Panoramic Feedback Highlights
- World leader in features and languages
- Sparkling, leading-edge user interface
- First 360 system online (1998), backed by mature, professional organization development expertise
- 40,000+ assessments complete (40,000+ profitable opportunities for skills development)
- Half a million responses compiled (each in the twinkling of an eye!)
- 50+ languages, including European, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian
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Best Practices and Case Studies
For articles and case studies about the use of feedback and coaching, visit Panoramic Feedback's advertising-free Knowledge Center.
Constant Innovation Is Key To Customer Satisfaction For Internet Companies (January 30, 2013)
Ancient Mariners Advise HR: Clear Decks In Economic Storm (October 22, 2008)
10th Anniversary Gifts From Panoramic Feedback (October 7, 2008)
Applicants Flood In For Beta Test Of New 360-Degree Feedback Interface (December 10, 2007)
360-Degree Feedback Helps Health-Care Professionals Improve Their Skills (November 7, 2006)
Data from 360-Degree Feedback Helps Leaders Improve Bottom Line (April 24, 2006)
Full Text of Releases
Constant Innovation Is Key To Customer Satisfaction For Internet Companies
(January 30, 2013) Once upon a time, an entrepreneur could design a good product and sell it unchanged for years. But today's Internet-based companies must constantly innovate to maintain their lead in a shifting marketplace.
Providing great new capabilities leaves them no room for complacency, because each improvement stimulates the demand for another.
"For creative people, it's actually more fun to work this way," says Esther Kohn-Bentley, CEO at Panoramic Feedback, which provides online 360-degree feedback for businesses and governments (www.panoramicfeedback.com). "I love the challenge of developing new and better ways to do things.
"For instance, a year ago our customers were telling us they found it exhausting to manage the contact information for everyone who might respond to our 360-degree feedback questionnaires. Sometimes there are thousands of email addresses in a single project.
"So we developed a special site that frees up the administrators. It allows the email addresses to be entered by the same individuals who are going to be assessed."
Customers loved the new feature, but immediately told the company they wanted more. Because some of the addresses were entered carelessly, they were receiving a lot of bounce-backs. They didn't appreciate the extra labor of tracing and correcting those addresses.
"So we gave our developers an urgent new task," says Kohn-Bentley, "and now we can go directly and automatically to the people who entered incorrect information, and ask them to correct it on a special website that's easy to use. It's a good solution because it transfers the responsibility from overworked administrators to the people who actually possess the information."
Meanwhile, other customers told the company that it was not the best use of their time to generate feedback reports and send them on to the subjects. So the company's developers came up with an automatic function that sends the reports directly to the subject, again winning them kudos from the customers.
Innovation results in better customer satisfaction and convenience, says Kohn-Bentley. But, she points out, online 360-degree feedback providers can never stand still. "As soon as we finished developing the most recent tool, we started consulting with customers about our next great improvement. We're not talking about it publicly yet, but we expect it will make their work lives better still."
Once that's complete, you can be certain it will spark a demand for even more useful features.
Finally. 360-Degree Feedback Just Got Easier, as Panoramic Feedback Releases New UI
(February 9, 2009) HR professionals who struggle with unwieldy 360-degree feedback systems are feeling relief. Panoramic Feedback has released a next-generation user interface that makes the administration process straightforward and intuitive.
360-degree feedback helps employees improve their skills by providing anonymous feedback from those who know their work best - usually supervisors, peers, direct reports, and external contacts. But the tools are often awkward and inflexible.
Administrators are praising Panoramic Feedback's new dashboard which features up-to-the-minute status reports about current projects.
Its tab-driven design provides them with immediate access to each stage of the 360 process: creation of the questionnaire, selection of participants, editing of automatic instructional emails, and generation of reports.
Design Based On Users' Feedback
In 2005, Panoramic Feedback surveyed users to find out what they wanted in a best-of-breed user interface (UI). They requested a setup process that follows their thinking patterns yet guides them in making the most effective choices.
