Why is 360 Feedback Important for Hybrid and Remote Teams?

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Today, we're sharing a guest post on a subject we're positively evangelical about - the benefits of 360 feedback for hybrid and remote teams. Written by Samawat Shakil, Content Manager of GreenThumbs, a HR consultancy based in Dehli, it's a really useful piece, particularly for leaders looking to level up a dispersed team. Enjoy!

Do you want to retain your top talent? Want employees to live up to their full potential? Then 360-degree feedback may be key for you. 

75% of employees consider feedback from their leaders essential for their growth. Moreover, 45% of workers say peer and customer feedback is equally important. 

But simple feedback round-ups once a quarter aren't sufficient anymore. Employees need 360-degree feedback on their performance to thrive in a competitive environment.

Hybrid and remote teams in particular benefit from 360-degree feedback when it comes to challenges around communication. Physical barriers make it difficult enough for hybrid and remote teams to stay connected with their peers. 360-degree feedback is not just helpful for bridging that gap, it’s crucial for ensuring that all your team members are aligned with your company’s OKRs. 

So, let's take a closer look at how 360-degree feedback can help remote and hybrid teams.

Understanding 360 Feedback 

360-degree feedback is a multi-tier feedback program that gathers employee feedback from colleagues at different levels of the organisation, and from outside sources.

They might include: 

  • Managers
  • Peers
  • Customers
  • Investors
  • Suppliers
  • And other stakeholders 

It's a myth that managers and leaders use 360-degree feedback as an opportunity to judge or penalise employees. The main objective of 360-degree feedback is to improve the employee experience through a detailed review of the employee’s performance.

It helps employees see shortcomings in their own performance so they can improve themselves and, ultimately, gain better career opportunities. 

remote workers
Frankli helps remote and hybrid teams tap into the potential of 360-degree feedback

Key Challenges That Hybrid & Remote Teams Face

Poor employee engagement is a huge issue for hybrid and remote teams. In a recent employee engagement survey (1), a high level of employee engagement was linked to a 59% decrease in employee turnover.

Unfortunately, employee engagement is not the only issue with hybrid and remote teams. There are many other challenges that dispersed teams face.

1. Poor communication 

Streamlining communication flow in hybrid and remote teams is a huge challenge. Time zone differences make it hard for managers to get teams together. Collaborating with remote workers and sharing feedback with them in real time can also be difficult.

2. Delay in feedback 

Feedback is always more effective when it’s provided in the moment, or as close to it as possible. For example, if you wait until August to provide feedback for July, you’re needlessly delaying improvements by 4 or 6 weeks. As well as impacting the quality of work, later feedback affects your team’s workflow. In short, it’s a waste of your company's resources. 

3. Language barriers

The best thing about remote teams is that you can hire diverse talent from anywhere in the world. But this gets challenging when employees don’t share the same first language as their manager. This language barrier becomes a bigger stumbling block when an employee only receives feedback from their manager, and not other sources.

4. Biased feedback 

Biases favouring in-office employees over remote and hybrid teams have been well reported. In particular, remote workers worry that they don’t get as much feedback as their office-based counterparts. It’s up to leaders to establish the best way to give feedback to dispersed team members, and how they can ensure fairness and transparency across the board.

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How Can Hybrid & Remote Teams Benefit from 360 Feedback?

Despite all these challenges, 360-degree feedback can help remote and hybrid teams get more valuable real-time feedback from their managers. It can also help them grow in their role and provide them with new career opportunities.

Here's how hybrid and remote teams can benefit from 360-degree feedback:

1. Clear feedback 

360-degree feedback is a transparent feedback framework that helps employees understand all of their strengths and weaknesses, and identify where improvements need to be made in order to grow. 

And because the feedback is coming from different areas of the business, it’s more comprehensive. Feedback is requested from a wide variety of colleagues, who all have a direct relationship with an employee. Feedback may also come from external parties like customers and suppliers. 

2. Timely feedback 

360-degree feedback is a continuous process. Managers frequently collect feedback from different sources and compile a report for each employee. There are some great 360-degree feedback tools available to help automate the feedback collection process. This is particularly useful for sharing real-time feedback with remote and hybrid employees. 

3. Eliminating bias

Self-assessment is a crucial part of 360-degree feedback. Managers provide employees with questions to help them evaluate their own performance.

When self-assessment is combined with feedback from a wide variety of colleagues, including those from other teams and departments, it helps remove some of the biases that remote workers are disproportionately affected by.

4. Boost confidence and morale

360-degree feedback can boost your employees' confidence and morale, and can even help them grow in their career by identifying new skills they need to acquire. As per GreenThumbs, 42% of employees said that a lack of career opportunities is the biggest reason behind low employee engagement. 

5. Empower employees

It’s important for your employees and managers to feel that they have a voice in the organisation. They must feel that their opinion matters to management - in particular remote team members often struggle with this. A HBR report (2) showed that some remote employees feel that they have less influence in the company's operations than in-office employees.

360-degree feedback provides an opportunity to increase the involvement of your remote and hybrid teams in key decisions around operations and culture, and show them that their opinions are valued.

digital reviews, digital performance appraisal
Creating a 360 performance review in Frankli

6. Improve team bonding 

Peer review is an essential part of 360-degree feedback. When remote and hybrid employees learn that their peers will be invited to give feedback on their performance, it often prompts them to communicate more frequently and learn more about one another. 

It can nurture team chemistry, which can improve performance. So indirectly, a 360-degree review can improve relationships between your team members and build a positive culture in your organisation.

7. Establish accountability 

Accountability often poses challenges for remote and hybrid teams for ages. As a result, managers often find themselves in a situation where team members hold one another accountable for a mistake. 

When people play the blame game, the company loses precious time and resources. Moreover, it can send a negative message to customers that your team members are not aligned. 

360-degree feedback provides a more effective way to establish accountability and responsibility in your team. These types of reviews can help you understand which employee is responsible for completing a certain task, and offer guidance that will help them improve. 

8. Regular performance reporting 

As we previously mentioned, 360-degree feedback is a continuous process. This constant reporting can help employees improve their performance in real time, which saves the company time and other resources.

9. Effective career development

A career development program is an excellent way to develop your team members professionally. It can help managers train high-performing employees for future endeavours. 

360-degree feedback can also help companies succession plan, by identifying high-performing employees who might suit other roles within the company.

10. Constant growth

Continuous improvement is based on the fundamental idea that feedback is an ongoing activity. Also, continuous improvement and change management complement each other. 

With an emphasis on gradual change rather than instant transformation, feedback identifies areas for improvement in real time.

With individual 360-degree feedback reviews on each employee, companies can better understand the shortcomings across their workforce. This also helps the HR department in developing employee engagement and experience strategies. 

Conclusion

Feedback is a hugely important aspect of managing your teams. It’s not only important for remote and hybrid teams, but for office-based teams, too.

A strong feedback strategy centred around 360-degree feedback can help you better understand the weaknesses and strengths of your individual team members, and, in turn, provide better services to your clients.

All in all, 360-degree feedback is essential for your company’s health. So let’s not waste more time - create a 360-degree feedback program, and start providing your people with the feedback they need to grow and thrive.

Learn how Frankli helps remote and hybrid teams master 360-degree feedback.

Sources:

1. PeopleElement - 2021 Employee Engagement Report. 2. Harvard Business Review, A Study of 1,100 Employees Found That Remote Workers Feel Shunned and Left Out.

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