Tag Archives: feedback

Culture Surveys and Your Organisation

Measuring culture and attaining data can provide valuable information for any size organisation. How this data is positioned, analysed, and used however is where the real value can be found. Schneider, Ehrhart, and Macey (2013) assert that when looking past Organisational Culture from a scholarly perspective, executives in organisations wish to know what their corporate culture is, understand what they can change and how, and how they can create competitive advantage through organisational culture. Although the first step of the process appears to be the measurement of culture, there are in fact many other steps to consider in the process. Below are some points to consider when measuring employee data in an organisation.

  1. Reasons for engaging in a measurement tool

When implementing a measurement process in an organisation it is important to clearly define the reasons for doing so. Is it for the board, customers, or stakeholders benefit? Is it for the benefit of the executive team to guide future planning? Is it an affirmation to HR that they are on the right track? Or is it to develop the best company in all sense of the word. It is important to set expectations of what will be done with the data. Asking employees to invest time to respond to workplace surveys can inevitably lead them to expect time invested back in explaining the results and strategies for the future. Understanding from the outset the reasons for using the tool is important.

2. Deciding on a measuring tool

Not all survey tools are created equal. In order to have a robust process it is important that the tools used are fit for purpose, and are reliable and valid. Gaining an accurate picture of the current organisational culture means that decisions made about future initiatives are made on the basis of sound data. A sound measuring tool should pass a series of psychometric tests, provide evidence that individual data can be aggregated to the organisational level, and be linked to performance (Denison Culture, 2013).

3. Leveraging the data to create competitive advantage

Once data has been obtained, an action plan around next steps needs to be developed. This can include things such as creating concrete plans for the future based on an accurate understanding of culture survey results; assessing current leadership and “people” need; understanding of how engaging and leveraging human capital can be attained.

4. Repeat

Measuring progress and obtaining feedback for continued improvement based on a clear set of business performance and organisational culture metrics is important for sustained culture improvement and change.

Schneider, B., Ehrhart, M. G., & Macey, W. H. (2013). Organizational climate and culture. Annual review of psychology64, 361-388.

Denison Culture (2013). What are you really measuring with a culture survey? Denison research notes, 8, 1.


On the Receiving End of 360 Degree Feedback

360 degree feedback is a key tool in assisting employees to maximise their potential. It provides feedback from a range of sources (such as Managers, Peers, Direct Reports, and Customers or Clients), offering many advantages over traditional single-source feedback. 360 degree surveys are increasingly used in many workplaces and can be a valuable tool when used appropriately. There is plenty of information available about how to give feedback to people on 360 degree surveys but it is also important to consider tips on how best to receive 360 degree feedback.

As a participant in the 360 process it can be a daunting prospect – your circle of colleagues provide you with feedback on your strengths and development needs. This information is collated in a report full of graphs, tables, and comments. To make the process worthwhile and hold value, it is important that the person leading the process and feedback is committed to the process. It is also important that the person receiving the feedback is committed and willing. Some points to consider when receiving 360 degree feedback:

Have an open-mind – before receiving feedback on your 360 degree survey, think about your current attitude towards it, are you open to receiving feedback? Try to prepare by starting with a willing and objective attitude.

Absorb the information – give yourself time to take in the information. Understand and process the feedback. Do not jump on particular points or feel the need to get into the next step straight away. Take the feedback home and think over it for a few days.

Acknowledge the results – celebrate the positives while also acknowledging the negatives, reflecting on these. You’re allowed to feel proud or upset or taken aback or even surprised. Consider the feedback with other information you have received, have you had similar feedback before?

What have you learned – consider the benefits of completing the 360 degree process. Do you better understand how your own behaviour is interpreted by others? Are your perceived strengths and development areas consistent with what others have said?

Set goals – you now have the information to identify and focus your professional development and learning opportunities. You may want to prioritise some goals or address any issues that may have been raised.

Other options – consider sharing the information you received or goals that you have set with those who provided feedback. It can be hard for colleagues to provide information and acknowledging their contribution to your development may be helpful in their understanding of how the information is used.

Next steps – set a date in the diary for when your next 360 degree will be. Follow up your development goal process in this next one and consider what measures you have taken to improve on both your strengths and development needs.

These points all seem relatively straight forward but when immersed in a document of feedback it can be hard to remember to take a step back and a deep breath. The key point is to have an open mind, take your time, reflect, and then look forward.

Being Present During Feedback

During my career in the HR and L&D space, I could not put a figure on how many times I have given 360 degree feedback to managers, often as part of a leadership development programme. The 360 degree process is certainly not a new one. We know the demand for 360 degree surveys is growing and that this process is increasingly a part of our roles as HR and L&D professionals and leaders in business.

Despite my experience to date though, I am always amazed how much I continually learn about myself in these feedback situations. I know I am an extravert and I operate very intuitively. Whilst these are my strengths in giving feedback, they can also be my downfall. I need to always be mindful of how I am in a 360 degree feedback scenario, and adjust my style for the person receiving the feedback.

The top ten golden rules of feedback are always in our minds. Use specific examples, do not judge, choose the environment etc. However it is useful to remind ourselves of those other rules of behaviour that are obvious, yet sometimes easy to overlook. We must not forget that how you say things and how you phrase your message carries more weight than you think. You cannot escape your personality—but you can temper it.

I recently read some ideas around how to ‘BE’ in a debrief:

  • Be present and maintain self-awareness
  • Avoid value laden language, tone, body language and facial expressions
  • Avoid making interpretations
  • Avoid the use of closed and leading questions
  • Use open and probing questions to facilitate discussion of the results
  • Draw on the individuals context
  • Offer suggestions for improvement when invited to do so and you have them to offer
  • Call any mistakes you make and apologise

(Ref: Dr Ben Palmer, Director, Genos International)

These behaviours sound straightforward right? Yet it is not easy to always be this way when immersed in a feedback relationship with an individual. Our role, the purpose of the 360 degree feedback, the emotional response from the individual can all pull and lean us in directions we should not really go. The first point is the key: Be present. If we stick to that then the rest should fall into place.