"Their input showed us how to design our interface," said CEO Esther Kohn-Bentley. "We named it SASS, which stands for Smart Administration System for Surveys. It really is a smart, logical, sassy UI, and it drew applause when we ran it in beta.
"Because SASS follows the logical structure of a 360-degree feedback project, even our long-time users will find it easy to make the transition."
Big Project For Panoramic Feedback
Panoramic Feedback committed major resources to the two-year UI project. COO Timothy Bentley employed world-class developers with leading-edge Python programming skills, including Maru Newby, Michael Lin, Michael Fletcher, and Aaron Bentley.
The UI changes have not distracted the company from its focus on the three crucial constituencies for 360-degree feedback, in challenging economic times:
- The sponsoring organizations which need a reliable method to encourage employees and enhance their productivity.
- The responders, who need to know that they can provide frank, confidential feedback with their identity protected.
- And the people being assessed, who need their feedback presented in a way that makes it clear which of their skills need development, particularly when they're worried about job security.
Because it is highly customizable and provides feedback in over 50 world languages, Panoramic Feedback has taken the global lead in 360-degree feedback. Now, the power and convenience of its new UI will set the standard for other 360 providers.
Panoramic Feedback Welcomes Shanghai's Worth Management Consulting To Provide 360-Degree Feedback in China
(January 19, 2009) Panoramic Feedback has announced an agreement with consulting powerhouse Shanghai Worth Management Consulting to distribute its 360-degree feedback system in China.
Shanghai Worth Management Consulting Co. Ltd. is a leading Chinese human resources consulting company. It focuses on measuring and managing human resources on the basis of employee capability.
By adding Panoramic Feedback (www.panoramicfeedback.com) to its other recognized technologies, Worth (http://www.worth.net.cn/html/worth) will strengthen its ability to assess performance and guide career development.
Panoramic Feedback CEO Esther Kohn-Bentley said, "This is a great combination. It brings together Worth as a senior, respected consulting firm in China, and Panoramic Feedback as an internationally recognized provider of 360-degree feedback.
"Worth has solid experience in measuring the capability of employees, and our system provides them with a highly reliable means to do just that. We're looking forward to working with them, especially since China's emerging economy is very open to the use of 360-degree feedback."
Worth's General Manager Mr. Yunting Li said, "We are very excited to be associated with Panoramic Feedback and offering this great tool to our clients.
"The market for 360-degree feedback in China is growing quickly, and we are now at the leading edge, with a world class system."
Because the Panoramic Feedback system is designed to use the characters of both traditional and simplified Chinese, Worth can deploy it quickly.
This agreement is based on Panoramic Feedback's commitment to provide users with the greatest number of language capabilities in the 360-degree feedback field. Its questionnaires and reports can be generated in over 50 languages, including Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, and the major European and Cyrillic languages.
Panoramic Feedback, which has been in business for over a decade, is a pioneer in providing software-as-a-service via the Internet.
Ancient Mariners Advise HR: Clear Decks In Economic Storm
(October 22, 2008) In the current economic storm, commentators are urging us to "clear the decks", "batten the hatches", and "reef the sails".
Seafarers have always employed those tactics to ride out deadly hurricanes, but what do they offer professionals working in HR, OD, and training during today's crisis?
The 60-Second Consultant
That's the topic of the latest edition of "The 60-Second Consultant", a one-minute newsletter written by an enthusiastic sailor, Timothy Bentley. He's chief operating officer at 360-degree feedback provider, Panoramic Feedback.
"The 60-Second Consultant" covers the challenges of feedback and skills development in an accessible, sometimes humorous way.
To clear the decks, Bentley urges professionals view the economic turmoil as an opportunity to reduce the clutter of unproductive programs.
He suggests asking these questions about them, "Do they help people ride out the storm, staying above water while your competitors struggle to stay afloat? And do they prepare your workers to seize the advantage once the storm has passed?"
