360 degree feedback program for senior managers

Process and areas of focus

The 360 degree feedback program is an important initiative for USQ to enhance the effectiveness and responsiveness of leadership and management capability across the university. The 360 degree feedback initiative means that senior managers (at the Vice-Chancellor's Committee membership level and above) will be evaluated by their direct manager, a group of their peers (5-8 nominees), and a group of their direct reports or members of the broader work team (5-8 nominees). This collective feedback will be compared with a participant's self evaluation as part of the process.

Leadership and management competencies

The 360 degree feedback process is based on how effectively each senior manager demonstrates USQ's leadership and management competencies and behaviours across the areas of:

  • people development
  • team building
  • interpersonal skills
  • conflict management
  • managing self
  • strategic management processes
  • problem solving/decision making
  • administration, financial and operations management
  • persuasion and influence
  • planning and organising
  • managing change 

USQ goals and objectives

Included in the review is the opportunity for nominees to provide feedback on how participants achieved their previous year's organisational goals and objectives, and therefore each senior manager is required to provide agreed strategic goals along with a self review of the achievement of these goals including supporting evidence.   

Process

Nominated and approved "raters" are invited to participate in the process, via an email managed through the external consulting organisation. The email invitation links to a 360 degree feedback website and nominees are provided with a confidential login and password along with instructions on how to complete the questionnaire online. Participants are asked to rate each criteria on a scale of 1-5 (where 1 = Almost Never to 5 = Almost Always).    

Reports

Once all feedback has been collected by the external facilitator, an overall report is prepared reflecting an aggregate report for the senior executive group to facilitate development planning for the group as a whole, along with an individual report collating average ratings from peers and direct reports which is provided to the relevant senior manager.  Mercer then conduct a group session with the USQ senior management group to discuss overall trends along with facilitating one-on-one individual sessions to discuss the outcomes of the individual reports to assist managers in drafting development plans with their direct manager during the BUILD performance management process. 

Importance of the process

The 360 degree feedback process is an important USQ initiative to enhance the effectiveness and responsiveness of leadership and management.  The process provides the foundation for the development of improved leadership and management through:

  • increasing executive self-awareness about current strengths and improvement opportunities;
  • the creation of individual development plans including areas identified for professional development;
  • supporting the development of a learning and performance culture through the use of effective feedback;
  • involving a wide cross section of USQ employees in the feedback process;
  • improved professional development for each senior manager; and
  • ensuring a balanced approach to the way that performance is assessed and development priorities are determined

Key areas for development

Two primary areas for development have been consistent between the two previous 360 degree programs conducted at USQ to date:

  • People Development
  • Team Building
The results also indicated that some additional development in conflict and change management may be of benefit more broadly.  The outcomes of the 360 degree feedback program have influenced the development of the Management and Leadership Development Program.