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5 Great 360-Degree Feedback Assessment Tools

written by: Tara Duggan•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 10/17/2011

The 360° feedback method provides a comprehensive way for a manager to obtain performance review input on his employees from peers, subordinates, customers and superiors. Implementing this type of performance measurement is easy with 360 feedback assessment tools to administer the process.

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    Collecting the Data

    Positive feedback Free online survey tools such as Zoomerang and SurveyMonkey allow managers to set up simple surveys to collect performance data. Specialized tools such as EchoSpan, Halogen and Leadership Circle provide additional administrative features that make collecting and interpreting this valuable data easy. Comprehensive systems give you the ability to compare input to industry standard research, compare scores, conduct complex surveys, emphasize career development and provide reporting capabilities that are easy to use. The 360 degree feedback process helps employees identify what they know about themselves, how others describe them, what traits they keep hidden about themselves, and details about themselves revealed by others that they do not know about themselves. This type of performance review helps employees recognize and develop their strengths.

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    1. Zoomerang

    Zoomerang, a free online survey software tool, allows managers to create surveys and send them to raters for completion during a 360 degree performance review process. Zoomerang users can create unlimited surveys and polls and send them via email, Twitter or Facebook. Real-time results help managers see trends emerge. Free surveys can contain up to 12 questions and 100 responses. Additional payment plans are available. Zoomerang provides a performance evaluation survey template users have the ability to customize. Conducting a survey allows raters to provide feedback anonymously. 360 degree feedback assessment survey questions typically include inquiries about job knowledge, planning and problem solving, productivity, communication and team building. An online survey also allows raters to enter comments or answer specific questions, such as should the employee be promoted, reassigned or disciplined. If your organization plans to implement a short survey, the free version of Zoomerang can meet your needs.

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    2. SurveyMonkey

    Another free online survey tool, SurveyMonkey, provides similar capabilities. This tool allows you to select from 15 different question types, such as multiple choice or rating scale. SurveyMonkey software allows you to randomize the questions and add comment fields as well. Creating a survey involves choosing a theme, adding the questions and collecting responses from an employee’s manager, customers and peers. The professional version of the tool provides a 360-degree employee evaluation template including questions regarding manager approachability, availability and communication capability. If your organization wants to use a standard 360 feedback employee evaluation template, the professional version of SurveyMonkey most likely meets your needs.

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    3. EchoSpan

    The EchoSpan product allows you to use its competency library or build your own 360 degree performance appraisal from scratch. This can be useful if you want to customize the rating scales (such as from 1 to 7) you use to evaluate employees in your organization. The library includes competencies such as accountability, attention to detail, change leadership, team building and adaptability, and provides descriptions of successful behavior. Because the tool is web-based, it requires very little time to learn. A dashboard interface allows a manager to view raters' responses. The tool’s feedback writing assistant allows users to customize comments and adjust the tone of the message. EchoSpan's 360 degree reports can also be customized. They can be output to Excel for additional analysis. Additionally, the system checks for inappropriate content, such as discriminatory remarks related to age, gender or ethnic background, which could make the employer legally liable. If your company is concerned about the legal ramifications of 360 feedback assessments, this product helps you safeguard against potential problems.

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    4. Halogen

    You can try the Halogen e360 Multirater for free. This system is part of its talent management product but can be used standalone as well. Managers use the data in business planning. They also use the information to identify employees capable of leadership, spot trends in employee satisfaction and manage the workforce. Halogen provides you with 360 degree feedback questionnaire forms for hourly workers, individual contributors and managers. The rating scale ranges from a “1” for areas needing improvement, a “2” for areas below expectations, a “3” for meeting performance standards, a “4” for consistently meeting expectations to a “5” for exceptional performance. If your company is considering the pros and cons of implementing a 360 feedback assessment program throughout the entire organization, using this product ensures a consistent approach to performance management.

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    5. Leadership Circle

    The Leadership Circle Profile defines leadership competencies for both senior leaders and lower-level managers. Assessments are administered with follow-up coaching provided by individuals certified by the Leadership Circle Profile certification program. The profile measures leadership dimensions. For example, the controlling dimension measures the extent to which a manager creates a sense of personal worth. It’s composed of perfect, driven, ambition and autocratic measures. Because of the follow-up coaching, this strategy is ideal for companies who want to use 360 feedback assessment tools that focus on developing a succession plan to ensure that less experienced managers develop the skills, experience and knowledge required to lead the company one day in the future.

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