"We designed The 60-Second Consultant as a quick read, because people told us that they want professional information about 360-degree feedback that comes right to the point," Bentley said. "It's Panoramic Feedback's bi-weekly contribution to the HR, OD, and training communities, to celebrate our tenth anniversary online."
To read more about battening your hatches, or to sign up for the e-newsletter at no charge, click here.
10th Anniversary Gifts From Panoramic Feedback
(October 7, 2008) The world's first on-line 360-degree feedback system, Panoramic Feedback, celebrated 10 years of human resources leadership by giving out presents.
The first gift was a new user interface, the most up-to-date and convenient of all 360-degree feedback systems.
The second was a newsletter, "The 60-Second Consultant", packed with nuggets of information and inspiration. It is designed to be read in a minute by busy professionals.
"We created these gifts to say thank you to those who have used our system for all these years," said CEO Esther Kohn-Bentley. "They're the reason that developing a more effective user experience was such a high priority."
The new user interface is currently in beta testing. To be released this fall, it will provide users with quick and clear guidance for setting up 360-degree feedback projects.
The 60-Second Consultant
Panoramic Feedback hopes its 60 second information piece will help readers upgrade their knowledge a minute at a time. "The 60-Second Consultant" is available free at http://www.panoramicfeedback.com/60/index.html.
"Panoramic Feedback matured over the last decade, along with the 360-degree feedback movement," said Kohn-Bentley. "360 is now widely accepted as a prime method for developing peoples' skills and increasing productivity."
"Now we're planning for the next decade," said Bentley. "We expect to make 360 as accessible outside North America as it is in the US and Canada."
Today, people can respond to Panoramic Feedback questionnaires in fifty-plus languages, including Chinese, Japanese, and Korean."
Applicants Flood In For Beta Test Of New 360-Degree Feedback Interface
(December 10, 2007) 360-degree feedback provider Panoramic Feedback was inundated this week with requests to Beta-test its new user interface. The boldly-designed Smart Administration System for Surveys (SASS) will be available to Beta users in January.
The company, a world leader in 360-degree feedback, decided it would have to freeze its list of Beta testers and stop accepting applications, in order to fully support those it had already accepted.
"We were pleased to see how many knowledgeable users were eager to participate," said CEO Esther Kohn-Bentley. "They told us they wanted to be at the leading edge of the finest solution in multi-source feedback.
"We hear that our Beta announcement started a tremendous buzz in the HR, OD, and training communities, because they were looking for more user-friendly, flexible and customizable 360 capabilities."
Intuitive New Design
SASS was designed by veteran developer Aaron Bentley, and co-written by developers Maru Newby and Mike Lin. Their efforts were supported by client services manager Elena Albegova, who co-ordinated a survey of users of the previous interface.
The developers used today's most effective and secure technologies: Python, Ext, Kid, TurboGears and ReST, on the reliable Linux platform used by Panoramic Feedback since before it was trendy.
SASS runs on the Internet, featuring an intuitive tab interface which reduces uncertainty for the user. Many of the central functions can be controlled directly from simple chart displays. Help screens pop up instantly on request, and disappear when no longer required.
The developers' innovative use of ReST will also make it easier for Panoramic Feedback's writers to adjust the system's wording or ultimately to translate it into other languages.
"We named the interface SASS because it is truly sassy. It's smart, assertive, and strong," said Kohn-Bentley.
"Because 360-degree feedback is so powerful, touching the lives of many individuals, the system must be flexible and reliable. SASS is the ultimate intuitive interface."
Panoramic Feedback has a history of innovation. It was the first 360-degree feedback system to use the Internet, a decade ago. More recently, it became the first system to provide feedback in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. And now it will provide the most up-to-date, friendly and powerful interface available.
Panoramic Feedback Provides 360-Degree Feedback In Chinese, Japanese, Korean
(April 26, 2007) 360-degree feedback is now available to managers in Chinese-speaking countries, Japan, and Korea, following a major multi-language release from service provider Panoramic Feedback.
