360 Assessment: Five Reasons it’s Critical for HR

By Linda Brenner | August 11, 2014

As you may know, 360 assessment is a process by which an individual seeks and receives job-relevant feedback from a variety of stakeholders - e.g., direct reports, peers, manager, internal clients, etc. - through a survey mechanism. The experience of 360 assessment is most relevant when the survey questions are specifically relevant to a person's role.

Often, companies employ a general approach to 360 assessment by using a standard set of questions to measure all employees in a large category - individual contributors or leaders, for example.  While this provides useful feedback, it's often not specific enough to provide truly meaningful and actionable feedback for those in roles like HR Business Partner and Talent Acquisition professional.  That's why we believe that 360 assessment should be built on competency models specifically for HR and TA.  Over the years, our clients have implemented our proprietary 360 assessments for HR and TA - and here are five reasons why we believe these are essential to driving rapid individual development.

1 - 360 assessment helps HR professionals model the art of receiving feedback.

Or, in other words, eat your own cooking. 360 assessment helps HR professionals understand what's involved in the process - from logistics, to emotion, to understanding and acting on valuable feedback themes.

2 - 360 assessment gives internal clients a way to voice their opinions about the HR support they get.

HR and recruiters, like many support teams, serve internal clients. And often, these internal clients have no structured, constructive way to give their opinion on what support they want, need or get. 360 assessment is one important way to make this happen productively.

3 - 360 assessment allows HR to be held personally accountable for driving their own development.

Once feedback is received, the most important step is doing something with it. In order for HR professionals to be on point for coaching and developing business leaders and their teams, they have to do it for themselves. Otherwise, their support in such areas lacks credibility and seems disingenuous.

4 - 360 assessment drives continuous improvement for HR professionals.

As business needs evolve and become more competitive and challenging, HR professionals need to change at the same time. They need to regularly assess what actions add value and what distract from driving business results. 360 assessment can act as a mechanism to feed such information in a data-based way to HR and TA teams.

5 - 360 assessment provides HR with data-based measurements.

Time and time again, we see HR teams without clear role definition or measures of success. And because of this, HR and recruiting professionals often struggle to focus on the right big issues and drive consistent value to their internal clients. 360 feedback can provide a single source of data by which to hold managers accountable. For instance, 360 data rolled up can provide important insights to HR leaders about trends in areas of strengths and development needs. On an individual basis, 360 assessment can lead to measuring the amount, type, frequency, etc. of the specific actions taken by HR professionals to drive continuous learning and improvement.

For these reasons, 360 assessment linked to HR or Talent Acquisition competencies is an easy and cost-effective way to drive rapid and measurable improvement among this essential support function.

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