Using 360° Feedback To Drive Your Social Care Business Improvement


360° feedback – or multisource feedback as it is sometimes called – is a widely-used method used in many businesses for raising the awareness of individuals about how they (and their behaviours) impact upon others within the organisation that they work in.

It is an inexpensive personal development and organisational development tool. In essence, the survey gathers feedback for an individual, usually someone who is performing a leadership or professional role. The feedback explores how well their manifested behaviours align with those that are needed for effective performance of their role.

Where some of an individual’s behaviours are out-of-kilter wit what is required, the survey flags this up to the individual who can then make any necessary changes to improve their performance. There are tools in the survey final report to help changes.

The benefits to the organisation:

  1. Higher morale in the team (higher ‘engagement’)
  2. A more competent and committed team
  3. Lower staff turnover/better staff retention


….helping it become ‘a great place to work’ for staff , ‘a great place to live in’ for residents and, for families, ‘a safe and trusted place to care for a family-member’.

360° feedback does not replace an organisation’s formal performance appraisal processes.


The author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to thehorse Galaxy”, Douglas Adams, wrote in one of his sci-fi novels, “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”:

“(Horses) have always understood a great deal more than they let on. It is difficult to be sat on, every day, by some
creature without forming an opinion of them. On the other hand it is perfectly possible to sit all day, every day, on top of another creature and not have the slightest thought about them whatsoever.”


It can sometimes be like that with supervisors and managers!

#1 Leadership behaviours – adding business value, or not?

360° feedback – or multi source feedback as it is sometimes called – is a widely-used method across businesses for raising the awareness of individuals about how they (and their behaviours) impact upon others within the organisation that they work in.

That impact may be very positive, in which case “360” is a very powerful affirmation, encouraging the individual receiving that feedback to keep on doing what they currently do. Or that feedback may be mixed, in which case the individual can see that things they do might be having a negative impact. They then have the choice of doing something about it – the basis of a professional/personal development plan and for possible coaching by their line manager. Generally the development activity is about changing behaviours and approaches, and not about going on training courses. It is therefore nor expensive.

On the turro Neil Eastwood gave an online seminar on “How To Reduce Your Frontline Care-Staff Turnover” (you can view it at this address):

Three of the many points that Neil flagged up in his presentation were:

  1. Staff turnover is in the care sector is high compared with all UK business sectors (40-100% per annum.
  2. A significant cause of employee voluntary resignations is poor ‘people management’.
  3. The impact of “soft skills” training can reduce by half your levels of employee turnover.


What is employee turnover costing your business? A conservative estimate of the costs of recruiting replacements can be found by using this formula:

Annual number of leavers x 2 month’s average salary = YOUR annual recruitment cost

Maybe a modest investment in 360° feedback will generate a handsome return to your ‘bottom line’.

#2 What is 360-degree feedback?

In a nutshell, it is the systematic collection and feedback of performance data on an individual (or group), derived from a number of stakeholders in their performance.

The term stakeholder can cover a wide number of people/groups.  This example is for a doctor.

harvey map

In one way or another, for better or worse, the performance of a doctor has an impact upon all these groups. The term 360° encapsulates the wide variety of groups that the doctor deals with. And for those of you who have close dealings with doctors in the health service in the UK, you will know that every 5 years every doctor has to be re-licensed as fit to practise medicine……..and a satisfactory 360° feedback report from their stakeholders is a compulsory part of the evidence a doctor must produce to demonstrate their personal competence.

The other important term in the definition of 360° feedback is systematic collection. What does that mean?

Feedback on an individual needs to be based on something relevant to the role being performed.

In the care industry the Care Quality Commission has a set of standards on which 360 may be based. Much of the preparatory work for 360 has already been done; see the CQC website which tells viewers what “good” looks like in a care home, or in a home-care setting.  See:

From the CQC standards it is easy to see that the “competences” of a leader in a care home environment is likely to include some or all of the following aspects:

  1. managing safety (staff’s and patients’) and safeguarding
  2. setting direction, supervision and performance management
  3. training/coaching
  4. communication
  5. leadership qualities, including aspects such as approachability, trust, follow through, fairness, respect for individuals and so forth.


In a 360 survey, feedback is collected from stakeholders, usually via the internet so the feedback can be password-protected and kept confidential, and when sufficient reviewers have given their feedback a report is produced – a structured report with numerical ratings and written comments.

#3 How is feedback used?

Good practice in using 360 is that a report presented and discussed by another individual (a ‘facilitator’) to ensure that the recipient takes a balanced view of their feedback. 360 is intended to be a developmental and motivational tool, but people have a tendency to focus on what they perceive as criticism and to ignore all the ‘good stuff’. The facilitator helps the recipient to formulate a personal development. The facilitator can be someone within the organisation, even the recipient’s line manager. To help the survey subject and the facilitator the report also includes Development Suggestions.

A development plan is generally behaviourally-based, not about attending a course. Essentially it is about “What do I………..

  • Start doing
  • Stop doing
  • Do more of
  • Do less of
  • Keep doing”


Ingrained habitual behaviours (“soft skills”) can be difficult to modify, so ongoing support and encouragement from the line manager is crucial. Just giving the feedback and hoping that change will take place doesn’t work; the boss needs to take a keen and regular interest in helping change happen.

#4 Is 360 worth the effort? What’s in it for the business owner?

An important study, detailed in the paperback “First break all the rules” by Buckingham and Coffman.

The conclusion drawn from this study is that the manager/immediate supervisor is the critical player in building a strong workplace… measured by productivity, profitability, employee retention and customer ratings.

The study compared employee opinion data – essentially a 360 on the managers of the organisation – from 105,000 employees in these business units with the business performance of the units in which they worked.

To cut a long story short, the analysis of the data revealed that significant differences in business performance (measured by productivity, profitability, employee retention and customer ratings) were strongly related to whether employees rated their business unit positively or negatively to the following 12 questions (often referred to as the Gallup Q12 questions). Positive responses were associated with better business performance.

1              I have the right materials & equipment to do my job right.

2              I know what is expected of me at work.

3              At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.

4              In the last 7 days, I have received recognition (or praise) for good work.

5              My line manager, or someone else at work, seems to care about me as a person.

6              There is someone at work who encourages my development.

7              At work, my opinions seem to count.

8              The purpose of organisation makes me feel that my work is important.

9              My co-workers are committed to doing quality work.

10           At work, I have someone I can confide with.

11           In the last 6 months I have talked to someone in the company about my progress.

12           Over the last year I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

As you can see, much of the above is based on what are called ‘Soft Skills’

360 feedback is a very simple concept to help lead people managers along the route to becoming a really effective leader, and 360 can provide a very healthy return on investment in it.

If you’d like to learn more, contact Harvey Bennett, MD  of 360 is us Ltd at, or via our website

At turro, we work hard to find you quality candidates. From marketing, to searching our extended database and sourcing using our breakthrough methods, to interviewing every candidate over skype and making them undertake detailed psychometric testing, we make sure we place you best and only the best. For more information visit


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