation 

If your company is making a major strategic shift, you will need to identify where your talent resides and which competency gaps you must close to reach your short and long-term goals. A 360-degree assessment will pinpoint the level of capability in your workforce, where it exists, and where you should focus your energy to reskill and develop your talent. 

In a Remote Workforce 

It can be challenging to determine whether remote employees have the required skills, competencies and knowledge. If your organization wants to uncover this unseen informationwhich is crucial for the growth of the company, the multi-rater assessment is the way to go. 

To Combat the Attrition of Top Talent 

When conducted annually, a 360 assessment can highlight the level of talent you are losing relative to the level of talent you have hired. If your new hires are performing far below the talent you lost, the tool can help you identify where to rebuild your talent, which competencies to prioritize and how to shift your hiring profile. 

To Support Annual Succession Planning 

A 360-degree assessment process can help you identify high-potential employees who would benefit from focused career planning, development and opportunities for growth. 

To Uncover Insights About Organizational Dynamics 

360 assessments reveal more than competency levels and gaps. By comparing employees’ ratings with those of their raters, you can uncover disconnects in role expectations that you can address through improved dialogue, communications and development. 

To Support a Commitment to Learning and Development 

If your organization promotes broad employee and leader development through well-rounded and holistic views of your people, a 360-degree assessment tool is a first step in uncovering what a learning path should include. A comprehensive development program will shape your organization’s leadership. 

When Building a Culture of Continuous Improvement 

If your organization is working to constantly evolve and improve, you can use 360 assessments to analyze results over time. This data will help you determine if and how much your strategic competencies have improved. A key benefit of the 360 assessment process is the ability to continually measure your organization’s capabilities and target your development initiatives. 

The Keys to 360-degree Assessments: Technology and Coaching 

Now that you know when you should consider a 360-degree assessment, it’s important to discuss the key to making it work: technology. Whether you have in-house technology for automated 360 assessments or hire an external firm, it is important that the technology powering the process: 

    • Enables you to assess skills, competencies and knowledge — critical elements of every development program and the basis for every improvement. 
    • Integrates with your HR digital ecosystem so you can share metadata across systems. The 360 assessment process will rely on this data. 
    • Creates a smooth and worry-free experience to complete the process and intercept 360 results. The process should easily integrate into the work environment, making it easy for employees to complete. 
    • Is supported by a strong methodology that relies on validated industry benchmarks, enabling you to benefit from the proven experience of internal or external sources. 

Receiving external coaching support is an essential part of the 360-degree assessment process. With their ability to meet with organizations in advance, identify clear goals and expectations, intercept the 360 results, unearth individual and organizational strengths and gaps, and create action plans for addressing the gaps and capitalizing on strengths, external consulting organizations provide crucial support for sustained development and business acceleration. 

Organizations using 360-degree feedback tools in this way continue to demonstrate that this tool is the right solution — in the right context. Today’s 360 assessment process has united with technological advances and the development of coaching resources to reclaim a reputation for meaningful, human-centered insights into developmental journeys. Carefully choosing how to use the process will help you collect the data you need to achieve results for your organization.