Asian leaders now have access to the same on-line system that has been used so successfully to support skills growth in Europe and North America for the past 9 years. Panoramic Feedback helps participants plan their self-development based on input from others who know their work well.
"This means questionnaires can be placed on-line in simplified or traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean," said CEO Esther Kohn-Bentley. "Responders can provide valuable unstructured comments in their own tongue. And the participants' reports can be produced entirely in those languages."
Panoramic Feedback is the leading provider of 360-degree feedback worldwide. It displays questionnaires in more than 50 languages, including most Western and Slavic languages, as well as the three major Asian languages. (Other providers offer questionnaires in English only, or sometimes a handful of other languages.)
Some languages accepted by Panoramic Feedback:
Afrikaans, Albanian, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chechen, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Greenlandic, Icelandic, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Luxemburgish, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Scottish, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Welsh.
A Commitment To Global Growth
"Providing the ability to use 360-degree feedback in so many languages arises from our commitment to make opportunities for self-development available globally," said Esther Kohn-Bentley.
"On every continent, working people want to be best they can be. They're enthusiastic about tools that support their growth in their own language, especially a system that guards confidentiality with such great care."
(April 20, 2007) Panoramic Feedback's 360-degree feedback system scored the best sales in the company's history during the first quarter of 2007.
And its 2006 sales were the highest ever for a full year.
Many of the new clients were in Panoramic Feedback's core sectors: manufacturing, multi-nationals, government, and health care.
According to CEO Esther Kohn-Bentley, the growth can be attributed to the company's attentiveness to client needs, its global focus, expert staff, and an increased acceptance of 360-degree feedback.
"Everyone recognizes these days that 360 provides a win-win. It increases organizational profitability, at the same time as contributing to the individual's job satisfaction."
Sustainable Strategy Shows Rewards
The key to Panoramic Feedback's success is strategy, she said. "We've taken a different, more sustainable, road than our competitors.
"In the past two years, we've invested heavily in usability, acceptance of many languages, and critical features like comparative reporting. For some of our competitors, even though their systems need a lot of work to become user-friendly, the focus seems to be on short-term profits."
Panoramic Feedback was the first 360-degree feedback system to recognize the benefits of a made-for-the-Internet approach. It became profitable within 18 months of its online debut in 1998.
"Feedback Is Our Business Plan"
"We've been successful because we never take our customers for granted," said Kohn-Bentley. "For instance, we'll be introducing a radical new user interface soon that is years ahead of the competition in convenience and simplicity.
"For us, feedback isn't simply a product. It's our business plan.
"When our clients tell us they need new features or methods, we pay attention. The word gets around that we listen attentively to feedback. Many of our recent sales happened because existing clients enthusiastically referred their colleagues to us."
(February 14, 2007) A multi-hospital health system was facing urgent new demands related to staff development, driven by internal and external factors.
To improve the standard of care, and to counter increasing public criticism, its leaders wanted to offer more effective skill development opportunities for employees. At the same time, they needed to respond to governing bodies which had begun to demand more data about the levels of staff competency.
Already, the HR department had gained some experience by offering 360-degree feedback to a few employee groups. They had seen its power to enhance individual self-development.
Now, in consultation with their 360 provider, they discovered that the data from 360 projects could provide a new and valuable type of information. By aggregating the raw data into meaningful reports, they could develop reliable information about skill levels throughout the system, within the individual hospitals, even in specific departments.
Aggregate reports offered them value because they pinpoint the organization's strengths and weaknesses. And they indicate whether particular skill deficits are system-wide or limited to certain pockets of employees.
They could even identify new candidates for succession, outside the familiar pool of high potential people. And they could contribute to the strategic vision of the hospital leadership, who were hungry for quantified human assets data to support their decision-making.
The organization developed its new approach in two segments. The first would deliver 360-degree feedback to several hundred employees. The second would cover all 2000 staff members.
