Convenience. We’re constantly pursuing ways to make our lives, both personal and professional, as convenient and efficient as possible. It makes sense then that we oftentimes opt for a larger one-stop shop, whether for increased choices or lower price. After all, lugging your kids with you to both a grocery store and a shoe store when you’re in a hurry doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as going to a store that offers both. But I think we can all agree that there’s also a time and place for specialists. Whether you break your wrist or damage your eye, you’re more inclined to seek out an expert than a generalist. The same concept applies in almost any industry, including training and development. In our world, we hire consultants, coaches, and training partners that have experience and credentials in the areas we’re trying to measure and improve. So, as appealing as it might seem to utilize the talent platform right in front of you for your next 360 feedback initiative, here are a few things to consider before doing so.
Utilizing the same talent platform that is used for performance reviews and other HR related tasks makes people nervous. We hear time and again that the raters are worried about anonymity, and without the promise of that they aren’t as inclined to deliver candid feedback. This, of course, hurts the entire process, and isn’t doing the leader being evaluated any favors. Turning to an outside partner to handle all the logistics and data collection could go a long way to putting participants and raters at ease, setting the overall initiative up for success.
Most of these all-encompassing talent platforms are not optimized for 360 degree feedback. They do offer very sophisticated solutions that address performance reviews, selection and screening tools, and other important HR functions. 360s simply aren’t their priority or their forte. A stand-alone 360 provider is more likely to have a deeper question and competency bench than the larger platforms, as well as more reporting options. Additionally, their normative databases are typically more robust, and their statistical consultation offerings more elaborate.
I’m not referring to price; there’s a difference. Whether you think of it in terms of “You get what you pay for” or “Pay now vs. pay later”, we all have experiences where we’ve regretted our decision to shop on price alone. What most sophisticated buyers are really looking for is value. They don’t mind paying for quality and tend to view talent development as an investment, versus an expense. So, even though the talent platform they’re using internally has an assessment module that can be leveraged, we’ve found that it oftentimes pays big dividends to look elsewhere.
Larger talent platforms have a lot of things going for them, and convenience is certainly one of them. However, partnering with an expert who specializes in 360s to manage the process from beginning to end has clear advantages. In the long run, this approach is likely to net better results and improved ROI.