It’s amazing how quickly things change. Just last weekend my youngest son was exploring our basement closet and came across a cardboard box with a masking tape label that read “Old Electronics.” We opened it together and found, among other things, a flip phone, a video camera, a small digital camera and of course – my beloved iPod.
Just think that only one decade ago we had to pay for, and manage 4 separate devices to do what one device does today. And while our thinking on electronics has changed, many companies’ approach to global 360 programs have not. Just like juggling multiple electronic devices, global organizations often pay for and manage various 360 programs with different vendors, each with their own platform, branding and concept model. This approach creates a number of problems, not the least of which is the inability to implement a cohesive and scalable Talent Development strategy.
So why do companies do this? Why not go the way of the iPod and consolidate to a single unified solution? The reason is simple – rolling out a global 360 program can be very challenging. The good news, however, is that these challenges can be boiled down into 3 topics. And, organizations that can address these 3 challenges can consolidate their programs, save costs and offer their organization a more efficient, more scalable 360 program that has a consistent impact across the globe.
- Translations – many organizations list this as the main reason why they feel that they have to manage multiple 360 vendors, which are often regionally located. The key here is to find a 360 platform that not only supports global languages, but gives you the administrative tools to control all language settings at the project level, including invitations, survey instructions and feedback reports. Better still, are platforms that allow users to select their desired language in real time.
- Compliance – The legal risks of complying with a multitude of regional privacy laws is worth noting, but the solution is easier than you may think. In short – leave the compliance up to 360 vendor. In order to do this, you must partner with a 360 expert that has global experience and the necessary certifications for each region. In particular, you should look for vendors that are certified in the EU and Swiss Privacy Shield program and who have experience working with in-country Work Councils.
- Logistics – This is where many 360 software solutions fall short and where it pays to do extra research in finding the right 360 feedback partner for your global program. In addition to finding a platform that gives you multiple levels of control (by region, by project, etc.) you will also want to find a partner that offers a fully managed solution, allowing you to lean heavily on your 360 degree feedback partner to handle the day-to-day administration.
Things may change quickly but one thing is certain – consolidating your various 360 offerings into a unified, consistent solution will provide real and tangible benefits. And, doing so is easier than you may think; if you can find the right partner. You’ll need a solution that has the technology, the compliance and the logistics under control, but perhaps most important of all – you’ll want to team with a reliable partner that has the global experience and expertise to consult and guide you along the way, even if that means giving up your iPod.