To help sell the process to participants, organizers promoted an additional benefit. The 360 project would provide the individual peer reviews which were increasingly demanded by professional bodies that accredited nurses and others.
During both segments, the hospital system would receive aggregate data to track ongoing progress, and to see the view from 10,000 feet.
This story is a composite, but the details are accurate. Currently, most organizations simply ignore and discard the valuable data from their 360s.
Only recently have some recognized that aggregate 360 data is gold. In fact, in an era when human development departments are often dismissed as cost centers, and their output denigrated as "soft data", aggregate reporting offers significant benefits:
- Guides executives in making strategic decisions
- Provides metrics that enhance bottom-line success
- Helps HR, OD, and Training provide more effective services to the organization
- Highlights the contribution of human development professionals to the organization
Becoming familiar with aggregates
Few development professionals have actually handled an aggregate report, to assess its value for their organizations. To download a sample, visit http://www.panoramicfeedback.com/products/360/aggregate.html.
Here are some scenarios in which human development professionals take advantage of aggregate results to make a more visible contribution.
1. Play to strengths
The HR chief examines the aggregate results of a 360-degree feedback project, discovering that certain departments of the organization have unexpected levels of strength in innovation and customer service.
Knowing that these highly engaged employees are likely to attract more engaged customers, the HR chief brings the aggregate data to the executive team.
Based on this knowledge, the organization markets its innovation and customer service strengths, boosting sales and profits.
2. Avoid strategic traps
An organization that excels in technical innovation is considering a marketing push to court technology-shy customers. The campaign would emphasize relationship and collaboration, because they have been identified as core competencies and would increase the comfort zone for customers.
But aggregated 360 results indicate that the collaborative abilities of the employees who are central to this initiative, are actually not strong.
Using this information, the organization side-steps a potential disaster. It markets its proven innovative qualities instead. And undertakes a training initiative to strengthen the relationship skills of its staff.
3. Value the organization
CFOs are increasingly asked to value their organizations in a more sophisticated manner, taking into account human assets: the skills and collected wisdom of employees. Estimates suggest only 15-30% of today's market capitalization can be attributed to traditional physical assets.
Bill Gates once said: "Take our 20 best people away and I can tell you that Microsoft would become an unimportant company."
The age-old problem is how to attach solid numbers to human capital. A collaborative project with the Finance department can use 360 aggregate reports as a source for meaningful figures. That in turn can drive higher shareholder returns.
4. Plan succession with accuracy
Many organizations recognize they will soon face the retirement of a leadership generation. They are actively engaged in cataloguing the skills required for the future, and sizing up successors.
Aggregate 360-degree feedback data allows them to spotlight those who possess the skills necessary for success. An unexpected benefit is that it can widen the scope beyond the usual suspects, including high-performing but "invisible" candidates. And it can suggest those who are most likely to benefit from development opportunities.
5. Design coaching and training
Aggregate reports help development professionals provide coaching and training in the most precisely-focused, cost-effective manner. For instance, they can guide trainers in tuning their development plans to the needs of specific demographic groups in the organization.
Further, the reports can reveal whether skill levels are uniform or diverse. If most members of the group show low results in a particular skill, trainers can offer universal programs. If only certain individuals or sub-groups have weak skills, they can target programs to them.
6. Market the organization
For organizations like hospitals that specialize in providing professional services, it is crucial to communicate successes widely. Aggregate reports from 360 can provide vital details.
Publicizing the good news about skills can have a positive impact on diverse areas: public relations, internal morale, employees' drive to succeed, investor valuation, even insurance costs.
The process of using aggregate reporting often begins with education. Organizational leaders may recognize only traditional forms of quantified data: productivity figures, income, etc. They may not see human assets as a measurable form of capital.
They may not recognize its uniqueness: unlike other assets, when properly managed, human capital need not depreciate over time.
Further, they may not know that human development professionals are equipped to provide and interpret this data, contributing to the effective management of their staff. Or that aggregates can help them calibrate strategy to match the abilities of their team.
