How to Create Effective 360 Degree Feedback Competencies

In a recent post, we reviewed some guidelines for writing 360 degree feedback questions. One strategy you can use to develop effective 360 questions is utilizing a competency model. Simply put, competencies are employee behaviors, skills or attributes that contribute to the success of an organization.

Basing the 360 review on a competency model is critical to its success. In particular, using 360 feedback for development allows you to focus on employee strengths and areas for improvement. This enables the organization to identify development needs and ensure any necessary training is given. This leads us to today’s post on creating effective competencies for your 360 feedback survey. Below we review some methods you can use to develop competencies from  theoretical models to job specific skills.

1) Theoretical Models: Many organizations base their competencies on established theoretical competency models. Each model includes a list or library of specific competencies and behaviors that define employee success. Utilizing an established model is beneficial because the research has been completed and the competencies have already been validated. Companies can adopt different models or approaches based on skill development, psychological behaviors, organizational competencies or leadership skills. Some examples include the Educational Approach, the Psychological Approach, the Business Approach and the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) Competency Model to name a few.

2) Core Competencies: Some organizations decide to develop their own company competencies instead of using an established model. Core competencies are those skills and behaviors that relate to the organization’s mission, vision and values. These are standard comptencies that are required of all employees regardless of the job function or level. Core competencies should align with your business strategy and contribute to the organization’s success. Any skills that enable the company to achieve its mission and vision should be included as core competencies.

3) Job Functions: Another way to develop competencies is to base them on the key skills and behaviors particular to job functions, positions or roles. One way to do this is by listing the skills that contribute to success for a particular job, i.e. a middle-manager. If your organization has distinct vertical levels, you can develop a competency profile for each level and function.

  • Functional competency profiles focus on skills that are particular to that functional area. For example, creativity may be an important competency for the writing department, but not the accounting department.
  • Job specific competencies are particularly important for individual employee development. Reviewing an employee based on predetermined competencies allows the organization to focus in on areas for improvement for development and career growth.

Are your 360 degree feedback competencies based on one of the above methods or a mixture? Comment and let us know.

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