How to Use Multi-Rater Feedback in Future Workplace Planning

Colin Newbold, 27th October 2020 in Development, Feedback, Hiring, Human Resources, People Management, Testing

Multi-rater feedback has come to be a formidable tool used by organisations and managers alike to better align management techniques to positive feedback tools.

First off, what exactly is multi-rater feedback?

Multi-rater feedback, otherwise known as 360 degree feedback, can be defined as feedback given by multiple sources from a selection of people working around them for managers to gain a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses to ultimately improve their management (and/or leadership) skills. 

With many common mistakes made with multi-rater feedback, it’s crucial to have the patience and understanding to make these evaluations work as effectively as possible.

How to Use Multi-Rater Feedback or 360 Evaluations 

Often, it can be the case that sophisticated feedback systems are put into place via HR requests, ultimately for the latest system to sit on managers’ desks gathering dust until the next feedback system is put into place. The premise of 360, or multi-rater feedback is that this does not happen. With multi-rater feedback, management are asking their employees and managers to do more than fill out a checkbox or fill out a two dimensional survey. 360 reviews are comprehensive analyses that test the performance of each manager to give tangible 360-degree feedback so they are able to build on their current management skills. 

1. Reflect on The Feedback

When first receiving multi-rater feedback reports derived from questionnaire interfaces, it can be all too tempting to jump head first into the suggestions and start dissecting them. We would suggest taking a moment to properly read through and evaluate the feedback before taking any approaches to execute it. It may even take a few days to get your head around the comments that have been given so that you can be sure you are aware of what your employees and management staff are asking from you in the future. 

While at first the multi-rater survey results that are focused on things your colleagues want you to be doing differently may come across as a criticism, you need to remember that your employees and superiors are only trying to help you to become a better manager, and it is in their best interest to do so. If you feel that any of the feedback was unfair, you may wish to have a conversation with your manager about it to see if they feel the same way. Check out our rater conversation guide on our Awareness Briefing blog

Self-reflection as a manager or leader is critical to leadership development as being an effective manager takes dedication to your management skills and knowing how to build and grow as a person will ultimately help you in your job role.

  • Find your learnings and key takeaways from the multi-rater survey results 

  • Become attuned with your strengths and weaknesses so you can build upon the former and eradicate or at least minimise the latter

2. Create an Individual Development Plan

It’s important to remember that we all have different areas of ourselves that we can improve on, and that no one is a perfect manager. It’s also important to remember that what may work for one employee may be hated by another, so it’s healthy to get the balance right and understand that not everyone will be happy all of the time. That said, after taking time to reflect on the performance feedback, it’s then important to create an individual development plan that is targeted towards addressing feedback priorities identified in the multi-rater feedback reviews.  

Identify up to 3 development goals to start with so that your efforts become more focused beyond this point. Then, determine the steps and resources needed to help you to achieve in your development areas and hone in on your weaknesses. You may then wish to discuss this with your manager so they are able to have input before any actions are taken or comprehensive reports are made. 

3. Collaborate with Your Manager and Horizontal Management

Once you have your key development priorities and have properly reflected on your feedback, it’s time to discuss your feedback with your manager or management on the same level in the company as you. Doing this will help you to identify areas of feedback that have come up across the board and areas that are unique to yourself. 

If there are feedback areas that come up in all management’s feedback reviews, it may be effective to consider it as an organisational issue and may need to be tackled as a group-wide development opportunity. But regardless of the outcome, it is important to align your management techniques to agree upon a plan moving forward. 

4. Ask for 360 Coaching/ Mentoring

As you start to develop in your areas of feedback and development, it may be time to consider additional training or mentoring opportunities you could participate in to improve your management skills going forward. There are many effective management and leadership training courses you may wish to attend where you can speak to a leadership coach who will be able to guide you through your feedback and help you to come up with steps to implement it effectively. 

Your HR department may even know of training courses suited to your role, and your organisation should see this as an opportunity for you to grow as a manager and see the benefit to their company. It also shows good initiative on your behalf that you are willing to take in feedback and commit to growing as an individual and as a manager for the success of the company.

5. Implementing the Feedback 

Implementing the feedback given in 360 reviews may seem pretty straightforward, however, it is something that is often overlooked by managers riddled with deadlines and strategy meetings, meaning that feedback is often pushed to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ pile. While it may not seem like a day to day priority, listening to and implementing the feedback given from your employees will not only improve their performance and enjoyment of work, but it will lower employee turnover costs significantly if employees can clearly see that they are being listened to. 

Turnover rates can cost employers a staggering 33 percent of an employee’s annual salary due to costly job advertisement costs, training expenses and the potential for recruitment consultants and short-term freelancers to pick up the lost work. Thus, it is important for managers to truly see feedback implementation as a priority for their own self-improvement and as a priority for the company as a whole in terms of retention rates and employee satisfaction. 

Implementing the multi-rater feedback doesn’t have to take over your week. The feedback is there in plain sight for you to implement, so all you need to do is take the steps to do so. For instance, a multi-rater feedback example may be an occasion where you received multiple feedback entries stressing that there are too many internal meetings and staff are struggling to find time for something about it: for example only invite a maximum of 6 people to each meeting and having no meetings for longer than an hour.

The key in implementing 360 feedback is:

  • Analyse the feedback first: what comes up a lot, what is emphasised in the feedback?

  • Clarify any feedback points you may be unsure on

  • Speak to your superiors to see if they received similar feedback

  • Consider tools and software options that you may need to look into to implement any of the suggestions 

  • Think about short, medium and long term implementations

  • And finally, how will you communicate the new feedback implementations to your employees?

6. Continuous Feedback is Key

Great, it looks like you’ve implemented all the key feedback given from those working around you, now it’s time to sit back and enjoy all your hard work, right? Not quite. Multi-rater feedback is not a one step process, it takes consistent work to ensure that it is done effectively meaning you will need to stay at the top of your game throughout the year. 

Tips on implementing consistent multi-rater feedback:

  • Send out weekly feedback checkpoints with a traffic light rater system for quick and easy feedback questionnaires

  • Continuously ask employees for feedback through calls, emails or even over lunch 

  • Implement quarterly 360 feedback reviews for updated suggestions 

When conducting future workplace planning it’s important to prioritise collaboration as a key facet of success for your organisation. Taking employee and management feedback on board shows initiative on your behalf and will show your employees that you are committed to implementing their workplace suggestions and developing as a manager yourself. Ultimately, every employee deserves a manager who is committed to their learning and willing to go the extra mile for their team. 

If you’re looking to get started with multi-rater feedback reviews or 360 degree appraisals, take a look at our service offerings or contact us today on +44 (0) 845 313 3357 to get started with 360 feedback appraisals

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