Assessing competitive advantage
Until recently, the measurement of human assets was so difficult that most organizations simply didn't bother. But they paid a huge cost for this omission. Their leaders could only guess at the level of skill available to support their initiatives.
Today, development specialist are becoming more familiar with 360 aggregate reporting and are sharing insights with their leaders. Many are discovering for the first time that it is possible to value, and evaluate, their key competitive advantage: their people.
Panoramic Feedback's Automatic Responder Selection Reduces Work Setting Up 360-Degree Feedback
(January 19, 2007) One of the major tasks in setting up large 360-degree feedback projects is identifying responders for each person being assessed. But Panoramic Feedback'sAutomatic Responder Selection has taken the work out of it, saving time and increasing accuracy.
"Our larger clients like being able to import participant data from their HRIS or other systems," says CEO Esther Kohn-Bentley. "But this new approach makes them even more efficient, because they can select all the responders with a single click."
Automatic Responder Selection uses uploaded data to assemble the four most-requested categories of responders: Peers, Direct Reports, the Manager, and the Self. Then, if desired, responders can be added or removed manually.
Panoramic Feedback then sends emails automatically, inviting responders to reply to an online questionnaire. Once the feedback is collected, the reports provide valuable information about how various categories of responder rated the individual.
360-Degree Feedback is Faster
"Automatic Responder Selection process does all the heavy lifting," says Kohn-Bentley. "Because takes only a few minutes of preparation, it leaves HR and OD people free to add value where they have the greatest expertise.
"In the past, if you wanted to assess a thousand managers, you might have to assign ten thousand responders, requiring hours of intense focus. And it was easy to make mistakes."
To use Automatic Responder Selection a single additional item is added to the HRIS upload. The program uses that item to produce a list of people who fit each of the four categories.
See more information at www.panoramicfeedback.com/products/360/hris.html.
(November 7, 2006) Because health care professional and hospital associations now require peer reviews to maintain certification, a growing number of members are using 360-degree feedback to audit their skills and practice.
360-degree feedback provider Panoramic Feedback supports clients by providing health care competency lists designed to assess the groups most under the spotlight: boards of directors, executive leaders, managers, and professional practitioners.
In a post-Enron world, executives and boards of directors— even in health care—are under pressure to show that their practices meet the highest standards of integrity and ethics, explained Panoramic Feedback CEO Esther Kohn-Bentley.
And with civil litigation on the increase, health centers appreciate the aggregate measurements provided by 360-degree feedback, which allow them to assess whether their doctors, nurses, and managers are responding properly to patients' needs.
"Hospitals are telling us that measuring their aggregate skill levels helps them maintain their credentials and assure the public about their competence," she said. "At an individual level, we've found more and more practitioners are using 360-degree feedback to keep their certification current."
The newly-released instruments cover dozens of competencies and hundreds of behaviors. Here's an example from Panoramic Feedback's audit for members of a board of directors:
"Shows commitment to the provision of quality patient care by participating in quality-improvement initiatives."
"360-degree feedback is no longer restricted to business," said Kohn-Bentley. "Today, professionals in every field are concerned about their ethical and legal responsibility to maintain the highest standards of practice. 360-degree feedback providers are their new-found allies."
Feedback And Training Increased Skills of Energy Company Employees, Helped Disprove HR Cost-Center Prejudice
(July 12, 2006) Hundreds of managers at a multi-national energy firm increased their skills in just one year with the help of 360-degree feedback from Panoramic Feedback, and training, according to evaluations provided by their supervisors, peers, and direct reports.
The improvement helped reduce the perception of HR as a cost center. It was documented using objective aggregate data supplied by the feedback system.
Currently, there are few methods to measure intangible human assets, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Aggregate reporting of 360-degree feedback results is beginning to change that.
The company (which requested anonymity) asked responders to rate the managers on the 30 behaviors crucial to its success. These included teamwork, leadership, and continuous improvement.
