Why Conduct a Church Staff 360 Degree Feedback Survey?
A 360 Degree Feedback Survey is a process in which church staff receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the staff and volunteers they work with.
This typically includes the employee’s immediate supervisor, direct reports, fellow paid staff and lay ministry volunteers. As many as twelve to twenty people fill out an anonymous online feedback survey that asks questions covering a broad range of workplace and ministry behaviors and competencies.
The feedback survey includes questions that are measured on a rating scale and may also ask raters to provide written comments. The staff person receiving feedback also fills out a self-rating survey that includes the same survey questions that others receive in their surveys.
The staff person then receives a tabulated gap analysis between how they perceive themselves and how others perceive them. Individual responses are always combined with responses from other raters in the same rater category (e.g. fellow staff, direct reports, ministry volunteers) in order to preserve anonymity and to give the employee a clear picture of how he/she is being perceived by each group.
Most 360-degree feedback processes also allow the supervisor to receive the results for the purpose of designing appropriate development strategies and coaching sessions.
What are the Benefits of 360 Degree Feedback?
Traditional performance assessment tools that most churches use ask the individual supervisor to assess the capabilities of their direct reports. A 360 degree survey is more accurate for several reasons.
First, multiple raters are typically more informed than a single individual’s view, as long as the raters are selected properly. Second, ratings from the viewpoints of both fellow staff and ministry volunteers offers a more complete and balanced perspective of an employee’s behaviors and abilities than just one view. Thirdly, it gives people an opportunity to provide anonymous feedback to an employee that they might otherwise be uncomfortable giving.
Further, studies reveal that 360 degree surveys are more widely accepted by employees than supervisor assessment alone, and are much more likely to provide a forum for frank talk about performance that creates relevant development plans and meaningful change.
This type of feedback has a number of benefits.
To the Individual Staff Member:
- Perception is reality and this process helps staff understand how others perceive them
- Uncovers blind spots about behaviors and competencies
- Provides feedback essential for understanding strengths and weaknesses
- Offers quantifiable data for designing self-development plans
To the Staff Culture:
- Increases communication and understanding between staff members
- Creates higher levels of trust as individuals identify competency, character and communication breakdowns
- Increases staff team effectiveness through relevant developmental initiatives
To the Church:
- Reinforces church mission and values
- Improves organizational and spiritual leadership skills
- Improves lay leader support, understanding and buy-in by having ministry volunteers provide feedback
In our next post we will outline a process for developing a 360 Degree Feedback Survey and provide sample questions.
Posted on March 29, 2016