There is something even more damaging and destructive to business and individual performance than not running a 360 degree feedback. That is, running a 360 process, collating the results and then leaving them to gather dust in the corner of vacant training room somewhere in head office.

As Natascha Engel wrote of the government’s E-petition website in The Times recently, ‘why ask the public if the MPs won’t listen? The E-petition website, set up to gather the views and concerns of you and I, appears to be a huge success.

The site crashed in consecutive days following the rioting that took place across the UK, so it certainly reflects the strong feelings of the nation, as and when the nation is prepared to air its views. But that’s not enough. In fact, the work is not even half-way completed, though no doubt many politicians are smiling and nodding at one another across Whitehall thinking ‘job done’.

Ironically, now is when the hard work actually begins, because it is now that the government has captured the mood of the nation and now that everyone is looking at the leadership wondering what they’re going to do with all this information.

Move, just for a second, into the business world. Everyone understands the value and positive impact that listening has on the success of every team, department, board and business, though how many great opportunities are missed through a failure to follow through on the gathering of crucial information? The 360 degree appraisal, at its very core, explores the same avenues as the E-petition website, essentially it wants to build bridges between the public and government, but the only way that objective will be met, is if the opinions put forward are actually acted upon. If they’re not, you take backward steps.

Same with 360 feedback, all the hard work has been done to empower employees into providing valuable information that can actually help drive positive change within a company, but if that is left in graphs and worksheets, and it comes to nothing, an untold amount of damage will be done.

Just as Whitehall must take the E-petition crash seriously, employers need to show that they are acting on feedback from staff – otherwise, what’s the point?

Elva Ainsworth
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