HR and organization development professionals expected this feedback would inspire their managers to improve their skills. But they lacked proof, until they discovered that Panoramic Feedback could be used to help measure the changes.
They used the system's special capabilities to aggregate the feedback received by managers. Comparing the averages over two consecutive years, researchers saw increases in every one of the 30 skills assessed.
For more than half the skills, the improvements were so large as to exclude the possibility of statistical error. They attributed the improvement to the use of 360-degree feedback and training.
"The human resources people were delighted with the outcome," commented Esther Kohn-Bentley, CEO of Panoramic Feedback. "At first, they were worried about being seen as a cost center in the organization. So we worked with them to develop a straightforward method to quantify their return on investment."
In many industries, the use of 360-degree feedback is growing. It recently became the tool most used by coaches when working with leaders (62% of coaches), according to a study released by Linkage Inc.
See more information at:
(April 24, 2006) Leaders are often forced to rely on hunches and guesswork about the strengths and weaknesses of their employees, when making strategic decisions. They'd like to base their plans on solid information, but it's hard to come by.
Now, some executives are discovering a new source for strategic data about their people. They have discovered that aggregate reports, based on the combined data from 360-degree feedback projects, provide valuable information about staff capabilities, allowing them to plan more realistic initiatives.
This data, virtually ignored until now, provides a practical guide to competitive advantage. Because it is based on a large number of responses, it offers accurate measurements of the organization's human assets, and pinpoints its training needs.
Oil company discovery
Panoramic Feedback, a 360-degree feedback provider, partnered with a large oil producer to add new features to its aggregate reporting capability. The oil company had long identified safety as a core value, but needed to know if its managers were actually walking their talk.
For oil producers, it's crucial to maintain a superb safety record. No one forgets the Exxon Valdez. No one forgives an accident that leads to injury or death.
Panoramic's new-generation aggregate summary offered encouraging news: promoting safety was the highest-rated behavior among 400 managers assessed.
As well, the report showed that certain managerial shortcomings were problems throughout the organization, guiding it to address them through leadership workshops for managers.
Executives of other organizations use aggregate information from 360-degree feedback to harvest a multitude of bottom-line benefits:
Assess a new initiative
Used strategically, aggregate data can help leaders avoid the risk of basing initiatives on skills that are weak or non-existent.
As an executive, you can check your plans against the strengths of your entire employee group, or drill down to discover the skill levels of a particular sector you are counting on. You'll get clear indicators of whether your staff are likely to deliver a fabulous product or something that is merely adequate.
As well, aggregate data can spotlight groups with unsuspected strengths. These under-utilized staff are often delighted to be offered new responsibilities, and you can expect increased productivity.
Design a successful marketing campaign
You can avoid strategic traps by using aggregate reports to discover whether the people strengths you would like to advertise are actually your strong suit.
This information can help the organization side-step potential customer satisfaction disasters, and market its strongest capabilities.
Spread the word
Externally, aggregate data can be released as part of a public relations campaign. Internally, it allows you to recognize individuals, boost morale, and encourage continued skill development.
It can help you score valuable points with everyone from shareholders to insurers.
Improve the valuation of the organization
It has always been relatively easy to quantify the contribution of physical and financial assets to market capitalization. But intangible assets present a bigger problem.
Still, as Bill Gates once said, "Take our 20 best people away and I can tell you that Microsoft would become an unimportant company."
Now, using 360 aggregates, your CFO has hard numbers available to develop a meaningful valuation for human capital.
Plan for succession
You may be facing the retirement of a leadership generation. Aggregate 360-degree feedback data can spotlight those who already possess the skills that will be required for future success.
This tool can identify not only the obvious suspects, but also high-performing "invisible" candidates, and those most likely to benefit from development opportunities.
Make coaching and training more cost-effective
Aggregate data allows you to measure the effectiveness of initiatives to promote specific behaviors, and to calibrate training efforts.
One organization discovered that, while its business and strategic skills were impressive, weaker customer relations skills made it vulnerable to a competitor that made stronger connections with customers.
