Dr. Lynne Cruickshank, Head of Research at Peter Berry Consultancy
Many organisations know the value and importance of fostering engaged high performing talent and teams, however, there certainly are challenges in making it a reality. Particularly for organisations that have experienced long periods of staff working remotely, it has not been unusual to see an impact on morale and productivity and an increased need to invest time and effort into fostering improved engagement and performance.
The importance of feedback
When individuals and teams perceive that their organisation is willing to invest time and energy in their development, this can help to boost their level of engagement as well as result in various other benefits such as improved productivity. One type of developmental activity that is particularly valuable in creating motivated and high performing individuals and teams is feedback. However, feedback is not always something that is readily provided within organisations or provided in a manner conducive for development. The amount of exposure to informal feedback cues from others at work has also been impacted for many people by increases in remote working.
To reap the benefits of feedback it is important to keep in mind that feedback can be provided in many forms and from various sources. The most effective feedback tends to be intentional, constructive and motivates an individual or team to engage in behaviours that are aligned with high performance. It is also beneficial when feedback is provided regularly and should include both positive feedback which can boost morale and engagement as well as constructive feedback that will help improve performance.
A powerful and valuable source of feedback that can be used to support the development of individuals and teams is using a multi-rater feedback assessment. These assessments enable individuals to obtain feedback from diverse perspectives including their manager, peers, and direct reports, with the confidential and anonymous nature of the responses allowing honest feedback to be provided that may otherwise be difficult to solicit.
Why are multi-rater assessments beneficial?
Various studies have shown that how someone perceives themselves can greatly differ from how others view them. This is why multi-rater feedback assessments can be really valuable as it provides individuals and teams with an opportunity to look at themselves in a different light and to see how others see them. It enables them to obtain feedback on their behaviour and performance from others that may be outside of their awareness including in relation to their strengths and opportunities to improve.
To derive the value from using a multi-rater feedback assessment it is important to keep in mind that not all multi-rater feedback assessments are equal in terms of their quality. It is important to use multi-rater feedback assessments that have rigour such as scientific evidence supporting the tools reliability and validity to truly obtain their benefit in helping to foster engaged high performing talent. Also, multi-rater feedback assessments that have rigorous benchmarks are beneficial in providing a frame of reference and fostering strategic self-awareness in relation to one’s strengths and opportunities to improve.
How to adopt multi-rater assessment feedback
Best practice when using multi-rater feedback assessments to help foster engaged high performing talent and teams includes having those in senior leadership positions champion and communicate the value and importance of using the assessment to support development.
Integrating the multi-rater feedback assessment results with other data can also help maximise their impact in providing a deeper self-awareness and boosting development. For example, integrating multi-rater feedback assessments with well-validated personality assessments can provide insight into ‘what’ behaviours are being seen (i.e. through the multi-rater assessment) and ‘why’ those behaviours may be occurring (based on the personality assessment results).
Increasing self-awareness is an important aspect of feedback and to truly be beneficial and impactful it is important that action is also taken as a result of the feedback. This is where effective coaching and development conversations drawing on feedback play an important role. Effective coaching and development conversations tap into one’s motivation to take action and include a discussion of specific actions that the individual or team plans to take based on the feedback. Follow-up conversations and repeat administration of multi-rater feedback assessments also play an important role in ensuring appropriate action is being taken and having the desired impact on performance.