Reinforce Your Competency Model with a 360 Survey

A Man Presenting to a GroupA few years ago I was asked to read a book for work as we were implementing some new operating procedures. One part spoke about “Vision” and how it is important for the whole company to have the same one. The book presented an example. Upper-level management of a company was asked what they thought the priorities of the company were for the next year. Did everyone respond the same? No. One person thought sales was the priority, while someone else said hiring more people. Another person replied that opening a new office in a different city was the priority.

What is a Competency Model?

This same confusion can happen in other aspects of a company. Let’s focus on one of those: the competency model. This is a group of competencies that your company has decided are needed to be effective at your company. Companies have different needs and thus different competencies. Your employees need to know these so they can be effective and meet expectations.

How do I Better Convey Our Competency Model to Employees?

Now there are many ways to make this known to employees. Some are more effective than others. Simply posting the competenices on the wall in the breakroom next to the minimum wage poster or sending them in a company newsletter would get them out there. A better way is to have your employees engage and interact with the competencies to better commit them to memory. Employees not only need to know what the competencies are, they need to know how well they are at doing them. A great way is to convert the competency model to a 360. You might need to adjust the competencies slightly, so they work in a 360 survey format. Here are two articles to give you some ideas on how to create items for a 360 survey.

Why the 360 Survey Method?

Once the model is in a 360 format, employees can engage and better understand how they match up to what the company expects. Having the opportunity to rate themselves and to see how others (managers, peers, direct reports) rate them allows them to discover how their behavior aligns with the competencies. Goals can be created, and progress can be made in helping them be more effective in your company.

One of the best points about a 360 survey based on your competency model is that not only does the 360 survey reinforce the model for the feedback recipients but also for all of their respondents. You can have a large number of people engage the model and consider its meaning and application in a more intentional way than simply hearing it in a company presentation or reading it in the breakroom.

Why Take the Time to Do This?

A competency model has been created from the experience and knowledge your company has as to what makes employees effective. You have established a process for your employees to engage and better understand what they need to do to be more effective. Having reached this point, you can now continue developing your employees. If you are only as strong as your weakest link, why not make your links stronger and reinforce your competency model with a 360 survey?

Related articles:
10 Tips for Creating Survey Items
Tips for Creating Survey Items – Part II
What to Look for in a 360