Leaders examined aggregate reports to discover whether the requisite skills were generally at the same low level across the organization, or varied from department to department. Analysis revealed that these skills were especially weak in the sales and support areas. So an on-going customer service training program was provided to those departments.
Another organization found its aggregate scores for business skills were unimpressive. But the report revealed that staff fell into two groups: one had excellent skills and the other was dragging down the rest of the organization. The training department tailored a coaching program specifically for the latter group, saving substantially over the cost of a department-wide effort.
It is not surprising that relatively few executives are currently benefiting from 360 aggregate reporting. Traditional forms of quantified data (unit production, sales, etc.) have limited their perspective. They may not recognize that human assets, properly managed, are not only quantifiable but the only form of capital that does not necessarily depreciate over time.
360-degree feedback has been recognized for decades for its impressive impact on individual development. Now it is gaining greater appreciation among those who use the aggregate results to guide high-stakes decisions for their organizations.
Employees Can Track Their Progress With Panoramic Feedback's New 360-Degree Feedback
(January 18, 2006) Employees often wonder, "Am I performing better than I used to? Has anyone noticed that I'm improving? Are my efforts paying off?"
Now there are answers, with a new 360-degree feedback report from Panoramic Feedback. It allows participants to compare their results against their ratings in the previous 360 session.
"If you want to know how effective you are, the best solution is to ask those who work with you, using a confidential questionnaire," said Panoramic Feedback CEO Esther Kohn-Bentley. "Comparative reports add a useful rear-view mirror. Comparing today's ratings with how you were rated in the past can be very encouraging.
"And if your performance is slipping, it's a huge benefit to have this early warning system.
"Let's face it, people are usually shy about telling you where you could improve. Especially if you're the boss. But 360-degree feedback allows them to give you feedback in a way that feels safe and confidential."
Benefits For Trainers
Training organizations appreciate these before-and-after reports. At the conclusion of a course, participants can see how much their skills have improved since it began. The report highlights areas that still need improvement.
Trainers see an additional benefit. Before-and-after ratings can help them gauge the effectiveness of their training, and demonstrate it to decision-makers.
Easy To Read
Panoramic Feedback reports use easy-to-read bar-graphs to show participants how they were rated.
To compare the results from last time, small markers are superimposed on the graphs. Participants have no problem identifying their progress.
Support For Managers
"Managers love this feature," said Esther Kohn-Bentley. "For instance, they find the performance appraisal process less worrisome when they can supplement their own perspective with a report on how others view the employee's progress. It's reassuring to be able to check out their perceptions."
Areas that have not improved can suggest realistic "stretch goals" for the employee.
360-degree feedback comparative reports help the organization excel, by motivating improved performance and greater recognition.
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Panoramic Feedback's Reports Provide Motivational Comparisons With Other 360-Degree Feedback Participants
(January 5, 2006) A new 360-degree feedback report from Panoramic Feedback increases motivation by comparing participants' ratings with those of their colleagues. This extra dimension helps them choose realistic development goals.
"If your average is 7 out of 10, you might be tempted to see it as acceptable," said Panoramic Feedback CEO Esther Kohn-Bentley. "But when your report informs you that your colleagues averaged 9, it's clear you should develop better skills to be eligible for promotion and increased compensation."
The reports, which are optional, can be adjusted to provide comparisons with high achievers, instead of the entire group. For instance, participants can see how their ratings compare with those in the top 20 percent.
360-Degree Feedback Points Out Skills Gaps
Panoramic Feedback's unique Gap Report is an easy-to-read summary of the areas most in need of improvement relative to colleagues.
"If most of your peers are seen as better team-players, for instance, it tells you that you can increase your value to the organization by improving your listening skills, sharing information, and actively contributing to the team's success," said Esther Kohn-Bentley.
"Those could be your stretch goals for the year. Your 360-degree feedback report can set the stage for improved performance and recognition within the organization."
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