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What makes a great 360° Profiling and Feedback tool?

Trevor Wheatly

360 degree appraisals

With so many different options available to learning and development professionals, Aspire Development’s managing director, Trevor Wheatly, shares his top five tips for choosing a 360° Profiling and Feedback tool that is right for you, the companies you work with and the people within them.

As a learning and development professional, there’s no doubt 360° Profiling and Feedback questionnaires are key tool in your kit bag.  But with so many different variations available to you, how do you know which 360° Profiling and Feedback tool is right for you and the people you’re working with?  At Aspire, we believe the key to a great 360° exercise is based on five founding principles.  So next time you’re searching the market, keep these words of wisdom in mind…


Think about it.  The very essence of a 360° Profiling and Feedback exercise is to ask others to take time out of their busy schedules to offer their opinions on the performance of the person you’re working with.  With this in mind, the 360° you choose to use should be simple; it needs to give clear direction so that people can easily complete the questionnaire without it being a tricky task.  In addition, the simpler a 360° is in its instruction, the questions and directions for completion will be less likely to be open for interpretation, therefore producing results that are not incongruent and in turn potentially skewing your analysis of the 360°’s findings.


As much as you want the 360° Profiling and Feedback tool you choose to be simple for people to complete, it also needs to be straight forward for you to use.  You’re a busy professional and sifting through a tonne of data that makes no sense and offers little insight is not best use of your time.  Make sure the 360° you’re using provides you with clear, concise and accurate data that is easily interpreted and then actionable into a development plan.


You’ve heard the saying you can’t tar everyone with the same brush? Well, the same applies with 360° Profiling and Feedback tools.  What may be deemed as meaningful insight for one business, team or individual may not be the same for a different company and its different divisions. 
When choosing which 360° to use, make sure that the questions asked as part of the process are meaningful.  A good way to test this is to work backwards: start by asking yourself what to do want to find out and how do you want to measure this.  Once you’ve ascertained this, you can then check to see whether the 360° you’re thinking about using will ask the appropriate questions that should provide you with the answers you need.


Some people think that 360° Profiling and Feedback exercises can be a bit fluffy – you ask a group of people what they think about their workmate, get some nice comments back, and then that’s another tick-box exercise completed. 

The truth is, if you choose the right 360° Profiling and Feedback tool for you, your client or the business you work for, it can provide you with a wealth of meaningful data for measurement and evaluation that will lend itself to a well-informed development plan based on fact from a range of different sources, that can then be used as a benchmark by which to monitor personal and professional development in the future.


If one thing our years of experience working both in-house and in consultative roles within the learning and development sector has taught us, is that every business or organisation is different.  While the ultimate goal may be to turn a profit, the vision, values and core competencies required by employees to meet these objectives are truly unique to each company.

That’s why when you choose to use a 360° Profiling and Feedback tool, it’s important to make sure that the questions asked can be tailored to specifically measure the things that are important to each individual business or organisation.  That way, through the quality data a good 360° will produce, the resulting development plan will be truly tailored in line with the company’s core competencies.

For more information about Aspire’s online 360° Profiling & Feedback, visit their website


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